Scheier Survival Workshop

More than 30 children and their grown ups gathered at the Scheier Natural Area in Fluvanna County for a survivial workshop taught by Steve Pullinger and Rich Meeker.  The participants learned how to build a temporary shelter with sticks and leaves, learned how to build a fire without matches (no small task) and were told to think in term of priorities, first comes shelter, then water, then fire and food,  with food being the last on the list because people can go a week without food.

The 100 acre preserve is owned and operated by the Rivanna Conservation Society and is managed by the Friends of Scheier.


Airport Buffer Planting


More than 125 volunteers participated in the November 14 and 15 RCS/CHO Riparian Buffer Tree Planting at the Charlottesville/Albemarle Airport.  Ann Mallek, Vice Chair of the Albemarle Country Board of Supervisors joined with Barbara Hutchinson, CHO Executive Director and Robbi Savage, RCS Executive Director to welcome the volunteers to the event.  Steve Pence, RCS Co-Founder, Chris French, VA Director of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and Nelson Shaw, VA Department of Forestry gave a planting demonstration before sending the volunteers on their way to plant more than 1,380 saplings. As these trees mature, they will form a natural buffer between the runway and the Rivanna River, protecting it from the runoff of soils and the input of the pollution into the waterway.   Thanks to all who participated!!!


TeensGIVE Water Monitoring

Last year RCS established a partnership with the TeensGIVE organization.    As a part of this program, RCS facilitates chemical and biological monitoring in area streams.  By getting the young people into the water to monitor for pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen and clarity, they learn about nature and their important role in preserving watershed habitats.  The field trips (scheduled in the spring and fall of the year) also give the students the opportunity to contribute to the community by monitoring and by cleaning up the locations we visit. 

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Teens GIVE is a service-learning program that places children, ages 9–18, in supervised relationship-based volunteer activities.  Volunteering is supplemented with tutoring, mentoring, life skills training, case management, reflection activities, counseling, and other support services.

Teens GIVE provides opportunities to engage in positive volunteer activities.  Participants learn pre-vocational and employment skills while serving others and getting actively involved in their neighborhood and community.  They choose from a wide variety service sites or projects in the Charlottesville/Albemarle community.

Service sites or projects are selected based on the ability to meet community needs, solve community problems, and provide structure and relational tasks.  Sites are organized into categories offering service to children, the elderly, animals, and the  environment.

Virginia Garden Club


RCS facilitated the November 5, 2009 Virginia Garden Club field trip at Woolen Mills.    To help make the walking tour more personal, RCS invited former Charlottesville Mayor Kay Slaughter and Bill Emory, Charlottesville Planning Commission and Woolen Mills Historical Society to share their knowledge of community (both live in Woolen Mills neighborhood) with the Garden Club members who came from all over the state to attend their annual meeting.

Governors’ School

RCS joined with educators from Fluvanna, Louisa and Goochland, as well as  government officials from Fluvanna to conduct the Governors’ School event at the Heritage Trail of Pleasant Grove. 

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This year’s event, held on October 22, brought teens from Fluvanna, Goochland and Louisa High Schools to conduct; 1  Macro Invertebrate Stream Study – Frank Persico/Steve Pence/Chuck Wright, 2  Chemical Analysis – Robbi Savage, 3  Log Study, what lives in the log/Project Wet – Ida Swenson, 4  History of the Palmyra Mill and Locke – Tucker Swanson.

Whole Foods Fund Raisers

In 2008 Whole Foods Market launched a program called 5 at 5 to support local nonprofits by pairing 5 selected foods and wines as tastings for Friday Night shoppers.  The nonprofit sells tickets to the shoppers, with all proceeds going directly to the organization, staffs the five tasting tables with Whole Foods personnel.  Whole Foods also provides the food and wine.


RCS was the beneficiary of Whole Foods’ generosity in January and again in July and in addition to the revenue received during the 8 Friday night events, the RCS volunteers had a great time and met a lot of their friends and neighbors

Youth Watershed Summit

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More than 165 students from Nathaniel Greene Elementary School participated in the Youth Watershed Summit on World Water Monitoring Day.  The event was co-hosted by the Rivanna Conservation Society and the Nathaniel Greene Elementary School. 

Students spent half a day in and around South River at Bluet Crag Farm on Dundee Rd. With the help of the Rivanna Conservation Society, Culpeper Soil and Water District, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Blue Ridge Wildlife Consultants, students engaged in a number of hands-on activities designed to let them observe and draw their own conclusions. The field trip was also part of the Youth Watershed Summit and World Water Monitoring Day with the data collected entered into the International Database for water health.

Splitting into teams, each student was involved in one of the following activities: chemical monitoring of stream health, collecting macro invertebrates, calculating stream flow, journaling, photography, environmental art, and touring a wetlands restoration project. 

In chemical monitoring, students assessed the dissolved oxygen, temperature and pH of the river water while another group evaluated the health of the river on the basis of the macro invertebrates collected. Stream depth and width were measured and compared to the stream flow capacity. In the environmental art and journaling groups, an emphasis was placed on observing all the organisms and their surrounding ecosystem. Students touring the wetlands restoration viewed the construction and resultant effect on the environment. Flip cameras were used by the students in the photography group to record the event and to interview their classmates as to the purpose of their activities. At the conclusion of the day, students returned to their homeroom and taught each other about their activities. It was a great day for all the students; please read some of their comments: