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Saving Land SPRING/SUMMER 2017 | Vol. 21 Issue 1

Floyd River Revel Kicks Off 2017 School Fun Ingrams’ Mission to Save Romance and Environment New Outdoor Adventures for You and Your Family!


Blue Ridge Land Conservancy Promoting the conservation of western Virginia’s natural resources- farms, forests, waterways, and rural landscapes BOARD OF TRUSTEES Betty H. Lesko, President William M. Hackworth, President-Elect F. Fulton Galer, Treasurer Whitney H. Feldmann, Secretary C. Whitney Brown Diana K. Christopulos Stephen M. Claytor M. Rupert Cutler Ruth T. Dickerson Thomas M. Dunkenberger, Jr Broaddus C. Fitzpatrick Joshua C. Gibson Anne M. Jennings George A. Kegley Nelson W. Lafon Linda W. Pharis Timothy J. Rowe, Sr.

ADVISORY COUNCIL Lucy R. Ellett Liza T. Field Talfourd H. Kemper Robert B. Lambeth, Jr.

STAFF David C. Perry, Executive Director Meagan R. Cupka, Project Manager Deborah Ullmer, Office Manager Erica Reed, Outdoor Educator 722 First Street SW, Suite L Roanoke, VA 24016 540-985-0000 COVER PHOTO:

“Floyd River Revelers” by Meagan Cupka


May 20

It’s back! This May through October, we’ll be offering monthly outdoor activities such as guided hikes on private trails, hands-on education days, and more! Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a family with young children looking for a fun and safe way to introduce them to the outdoors, we have something for you! The land conservancy’s outdoor activities are open to both Friends AND the general public! For more information, directions, or to register for an event, please contact Erica Reed at: or call 540-985-0000

What is a “Friend” of the Land Conservancy? A Friend of the Land Conservancy is an individual (and their immediate family—spouse and children) or business that is an annual financial donor to the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy. And no, you don’t need to own any land—nearly all of our Friends are simply folks who want to make a difference by supporting BRLC. Benefits of being a Friend include discounts to Outdoor Adventures, our quarterly magazine, a membership card and sticker, invitations to special events like the Conservation Celebration, and more.

June 3

June 9

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Sept. 9

Oct. 14







Hike at Chimney Rock

BOTETOURT COUNTY - Join us for a guided hike to Chimney Rock on Bruce and Elaine Ingram’s conserved property and soak up amazing views from Sinking Creek Mountain. Pack a lunch for this intermediate-advanced hike.

Chimney Rock, Botetourt County

9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

$4 for Friends, $7 for general public

Meet at 9 AM at the Orange Market at 1823 Thompson Memorial Dr, Salem. We will carpool and caravan from there to the trailhead.

Locavore Walk and Talk

Join us for a Locavore meal, walk, and talk at Bruce and Elaine Ingram’s conserved property. Learn how to make your land more appealing to wildlife, see their purebred Rhode Island Red Chickens, their organic garden, identify edible wild foods, and learn how to live off the land. The Ingram’s have “gone solar” and you can learn more about the panels.

Botetourt County

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

$20 per person

Meet at Bruce and Elaine’s home: 1009 Brunswick Forge Rd, Troutville

Full Moon Hike

Listen to the sounds of nature as we enjoy a sunset over Carvins Cove and a summer moonrise. We will watch the full moon come over Tinker Mountain and listen to nearby owls. Make sure to bring a flashlight and sturdy hiking shoes.

Carvins Cove, Roanoke

8:00 PM – 10:00 PM

$3 for Friends, $6 for general public

Meet at the boat launch parking lot at Carvins Cove Natural Reserve: 9644 Reservoir Rd, Cloverdale.

The Bee’s Knees!

Join Blue Ridge Land Conservancy staff and Roger Reed with the Botetourt Bee Keeping Association as we learn about the art of beekeeping, why honey bees are in trouble, and why this “keystone” species is necessary for people. It’s likely something you eat today is grown with the help of bees!

Greenfield Recreation Park, Daleville

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

$4 for Friends, $7 for general public

Meet at Greenfield Recreation Park in Troutville

Water Bug Walk

See what animals live in the waters of the local Roanoke River as you get your feet wet and cool off on a summer afternoon! Tour historic McDonald’s Mill and enjoy a sweet snack afterwards.

