School Field Trips
Children have been coming to the Ivy Creek Natural Area for school field trips since the 1980s. Trained nature guides from ICNA interpret the natural world with thousands of young visitors each year. A school tour consists of approximately an hour walk on one of the ICNA trails where children are encouraged to observe and ask questions about what they find. Children can explore a diversity of habitats, learn about watersheds, look for signs of wildlife, identify trees and see life cycles in context. Tours may include a visit to the barn with its exhibits on cultural and natural history. Teachers may request a specific focus for their tours to align with current classroom learning.
We start our connections to the natural world of Ivy Creek at a young age with Little Naturalists. Trained guides explore topics such as food chains, hibernation, how trees grow and more with 3 to 5 year olds and their accompanying adults. The program starts indoors for 20-30 minutes where the children engage with the guides through reading nature centered books and doing a hands-on activity related to the learning in the book. This is followed with a short hike on one of the ICNA trails. Little Naturalists meet year-round, on the second Mondays, third Saturdays, and fourth Thursdays of the month. Gatherings are held from 10:00 to 11:30 am. We prefer that people preregister for the next program at this link. Siblings are also welcome to attend.
Little Naturalists follow the weather cancellation policies for Albemarle County Schools. When the schools are closed or there is a late opening, the Little Naturalists will not meet on that day.
Historic River View Farm Barn Openings and Farm Tours
The barn is a focal point of the Natural Area and was built by Conly Greer in the 1930s. It is open to the public from April to November on Saturdays and Sundays; check the events calendar for the next opening. Visitors are greeted by trained Barn Docents who can explain the history of River View Farm and walk them through the various exhibits and displays found within the barn. Farm tours that include the farmhouse grounds are also sometimes available on weekends and listed on the events calendar.
Ivy Talks are a monthly lecture series that examines both the natural and cultural history of Ivy Creek Natural Area and River View Farm. Some of these talks focus on subjects that relate to the history of the Carr/Greer family and African-American life in Albemarle County during the 1800s and 1900s. Other talks in this series focus on the flora and fauna of Ivy Creek Natural Area and environmental issues that we are facing today. For more information on upcoming talks and for recordings of previous talks, please visit the Ivy Talks page.
The Virginia Native Plant Society and Piedmont Virginia Bird Club offer regular monthly walks at the Natural Area. The Charlottesville Astronomical Society offers monthly solar/night sky viewings. The Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards and the Rivanna Master Naturalists hold their annual training programs in the Education Building and also offer continuing education programs and workshops that are open to the public. Many OLLI courses, offered through the University of Virginia are also held at Ivy Creek. For specific information about times for these events, please visit our events calendar or the webpage of the organization.
Other Public Programs
In addition to our regular offerings listed above, Ivy Creek offers seasonal programs. Many of these are nature walks of one form or another, such as Butterfly Walks and Learning Native Trees. To see what is scheduled to be coming soon, please visit our events calendar.
Reference and Resources
We have various educational brochures and hand-outs available in our kiosk and Education Building. The Ivy Creek Foundation serves to connect you with partner organizations and expert volunteers to help resolve a question you might have about the natural world. Please call our office at (434) 973-7772 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.