Trillium Field

Welcome to The Nature Foundation

Since 1976, through research, education, and conservation and wildlife management, The Nature Foundation has fostered understanding and respect for the Blue Ridge Mountains.


Our Vision for the Future

From the Director

We hope all of you and your families are well in this time of extended social distancing. The Nature Foundation staff and I continue to work isolated and are carefully watching CDC guidelines and moving toward, what we consider, safe gatherings for our members and guests.

Though science tells us we are not out of the woods yet, we are moving toward a phase 2 opening in mid-June. While we are watching numbers and listening to reports, we hope to continue what we are currently doing and start some outdoor activities at that time. These include the following:

  • By mid-June we plan to offer some interpretive hikes that will be limited to 10, meeting outdoors at Trillium House, driving separate vehicles to a starting point, and walking together while maintaining appropriate social distance.
  • Our greenhouse continues to operate on Thursdays and Fridays with members calling in and ordering from our list on the website and letting us know when on Thursday and Friday they can pick up.
  • We continue to do virtual programming on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Many home schoolers have been using this material for teaching, and we continue to plan for more for teachers for the fall school openings.
  • Our building will remain closed to allow us to finish much needed repairs and to prevent daily sanitization which would likely be currently needed for opening.
  • We will continue to temporarily make our trail map available for free online on our website.

Lastly, thank all of you for your faithful support of us in this difficult time. We are here for you.

Doug Coleman
Biologist/Executive Director
The Nature Foundation at Wintergreen
June 1, 2020

Latest Updates

  • The 27th Annual Sara Ott Memorial Golf Classic. We are excited to share with you that the Sara Ott Memorial Golf Classic will take place on Friday, September 11, 2020 with a rain date of Friday, September 18th. The Golf Committee has been working closely with the resort staff to plan a safe and fun event. Learn more
  • Future Nature Foundation Events. Events scheduled for August and September are subject to change or cancellation due to COVID-19 related issues. Please check our emails, Event Registration page, or Facebook page for updates.
  • Native Plants. Native plants and shrubs are available for sale at the greenhouse on Thursdays & Fridays from 9:30am to 4:30pm. The Nature Foundation is accepting native plant orders via email to Doug Coleman ( If you are looking for something specific it may be best to contact us before you come. See a list of available plants here. Customers will be given a date and time to pick up their plants at the greenhouse. All our plants are propagated and grown from local seeds and cuttings!
  • Peace Out(side). The Nature Foundation’s Peace Out(side) shares nature-related ideas to keep the restless busy and give the anxious comfort. Visit our Facebook page or Instagram page for our latest activity, video, worksheet, or contest. In nature we can find solace, peace and happiness. Use #wintergreennature when you are out in nature at Wintergreen!
  • Summer Interns. The Nature Foundation’s summer intern, Carter Stanton, has been awarded the Virginia Native Plant Society grant to study the fringetree.

Fringetree is gorgeous when it blooms, and a lovely small tree the rest of the year. However, it is generally considered difficult to propagate; cuttings don’t root easily and seeds take multiple seasons to germinate. Developing more reliable propagation techniques will make it more widely available in native plant landscaping. In addition, it is related to ash, and we don’t know yet how it will be impacted by Emerald Ash Borer. The ability to propagate hardy and resistant trees is potentially very important right now for fringetree. A graduate student of mine, Carter Stanton, will be working at The Nature Foundation at Wintergreen’s propagation greenhouse this summer to test a variety of techniques, and Carter will also be monitoring fringetree in the wild for Emerald Ash Borer damage. ~ Janet Steven, Associate Professor Department of Organismal & Environmental Biology, Christopher Newport University


Our Mission

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 legacy of Wintergreen belongs to those who dreamed it, those who sold the dream, and those who turned it into a reality. Its natural beauty existed long before its inception, setting the stage for the dream, and through the efforts of The Nature Foundation at Wintergreen is still largely intact today. ~ Doug Coleman, Executive Director


A Center for Research & Education

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.




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