Boxerwood Newsleaf – April 2019

Spring has Sprung!
By Ben Eland, Garden & Facilities Manager

This is one of the most beautiful times of year at Boxerwood. We are blessed to be the inheritors of many early-blooming trees – magnolias, crab apples, cherry, dogwood, redbud – that were planted in previous decades. The Japanese maples are leafing out, and for me there may be nothing that evokes “spring” more poignantly than their feathery new leaves. The spring peepers are peeping in the ponds. The Virginia bluebells are blueing (not a real word of course, but how else to describe their perfect color and shape?), and the trillium flowers are up – one of my favorite spring ephemerals. I hope you can visit soon! In the spring, the Garden is different every day, even every hour.

Tree Planting and Bird Nests
By Elise Sheffield, Education Director

Spring is in full swing, and so are Boxerwood school programs. Daily we’re welcoming preK – 3 classrooms to the beauties of the Garden, but we’re also out and about other locales as well. Just this week we also led a day-long karst investigation (above and underground) for 50 students from Maury River Middle School at Natural Bridge State Park, introduced high school environmental science students to the joys of tree planting on a farm in northern Rockbridge, and provided four consecutive days of after school enrichment education for fifteen students from Mountain View Elementary School…and that was just the half of it. For gardeners, spring is a time of inspiration and possibility. So too with educators. It is an honor to be present with young lives in bloom and thank you to Boxerwood supporters for making that so.

In a first ever experience, a classroom of environmental science students from RCHS capped off study of climate change with a morning planting 127 native trees as a riparian buffer on a local farm, with help from Boxerwood and in coordination with the James River Association and Virginia Department of Forestry. That’s the Boxerwood way…knowledge into action for a better world.

This month Boxerwood is providing a week of afterschool STEM enrichment at each of the four elementary schools of Rockbridge County Public Schools (RCPS), as invited and funded by RCPS. After analyzing real bird nests, students worked in teams to design and build their own nests based on real-life criteria. The result: muddy hands, a diversity of efforts and a greater appreciation of nature’s wonders.

Off the Bus
By Jess Sullivan, Early Education Coordinator

With help from Rockbridge Area Transportation System, Jess Sullivan and Peggy Leasure were able to welcome preschool students from the On/Off the Bus classes in Glasgow, Goshen, Fairfield and Effinger. This week these students got to experience the wonder of a nature program at Boxerwood and the joy of making mud pies on the Play Trail. These programs have not had the funding to make transportation to Boxerwood possible up until this new partnership with RATS and our program sponsors. Thank you to Rockbridge Area Transportation System, Brownsburg Ruritan Club, W.R. Deacon & Sons Timber Inc. and Kerrs Creek Ruritan Club for making these programs possible and helping us enrich these young lives!

Nurtured by Nature
Walk & Talk Series Spring 2019

Join us as we continue our 3rd season of Walk and Talk workshops introducing thoughtful, intentional, artistic ways to connect with Nature and be refreshed, inspired, and sustained. Workshop leaders include members of our Boxerwood community as well as returning and new guest experts. For more info, visit the Events page on our website or follow us on Facebook.

Leah Green – literature/poetryThe Word for World:Poetry, observation & writing
Sun April 14, 2-4 pm

Experience an adventure into eco-poetry, discuss the practices of writing and attention, and engage in creative writing activities to bind the human experience with the greater-than-human world.

Karen Stanley yoga in the garden Unfolding
Sun May 5, 2-4 pm

Local yoga teacher Karen Stanley will lead an outdoor yoga sessionopen to all experience levels. Stanley likes to explore present moment awareness as a central principle in both teaching and practice.

Christine Fang & Ben Eland
Experiencing Nature with Mindfulness
Sun May 19, 2-4pm

Our spring series concludes with a guided walk through the Boxerwood gardens, led by mindfulness teacher, Christine Fang, and Ben Eland, Boxerwood’s garden manager.

  • Register: email or call (540) 463-2697
  • Some programs have limited spots available.
  • Dress appropriately – may bring a small portable stool/chair.
  • Parking is free for Boxerwood members and $5/car for non-members.
  • Programs are free, but suggested free-will donation for each program is $12/person to support maintenance of Boxerwood’s gardens.

