Thousands of school children have come to the natural area for a field trip since 1980. Trained volunteers interpret the natural world with young visitors. Ongoing training for the volunteers takes place in the fall and spring seasons.
Barn and Farm Hours
The barn is open to the public from April to Thanksgiving on Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 4 pm. Visitors are greeted by Barn Docents who explain the history of the barn and walk them through the exhibits and displays as requested. Hundreds of people come through the barn each year. The barn is also open for field trips or on request.
Our lecture series offers three programs in spring and three in fall. Geared toward adults, Ivy Talks focuses on natural and cultural history. Subjects range from “The Genius of Birds” to “Albemarle’s Black Classrooms.” It happens on the second Sunday of the month at 2 pm in February, March, April, September, October, and November.
We start our connections to the heritage of Ivy Creek at a young age with Little Naturalists for 3 to 5 year olds and their adults. We start indoors for 30-40 minutes followed with a short hike. It meets four times a month on the first and third Mondays and second and fourth Thursdays, from 10:00 to 11:30 am.
Older kids meet in two age groups: 5 to 8 and 9 to 12. The younger group explores the fields, forests and streams of the Ivy Creek Natural Area while learning about the native plants and wildlife of our area (including snakes, spiders and bats!). The older group hikes with creek study; wildlife and habitat exploration; an introduction to primitive skills such as shelters and water / food sourcing and nature-based art and service projects. All activities will be conducted outdoors unless severe weather moves us inside for hands-on workshop activities. It meets alternate Monday afternoons from 4:00 to 5:30 am in the fall and the spring.
Other Public Programs
In addition to the above, we provide many other public programs per year. Many of these are nature walks of one form or another, such as Butterfly Walks, Learning Native Trees, Songs of Frogs & Toads, The Dragonflies of Ivy Creek, Insects of the Night, and Animal Tracks.
Occasionally, Ivy Creek offers longer programs of several hours in length with specific training and materials required. One example included a pollinator workshop focused on cultivating gardens and yards that attract and promote the health of many kinds of pollinators. A future workshop will be “Growing Natives.” It will focus on how to grow native plants in your garden.
Voices from the Land
Voices from the Land developed from a grant to create programming for Boys & Girls Club units. Its focus is the use of art through sculpture, poetry and performance to make a connection to the natural world. After curriculum development and leader training the program was held in weekly sessions at the clubs and culminated with a field trip at Ivy Creek. Through the use of photography and performance their connections were “saved” in posters and performed for their families.
Groups including the Virginia Native Plant Society, Monticello Bird Club, Blue Ridge Young Birders, Central Virginia Beekeepers Association, Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards, and Rivanna Master Naturalists provide regular walks, talks, and a few workshops open to the public.
Reference and Resources
We try to provide information to the public on the most frequently taught subjects through our brochures, our hand-outs, our website, and a small library of books. We also serve to connect the public to partner organizations and expert volunteers to help resolve a question.