This Wednesday, the 25th of May, four members of the GCHS ECO club and many other folks headed out to River Ridge Farm to expand our slim, adolescent knowledge. On arriving, we encountered Scott Jackson-Ricketts. The birds in the general radius had accumulated to his presence; Barn Swallows darted through the air, chasing each other playfully, and sitting in a nearby tree an Orchard Oriole sang. After regrouping and introducing ourselves to some new faces, we headed down the main entrance of the farm to meet up with the farmers, our guides. Brantley Ivey, farm manager of River Ridge Cattle Company, explained the conservation aspects of River Ridge, and ways they were working to improve environment conditions on the farm, but still produce competitively.
Soon after, we drove out into the farm, all of us either riding in a "super duty" truck, or in a camouflaged ATV. Our guides, the farmers, showed us the farm and explained its approaches in even more depth. Brantley Ivey, farm manager, and Gary Mitchell from Grayson Natural Foods, helped answer any and all of our questions. Later, we drove to higher points of the land, where there was a view of the river in either direction, and the highest peak in Virginia (Mount Rogers) in a tranquil shade of blue imprinted on the horizon. Looking around us, it was very obvious why someone would want to put all the work into preserving the landscape of this area.
Nearing the end of our outing, we visited the three archaic log cabins in the valley below the ridge with the breath-taking view. Any further questions we had were answered there in the shade, and we rapped everything up with a group picture of one of the cabin's porches. I feel like, myself, all of the members of the ECO club, and anyone who attended, learned a great deal about agriculture and conservation. I also have embraced a stronger, rejuvenated appreciation for our local world. Personally, I can't wait for our next trip.