Schedule Announced for the 4th Annual Summer Mount Rogers Naturalist Rally


We invite you to join us and a host of expert guides for a weekend of exploration and discovery across the Blue Ridge August 16th-18th! Come out for a field trip, or for the whole weekend! This event is free to youth and members. General admission is just $15 for three days of discovery. This is also your opportunity to snag limited-edition youth and adult tees from our 2019 Species Shirt Collection which feature species unique to this region. 


On Friday, August 16th, the event kicks off with field trip sign ups at 4:00 pm. Beginning at 5:30 pm, The Pakalachian Food Truck will serve their spin on chili, which recently won the People’s Choice Award at the 33rd Annual Marion Downtown Chili Championship. The rally welcome will begin at 6:45 pm leading up to a special presentation by Dr. Rick Van Noy at 7:00 pm. Dr. Van Noy will discuss his book, A Natural Sense of Wonder: Connecting Kids with Nature through the Seasons, while spotlighting the myriad benefits of connecting kids with the natural world, including the tools to do so.

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Saturday, August 17th begins with breakfast for purchase at 7:00 am. The morning session of field trips depart at 8:00 am and include: an all-day hike to Mt. Rogers, a trail maintenance project, a biological survey, birding, caving, an edible/medicinal plant walk, entomology, geology, botany, and an animal sensory kids program. Lunch will be available for purchase beginning at 11:30 am.

Saturday afternoon field trips depart at 1:00 pm and include: butterflies, an edible/medicinal plant walk, a parasitic insect hike, mushrooms, nature art, primitive survival skills, snorkeling, a wild wonders kids program, and a stream ecology kids program. On Saturday evening we will depart at 8:30 pm for a salamander courtship hike on Whitetop Mountain.

The weekend will wrap up on Sunday, August 18th with an 8:00 am naturalist hike where we will have an opportunity to explore the breadth of natural history of one of the most biologically-diverse landscapes in the world. 

The Mount Rogers Naturalist Rally is a grand tradition dating back to 1974. The summer version of this event provides us access to even more seasonal subjects. And for the first time ever, this event will be held at Blue Ridge Discovery Center’s new campground along beautiful Big Laurel Creek.

The Summer Mount Rogers Naturalist Rally will meet at 6315 Whitetop Road, Troutdale, VA 24378. All field trips depart from this location. Registration is required. For full field trip descriptions, t-shirt preorders, and to register, visit