May 17-18 at The Nature Foundation
For over 30 years the Spring Wildflower Symposium has offered the best and most diverse coverage of wildflowers and mountain ecosystems. The setting is unique, with over 30 miles of hiking trails and convenient access to diverse geological sites. No one comes away from this event without learning more about botany, geology, entomology, ornithology and ecology. All activities are designed to help us better understand, appreciate, and protect our natural heritage. More to come.
Welcome to The Nature Foundation
Since 1976, through research and education, The Nature Foundation has fostered understanding and respect for the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Nature Foundation at Wintergreen, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, encourages understanding, appreciation, and conservation of the natural and cultural resources of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
The Nature Foundation functions as a center for research and education. To that end, we are engaged in an array of activities, including the following:
- Offering educational programs through guided hikes, scientific conferences, programs for local schools, and on-site youth and adult programs.
- Maintaining more than 30 miles of trails.
- Conducting research in native plant germination, plant propagation, fern genetic marking, insect and plant interrelationships, the eastern spotted skunk, and orchids.
- Participating in gypsy moth surveys, area wildlife population studies, and bear management.
- Offering vegetation surveys of building sites.
- Advising Wintergreen property owners.
- Managing approximately 6,000 acres of wilderness areas within the Wintergreen community.
- Monitoring water quality of mountain streams.
- Hosting researchers working on regional and national conservation efforts.
We Are a Membership Organization
The benefits that come with being a member of The Nature Foundation include discounts on plant sales, events, hikes, tours, and the satisfaction of knowing you are making a difference in the world.
Our members are the primary way The Nature Foundation funds its efforts. The work being done at the nature center is more than preserving and maintaining over 6,000 acres of Blue Ridge Mountain land area for research and educational programs or providing habitat for native plants and animals. Members also support high-quality educational programs for adults and children about the region’s natural history. Our programs reach out to the general public, enrich regional school programs, host undergraduate and graduate internships, and bring hands-on learning to teachers’ fingertips. The nature foundation members are what makes and keeps Wintergreen’s mountain ecosystems a continuing success story.
Individual Blazer Annual Membership
An individual blazer membership entitles you to free Living with Nature at Wintergreen hikes offered year-round by foundation naturalists, subscription to The Mountain Messenger, a newsletter dedicated to our membership, and a 10% discount on Nature Center Shoppe purchases.
The benefits of an Individual membership plus up to six people, either family or friends of your choice.
The benefits of a Family Blazer membership plus: Discounted admission to the Spring Wildflower Symposium.
The benefits of a Silver Explorer membership plus: The addition of a special gift and discounts on special trips. Discounted admission to the Spring Wildflower Symposium.
The benefits of a Gold Explorer membership plus: Two complimentary admissions to any special event of your choice (Spring Wildflower Symposium, Lecture Series classes).
All of the benefits of a Steward's Circle membership plus: Five complimentary admissions to any special event of your choice.
Meet the Staff
Trillium House is the home of The Nature Foundation.
Tuesday & Wednesday
9am to 4:30pm
9am to 12pm
Friday & Saturday
9am to 4:30pm
Sunday & Monday
Learn About the Foundation
An exhibit along the walls of a conference room details the history of The Nature Foundation and its vision for the future.
Shopping for All Ages
Books, compasses, maps, toys, artwork, hiking gear, and hats are just a few of the items offered for sale in gift shop.
Upstairs in the loft is a fun large place full of books, nature toys, games, and puzzles called Robin’s Nook. Children can explore the wonders of nature, even create their own puppet show and see a real, live snake!
Native plant species for landscaping go on sale several times a year. Many of the plants grown by The Nature Foundation’s volunteers are propagated at The Trillium House. Sale events take place here and at the greenhouse.
Walk the Garden
Volunteers maintain a garden-walk around the building with many of the region’s native plants. Many of the specimens are labeled.
History & Science
Visit The Nature Foundation’s Connecting with the Land exhibit that depicts the changing landscapes and cultures over thousands of years. Discover archaeology, botany, land management, wildlife, and the modern history of Central Virginia and Wintergreen mountain with hands-on activities, such as archeological digs, homesteaders dress up and games and displays.
Our trail system is managed by volunteers and staff of The Nature Foundation and is open to the public.
Select a tab to learn more about our trails.
Preserving while enhancing the natural beauty of the land is a goal of those who garden using native plants. The Nature Foundation is a leader in making it easier and fun.
The Nature Foundation’s Plant Propagation Program works to develop and share a broad knowledge of plant species native to this area. They also propagate plants from seeds, plant division, and cuttings. The Plant Propagation Team use only native plants from approved Wintergreen and neighboring sites as sources. The program promotes the use of native plants in landscaping within the Wintergreen community as well. The plants propagated by the Plant Propagation Team’s volunteers are sold in the spring, summer and fall.
Choosing the Right Plants
If you have questions about what native plants are “best” for your situation or your interest, follow the link below to find out more.
The Nature Foundation greenhouse is located 1⁄2 mile west of The Ski Barn on Beech Grove Road (Route 664).
News & Information
For Love of the Land: A History of the Wintergreen Community by Mary Buford Hitz
“The land that most of know as Wintergreen today had its origins long before the resort community which bears it name. It has been a special region since pre-settlement times, and historically has survived as one of the largest and most unique single tracts of land in Western Virginia. Its strategic location near the narrowest point of the Blue Ridge has made it both a pre-historic and historic crossing for east west travel. Its narrow spine funnels both migratory animals and an ancient forest floor into a unique thread of bio-diversity leading to a compelling case for its conservation. While the concept of conservation and development often remain a goal rather than an accomplishment, the Wintergreen story clearly shows careful planning and a conservation ethic that was ahead of its time, coming to be before many of today’s environmental requirements became law rather than man’s conscience.” ~ Doug Coleman