Rockfish Valley News: September 2022

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Nelson Master Gardeners Kathy Quelland and Lynn Woodson at Farmers Market with traineess Mary Cunningham and Susan Pendergrass

Nelson Master Gardeners 

Volunteer Master Gardeners have been a regular presence on Saturday mornings at the Nelson Farmers Market in Nellysford. Master Gardeners are volunteer educators trained by Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) to promote environmentally sound horticulture practices in the Rockfish Valley. Most volunteers are experienced with many common problems that gardeners encounter. Less common questions are forwarded to the Help Desk for an expert response. All are invited to stop by and share questions and their love of gardening.

The Master Gardeners are trained through the Virginia Tech Extension Program. Each year a new class begins in February.

Numerous education-based projects are available for volunteers to work together in addition to the Farmers Market. Some nearby projects include the Demonstration Garden at Nelson Center, Schuyler Quarry Gardens, Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center, Mallory Creek Meadow and Pollinator Garden at Devils Backbone. 

Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch

The Fall migration has just begun, and September offers the peak season for raptor flights over Afton Mountain. Nearby on the grounds of the now defunct Afton Inn is the center of activity near the parking lot at the grassy top. A small group of volunteers is counting and identifying varieties of raptor species on site 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, weather permitting, through November. They welcome visitors. The annual open house event is Saturday, September 17, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Vendors and educational tables with family activities, snacks and drinks will be offered. The Wildlife Center of Virginia will give live animal presentations at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Current hawk counts can be seen at www.hawkcount.org 

United Way Day of Caring

Rockfish Valley Community Center (RVCC) will be a center of volunteer activity on Wednesday, September 21, for some high-need projects that can use the attention of willing volunteers offered through United Way Day of Caring campaign. 

The annual Mallory Creek Walking Trail cleanup will include the RVCC Building and Grounds volunteers to clear invasive and native overgrowth on the creekside mulched pathway. Anyone interested in horticulture and nature is welcome to volunteer. Plant lovers are also welcome to help with the landscape spruce-up such as dividing and replanting perennials, mulching and shrub shaping. 

Painters are invited to assist with maintaining the bleacher planks for spectators at the ball fields. Indoor painting is also planned for the east hallway. For more information, contact Stu Mills at 434-361-0100 or [email protected]

Glass Hollow Agricultural and Forestal District 

The Nelson Planning Commission held a public hearing on August 24 for the creation of a new district for 335.74 acres in Afton. An application for additional Agricultural and Forestal District (AFD) was submitted by Ben Kessler, 1323 Glass Hollow Road in Afton. Twenty-one property owners are listed on the application as a core group representing a total exceeding 200 contiguous acres as required. The district is in watersheds of Mill, Rodes, and Goodwin Creeks. The commission voted to defer 6-0 to the September 28 meeting. More information on this project is available through the Nelson Department of Planning and Zoning office, 434-263-7090.  

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