McDonald’s Mill, Blacksburg

2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

$4 for Friends, $7 for general public

Meet at McDonald’s Mill: 3875 Catawba Rd near Blacksburg. Look for the big white millhouse.

Cahas Mountain Hike

We’re having our yearly guided hike up Cahas Mountain in Franklin County. You’ll enjoy a spectacular view looking across the Roanoke Valley and see land protected by BRLC. Afterwards we’ll meet up at Chaos Mountain Brewery for a post-hike beverage!

9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

$3 for Friends, $6 for general public

Meet in the parking lot of Clearbrook Elementary School across from the Walmart on 220 south of Roanoke. We will caravan from there to the trailhead.

Build a Bat Box!

October is the perfect time to think about bats! Give them a cool place to live by making your own bat box! Bats are often considered a “keystone species” and without their pollination and seed-dispersing services, some ecosystems could gradually collapse. They also help humans by eating irritating insects! Land conservancy staff will guide you as you build your own bat home

$10 per bat box

Meet under the picnic shelter atop Mill Mountain, just off Fishburn Parkway in Roanoke.

Cahas Mountain, Franklin County

Mill Mountain, Roanoke

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM


Dave Perry

Thank you for your support of saving land here in southwest Virginia! Because of your monetary contributions, your applying your “Friends of the Land Conservancy” sticker to your car, your telling your friends and neighbors about the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy, we’re saving our region’s most special places, one farm at a time.

Or, several farms at a time! As you may have heard, we ended 2016 in a mad rush of completing land conservation projects, one even going down to the final hour of the business year at the courthouse in Christiansburg. In the final tally, four more gorgeous tracts of land were forever protected. You’ll read about them in our newsletters this year. In our spring/ summer issue, which you’re holding in your hands, you can read about Bruce and Elaine Ingram’s 30 acres along John’s Creek in Craig County—a small but important tract with special sentimental value for the owners. The first quarter of 2017 has gotten off to a fast start as well, with conversations with landowners taking us from the Alleghany

Highlands, to the dirt and gravel backroads of Floyd County, to the flatlands of southside Virginia and all points in between. Things are always in motion, but 2017 should be another great year for land conservation—again, thanks to you and your support! While land conservation is our bread and butter, so many other activities support our core mission. Project Manager Meagan Cupka has just completed our second year of field trips for Floyd County fourth graders in our River Day program, and she and Outdoor Educator Erica Reed have lined up another summer of fantastic Outdoor Adventures for you and your families to enjoy. We are pleased to again participate in the Deschutes Street Pub on July 15 in downtown Roanoke. And our annual Conservation Celebration & Auction will be on Sept. 24 at Sundara in Franklin County, where we’ll honor Dr. Bill Gordge and the Wednesday Crew with the Vic Thomas Environmental Stewardship Award, and soon-to-be former board member Whitney Feldmann with our Landsaver Award. Quite the year awaits. Buckle up—and thank you! Dave

Serving the Entire Blue Ridge Land Conservancy Region

Truman Hill Farm proudly supports


David A. Hurt REALTOR

Connecting conservation-minded buyers and sellers


MKB, REALTORS 4 | Spring 2017

Roanoke, VA• 540 598-9645


Saving a Mountain of Romance I

n 2014, the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy awarded Bruce and Elaine Ingram the Land Saver Award for their efforts towards conservation. Some might have called it quits then, but not this dynamic duo.

In their latest conservation project, Bruce and Elaine Ingram worked with the Blue Bruce and Elaine Ingram Ridge Land Conservancy to save the land where they had one of their first dates. “Our John’s Creek land has great meaning to Elaine and me,” said Bruce. “Back in 1977, we went fishing there for our fourth date. After our fifth date, we decided to get married. In 1984, the land was up for sale, and we bought it. We didn’t want the property to ever be developed, so that’s why we put a conservation easement on it.” “Land conservation is really about people,” said David Perry, executive director of the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy. “Conserving Bruce and Elaine’s land protects Craig County’s agriculture economy, but it also protects their memories.” In addition to holding special meaning for the Ingrams, the property protects a rare and unique wetland called a vernal pool, which is a temporary springtime wetland that disappears in the summer heat. Vernal pools appear with the melting of winter snows and the arrival of spring rains. They’re home to many species of amphibians, including frogs, toads and salamanders. The Ingrams’ agreement with the land conservancy protects the

