Blue Ridge Discovery Center

Blue Ridge Discovery Center (BRDC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring, discovering and sharing the natural history of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Founded in 2008, we are currently operating out of Southwest Virginia and Northwest North Carolina.

The Blue Ridge mountains support one of the richest ecologies in North America. BRDC brings children and adults out into that richness.  Look around you. Question. Share what you find. Take joy in the connections you discover. We believe there is no better way to protect our future.

Our volunteers, members, and participants are integrating hands-on time in the forests, fields, rivers, and mountains with science, writing and visual arts.  They are connecting people to nature through immersion programming, developing critical thinking skills, and inspiring further engagement. Join us, come explore your world.

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Our Work


Blue Ridge Discovery Center inspires curiosity, discovery, and stewardship through the wonders of the Blue Ridge.


We envision a world with deep appreciation and understanding of place.

  • BRDC provides opportunities for people to discover the wonders in their backyards, parks, forests, fields, rivers and mountains.
  • BRDC fosters a community-based interest in sharing biodiversity with others through guided education activities.
  • BRDC brings the principles of ecology, sustainability, and discovery to the next level through collaborations with various educational and established outdoor institutions.

How to help

What are the Blue Ridge Mountains?

The Blue Ridge Ecoregion is defined by the Omernik Ecoregion System of classification. It extends from southern Pennsylvania to northern Georgia, and varies from narrow ridges to hilly plateaus to more massive mountainous areas, with 125 peaks reaching over 5000 feet. The mostly forested slopes, high-gradient, cool and clear streams, and rugged terrain occur primarily on metamorphic rocks with very few areas of igneous and sedimentary geology. The Blue Ridge is a province of the larger Appalachian Mountain chain and is defined on the east by a transition to Piedmont terrain and the west by its transition to the valley and ridge province.

  • With over 100,000 species, the forests are the most ecologically rich in the temperate world.
  • Over 400 endemic species have been identified in the Blue Ridge Ecoregion, more than any other ecoregion in North America.
  • Over 4,000 known plant species, 250 of which are found nowhere else in the world.
  • 34 known species of salamanders, a diversity in salamanders unmatched anywhere on earth.
  • The largest variety of fish, fresh-water mussels and crayfish in the temperate world with over 230 fish species
  • It contains large and undisturbed tracts of wilderness acting as a pathway and refuge for neotropical songbirds.
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