Saturday AM Field Trips
May 13th, 8:00-11:30AM

Depart From Konnarock Community Center


You will have the opportunity to choose your field trips beginning Friday at 4PM. All field trips have a limited number of participants and will be first-come-first-serve basis. If you are arriving Saturday AM, you will be able to choose from the remaining field trip slots after you registerAll times listed are actual departure times. Please allow extra time if you still need to register. All trips will go out regardless of weather conditions! Come prepared!

All Day Hike to Mt Rogers

Phil Shelton, Emeritus Professor of Biology at UVA Wise, and BRDC Advisory Board Memeber Roald Kirby lead this 9 mile round trip to Virginia’s highest point. Explore geology, climate, plants, animals and cultural history. Sturdy shoes, dress for high altitude weather, food and water are necessary. (Limit 9)


Dr. Ashley Peele, Avian Ecologist with VA Tech, and Dr. Steven Hopp, Professor of Environmental Studies at Emory and Henry College, will lead a beginner birdwatching program, focusing on sight and sound identification of resident and migrant birds in the Mt Rogers area. Bring binoculars and field guides. This is peak migration season, so expect a good morning! 


If you want to add a nice walk to your nature study, join the Mt. Rogers Appalachian Trail Club on an easy 2.5 mile hike from Whitetop to Elk Garden. Explore natural history and trail tails on one of the most beautiful trail sections in our area.


Join BRDC's Allen Boynton, Wildlife Diversity Program Coordinator with NCWRC for a morning of bird watching at Grindstone Campground and the Fairwood Valley.


Join Kevin Hamed, Professor of Biology, Virginia Highlands Community College to explore the Elk Garden Trail and survey 2 different habitats.  Whitetop Mountain is home to 15 plethodontid salamanders and we will have a chance to see several species.

Biological Survey of an Appalachian Forest PART II 

Participants are invited to be scientists for a day! Join Devin Floyd, co-founder of BRDC, for a half day biological survey of a rich forest at Grindstone Campground. We will be building on the survey that was begun during the 2016 Spring Rally to see how many different kinds of plants, animals, fungi, and other biota reside in the forests of Grindstone.

We will review last year's findings and work to add to that growing body of knowledge by searching for less common species and documenting animals, mosses, lichens, and fungi. Participants will help build a baseline measure of biodiversity at the site and learn how/why ecosystems get their names. We hope to answer the following questions: What flora, fungi and fauna make their home here? What types of rocks, minerals and soils are present? What kind of ecosystem is this? How do we know? How does its biological richness stack up against of other Virginia ecosystems?

Mammals of Mt. Rogers

Karen Powers, PhD, Radford University, will check several hundred pre-set live traps in the woods near the community center and along the Mount Rogers Trail in hopes of examining a sample of small mammal diversity in the Mount Rogers NRA.


Join Fred Newcomb, geology teacher at Marion Senior High School, BRDC Guide, and the Rally's resident virtual time traveler, to see evidence of epic events in Earth’s history as you walk this easy, one-mile hike along the Creeper Trail (between Green Cove Station and Creek Junction).   You will be transported back to the Neoproterozoic Era,  three-quarters of a billion years ago, to touch rocks of the supercontinent Rodinia and witness the effects of glaciers, faults, rivers, and an encroaching pre-Atlantic ocean.


Bill Grose and Jason Lachniet, members of the Walker Mountain Grotto, the National Speleological Society, the Virginia Region of the NSS, and the Virginia Speleogical Survey will lead a group caving.  The two have mapped dozens of caves in Virginia and have almost 50 years of caving experience.  Maximum of 10 participants, age 13 and up.  Participants should be in reasonable health and fitness- caving can be a strenuous sport.

Participants should dress warmly and in layers. Long johns under blue jeans or coveralls and a long sleeved shirt would be appropriate, with cave temperatures in the mid-50s.  We will get wet: spending about half the time walking and half the time crawling on hands and knees and/or on bellies.  Participants should bring the following:

  • Complete change of clothes, including shoes for after-cave wear
  • Large garbage bag (for dirty cave clothes)
  • 4 AAA batteries
  • Lug-soled shoes/boots (flip flops, sandals, tennis shoes and anything with a smooth sole is a danger due to the muddy and slippery conditions)
  • Helmets & lights will be provided
  • Gloves & knee pads suggested


The Mount Rogers Naturalist Rally is a grand tradition that dates back to 1974. Over the years it has gone through many changes but the root goal has stayed the same: to connect our community to one of the most spectacular landscapes on Earth. If you would like to see this tradition continue for the next generation please consider making a donation to support the Rally.