1st Annual Summer Mt Rogers Naturalist Rally

August 19-21, 2016

Buy one ticket and get three days of activities! Friday - Sunday!

We have assembled a wide variety of field trips with leaders who are experts in their field and who are able to make it understandable and interesting for everyone from inquisitive amateurs to accomplished naturalists. There is something for the entire family with field trips Saturday and Sunday, the Annual BRDC Meeting Friday Night and nighttime programs at the campground. Topics include salamanders, wildflowers, geology, birding, fishing, cultural history, butterflies, medicinal plants, mushrooms and much much more! 


Opportunity to choose your field trips will begin Friday at 5PM. All field trips have a limited number of participants and will be first-come-first-serve basis. All 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!


Join us Friday for the Blue Ridge Discovery Center Annual Meeting.   After a potluck feast,  join in discussions about the future of Blue Ridge Discovery Center and how we can better accomplish our mission to inspire creativity, discovery, and critical thinking through interest-driven and hands-on activities focused on the Blue Ridge Mountains. Bring your curiosity and big ideas!
Roald and Ellie Kirby will be bringing in the evening with some traditional old time tunes.


Gather all your senses: look, smell, touch, listen, taste, and don't forget the most important thing…your thinking caps.  We'll sing, laugh, and play as we explore nature around the community center.  Saturday AM & PM.


Field trips depart at 8:00AM on Saturday Morning from the Konnarock Community Center. Hike options include:  Hike to Mount Rogers, Appalachian Trail Hike, Birding, Fly Fishing, Edible and Medicinal Plants, Bugs, Glaciers in the Blue Ridge, Native American Cultural History


Field trips depart at 1:00PM from the Konnarock Community Center. Join us for these excursions:  Snorkeling, Mushrooms, Wildflower Walk, Salamanders, Tree ID, Butterflies, Flint Knapping


Field trips depart at 8:00AM on Sunday Morning from the Grindstone Campground Parking Lot. Hike options include: Field Ornithology & Forest Diversity


Friday & Saturday Star Watch:  
Join BRDC astronomer Evan Worrell for a exploration of the stars.  Activities begin at 9:00PM and will last one hour. Locations to be announced.
Friday Moth Night: 
 Join BRDC guides at Grindstone Campground for an inspection of lighted sheets. Expect moths and other flying insect critters of the night.  Begin at 9:00PM at Grindstone Campground parking area.
Saturday Salamander Courtship:  
Plethodontid salamanders engage in elaborate courtship rituals and many species are courting in late-August.   Please bring a headlamp for this nighttime hike. Led by Kevin Hamed, 8pm, meet at the beginning of FS Road 89 (gravel road that leads to Whitetop).  Based on our research we should have courting yonoahlossee!


Join us at Grindstone Campground! Come pitch a tent but remember to reserve your spot online.

Although the focus is on Grindstone Campground, there are a number of other options available in the area including overnight lodging in "Downtown Konnarock" through Airbnb. Beartree Campground is also located within 10 miles of Konnarock. B&B's, Inns and Motels are available in Damascus, Abingdon, Chilhowie, Glade Spring, Marion, all with places to eat. Try www.virginiablueridge.org for information.


The Konnarock Community Center (Address: 6535 Whitetop Rd, Troutdale, VA 24378) From I-81, take exit 35 (Chilhowie), go south on Rt 762, passing Hardee’s. Follow this for 3.6 miles to the flashing light at intersection. Keeping straight the road becomes Rt 600, crosses Iron Mountain (disregard “Old 600″ signs)and in 7.6 miles turn left at intersection, staying on Rt 600. From here go 2/10 miles and the Konnarock community center is on the left.

Grindstone Campground (GPS: 36.68694, -81.54111) From I-81, take exit 35 (Chilhowie), go south on Rt 762, passing Hardee’s. Follow this for 3.6 miles to the flashing light at intersection. Keeping straight the road becomes Rt 600, crosses Iron Mountain (disregard “Old 600″ signs)and in 7.4 miles turn left on to Laurel Valley Road. Travel 4.3 miles and the campground entrance will be on your right. 


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. 

All of our field trip leaders volunteer their time for the Naturalist Rally, so let them know you appreciate their sharing their time and knowledge with us!!