Miniature Gardening Boxerwood’s New Fun Family Workshop
Saturday, May 11 (3 sessions)
10 am-12 pm
12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
3pm – 5pm


Bring a pot or other repurposed container for your garden project. Boxerwood will provide soil, miniature plants, natural building materials, tiny “found” or upcycled treasures – and a wee Garden Gnome!
Call (540) 463-2697 to register, or click here to register online.

Music In The Garden kicks off May 10
Pack your picnic basket, lawn chairs, and kids, and head to Boxerwood to enjoy live music, meet old friends and new, and relax for an evening in Boxerwood’s beautiful woodland setting.

Huge thank you to our sponsors who help make this family friendly event: Azurat Studio, BARC ConnectsComputer DoctorCornerStone Bank, Devils Backbone Brewing Company, Just Games LexingtonKendal at Lexington, Pronto Caffe & Gelateria, Southern Inn Restaurant, & Walkabout Outfitter.

2019 Summer Camps
June & August
Register by May 14, 2019
Reserve your child’s spot today – camps will fill up

For additional info on camps and/or our (limited) scholarship fund, contact Hannah West, Boxerwood Camp Coordinator

  • June 3-7: Nature Explorers (ages 4 & 5)
  • June 10-14: Nature Explorers (rising 1st – 3rd)
  • June 17-21: Wild Side Arts (rising 6th – 10th)
  • June 24-28: Boxerwood Adventure (rising 3rd – 6th)
  •  Aug. 5-9: Nature Detectives (current preK – rising 3rd) This camp is now full. To be entered on a waiting list, contact
  • Click here for application.
  • Enrollment is limited. Acceptance on first-come, first served basis.
  • May 14, 2019 deadline for application & payment – electronic or mailed
  • Checks payable to: Boxerwood Nature Center, and mailed to 963 Ross Road, Lexington, VA 24450
  • Families will receive more information upon registration.
  • Discount for Boxerwood members. Join:

——– Spotlight ——–
Spotlight focuses on items of interest to our readers.We encourage you to participate!Send in suggestions and let us know what you want to see here!

Remembering a Long-Time Boxerwood Friend

Nancy Scott McLaughlin, 80, passed away Saturday, March 30, 2019 at home in Lexington, VA in the loving presence of family, after a long illness. Nancy was a special friend (and dedicated supporter) of Boxerwood for many years. In our small, community-focused organization, Nancy saw a way of relating with the natural world and one another that resonated with her own heart. And we saw in our friend Nancy a charisma, vitality and commitment to excellence that inspired our work. With shovel and soul, she literally planted more beauty in our public-access garden. Her spirit of generosity also helped connect more children, regardless of income, with wonder-filled experiences in nature.

Nancy’s family has designated Boxerwood for memorial gifts. In the weeks to come we will be developing specific projects or installations that celebrate Nancy’s gifts to us all.

Help keep the Maury River clean!

Help keep the Maury River clean! The James River Association will be offering a free training on Thursday, April 25, 6 – 8 pm at Boxerwood for citizens who would like to be part of a summer water quality monitoring program for the Maury River. The program is part of the annual summer program, James River Watch. The program involves weekly monitoring of the Maury River at Ben Salem Wayside for presence of bacteria (e-coli).
Citizen scientists will learn how to use JRA equipment to gather and test one sample a week, sharing results electronically with JRA for its website updates. Volunteers will share the monitoring with others on the schedule, so this is not a weekly obligation.

Click here for more info and to sign up for the training.

For Parents of 4th Graders

The Department of the Interior has a program calledEvery Kid In A Park that allows fourth graders and their families to visit national parks for free. Click here for more information.

The Department of the Interior has a program calledEvery Kid In A Park that allows fourth graders and their families to visit national parks for free.
Click here for more information.

Our 2019 Garden Appeal is Underway!

What will Boxerwood look like in 40, 50, or 60 years? 

The trees we are planting in the Garden this year will be a gift to people yet to be. The children who come to Boxerwood this year and are inspired to care for our earth will be the stewards the future needs. And as ever, we need your help for this future to be made manifest.

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