By Meagan Cupka

pool from any kind of disturbances that might disrupt its annual comings and goings. “It was very important to the Ingrams and to the land conservancy to protect this wetland,” said Dave. “Because of man’s impact, about 40 percent of all amphibians on Earth are in danger of extinction. Our agreement will help protect a place they can breed and hopefully survive for many years to come.” The property also fronts along several hundred feet of John’s Creek. John’s Creek is home to three threatened or endangered freshwater mussels. Scientists believe the John’s Creek and Craig’s Creek populations of the James spinymussel are the only healthy populations in the world. The Ingrams’ agreement requires any cattle that may be on the property in the future to be fenced out of the creek, protecting water quality downstream all the way to the Chesapeake Bay. “Cattle are very important to Craig County’s economy, but they’re hard on fish and other wildlife that live in the streams, and the people who need to drink the water downstream,” said David Perry. “We’re glad Bruce and Elaine opted to keep cattle out of John’s Creek should a future owner ever graze them on the property.” In addition to saving land, the Ingrams are prodigious authors. Together, they’ve produced more than 2,100 outdoor articles and five books, and used the income to buy and protect land. Their work has protected 412 additional acres on Sinking Creek and Potts mountains in Craig County in cooperation with the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy and the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. For the sake of the land, we hope they continue to save many more acres. Spring 2017



Floyd’s River Revel Rambles On By Meagan Cupka


he students were ready! At the end of March, students in Floyd County spent a full day at a local park owned by the Shelor family splashing in the the nearby creek, walking in the woods, and enjoying outside activities aimed at getting them thinking about - and interacting with - their natural environment. Organized by the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy, with financial support thanks to the Shelor Family Foundation, every fourth grade student in Floyd was able to participate in the activities for the day. They rotated through four stations led by different local education groups: Apple Ridge Farm, Camp Bethel, Mountain Lake Conservancy, the Virginia Department of Forestry, and the local Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension. With Christina and Inge from Apple Ridge Farm, students dipped their feet in the east branch of the Furnace Creek looking for water-dwelling insects, also called macroinvertebrates. By identifying the insects living in the creek, they can infer how healthy and clean the creek is. On their second stop, students played “erosion games” with Kimo from Camp Bethel. These games aimed to get students thinking about what a watershed is and what benefits wetlands provide for wildlife. On their third activity, students spent time with Denny from the Virginia Department of Forestry, who led them on a short walk through the woods and talked about how humans can use natural resources from forests and help wildlife with responsible management. Students finished their day by playing games with Tyler from the Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension or Grace with the Mountain Lake Conservancy learning about water conservation and natural resources. The Blue Ridge Land Conservancy would again like to thank the Shelor Family Foundation for their generosity and for making this fun event possible again in 2017!



Spring 2017

Save Date THE



2017 A. Victor Thomas Environmental Stewardship Awardees

and MRS. WHITNEY FELDMANN 2017 Landsaver Awardee

Enjoy live music by the Dharma Bombs, food by Blue Ridge Catering while raising money for your local land conservancy with a silent and live auction! BRLC will be presenting dedicated volunteers with our two environmental stewardship awards. Don’t miss out on the breathtaking views of Cahas Mountain, parts of which are forever preserved by the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy. Join us for a night of fun and celebrate conservation in southwestern Virginia!

The Dharma Bombs

Photo by: Kemper Mills Fant

The Blue Ridge Land Conservancy is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, a mark of distinction in land conservation. BRLC is also a proud member of the Land Trust Alliance, the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Virginia Conservation Network. 722 First Street, SW, Suite L Roanoke, Virginia 24016-4120 Phone/Fax 540-985-0000 Member of:

YOUR GIFT CAN LAST FOREVER. How often can you say that a gift you give will last forever? The Blue Ridge Land Conservancy’s Bedrock Society is a special group of people like yourself who have made a significant gift to the Conservancy in their will or through another planned giving method. For more information, visit or contact David Perry at (540) 985-0000 or

Blue Ridge Land Conservancy Land Saver Saving Land Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017  
Blue Ridge Land Conservancy Land Saver Saving Land Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017