Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Join Us for Our Capital Campaign Launch

On Saturday, October 17th, at 4 PM the Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center is launching its capital campaign! We're announcing the final, public phase of our fundraising for our permanent home, and we're almost there--with $300,000 left to raise out of a budget of $1,300,000. We're celebrating with music and refreshments and with the presentation of our newest completed boats: the Red Pirogue and the River Ferry. The Red Pirogue was modelled after one of three boats to take the Lewis and Clark Expedition up the Missouri. The River Ferry, a one person rope ferry, was constructed using a 19th Century ferry design provided by historic boatwright Butch Bouvier. Both boats will be part of the Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center's historic boat display.

Lewis & Clark President Anne Hemenway and Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Board Member Sally Thomas will be making opening remarks at Saturday's event.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

September and October Schedule

We've set the schedule for the rest of the season--by popular demand.

September 5/6: We're going to make animal medallions on wood, and do some new Nail Art designs. (See photos below for some of our earlier designs.)

September 12/13: Discover Geocaching (the Lewis and Clark geocache will be in place); and take part in a Journalling Workshop

September 19/20: Mapping for Young Discoverers; Pottery: Hand Painted Beads and Bowls

September 26/27 Our Explorer's Club will offer Map and Compass workshops. We'll also have beading with our new animal beads.

October 3/4 We'll have Nail Art, Beading, and a Science Table. Bring something from home to examine under the microscope or find something at the Center...

October 10/11 Make paper-mache figurines, and do printmaking with leaves to celebrate the fall season

October 17/18 Get your Halloween costumes ready with paper and paper mache mask-making. Make a paper mache pumpkin, or set out with the Explorer's Club team for a lesson in geocaching.

October 24/25 Paper mask-making, Pottery, and Leaf Art.

October 31 Our last day of the season! Make a Halloween Mask, and do a spooky Artwork. Black, yellow, and orange beading, and Batty Nail Art.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

BamaWorks Camp

August's Camp Explore is now underway at the Center, generously funded by BamaWorks, the charitable foundation of the Dave Matthews Band. The children have been doing art projects, exploring the outdoors, and getting their feet wet in the river. We've been seeing tadpoles and frogs, dragonflies--and honking v's of geese. Today they got a wonderful introduction to nature journaling and to the nature observation games of Joseph Cornell thanks to local educator Eileen Merritt, whom the Center met through a Chesapeake Bay Foundation workshop. More on all this later! We have many more activities planned, including making drums out of recycled materials.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

August Schedule

We have wonderful activities this August for enjoying the last days of summer. We have hikes, and fun with our new microscopes and nature viewing tools...
August 1/2 Animal Painting: Paint an animal on paper or on small wooden medallions you make yourself; Rock Hunting: Look at rocks underneath the microscope then search for your own rocks on the park trails
August 8/9 It’s a Day for the Birds! Learn about all your neighborhood birds at our Ornithology Display. Books, feathers, and squeezable toys… Observe the bluebirds and barn swallows that live near the Lewis and Clark Keelboat Barn and make your own paper feathers and bird masks.
August 15/16 Compass Workshop: Join a Compassing Scavenger Hunt that teaches you how to use a compass. Following the series of clues to discover a secret hiding place. Pottery: Make your own coil pot to take home.
August 22/23 Beading and a Demonstration in Geocaching for Kids
August 29/30 Art in Action: Make Artist Trading Cards; Science Station: Learn the Tools of Mapmaking

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Artist Trading Cards

Here are some of the beautiful Artist Trading Cards made at the Center this past weekend: salmon, deer, and keelboat.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Our July Schedule

We're having several new activities in July, as you'll see in our schedule below. For the Fourth, we'll feature an art project of red, white and blue. The next weekend, we'll make artist trading cards, where any type of paint, pencil, marker, and any glitter can be chosen--the only rule is that the card has to be 2-1/2 by 3-1/2.

July 4 and 5: At the Art in Action station: Come make Fireworks Transfer Prints by painting a sheet of plexiglass with your favorite red, white and blue colors. Then use a roller on a piece of paper to make your own work of art. Carpentry Corner: Help the Center make Bird Feeders for its resident birds.

July 11 and 12: Art in Action: Join the Artist Trading Card craze. Paint or draw your own trading cards to trade with your friends or to collect yourself. Carpentry Corner: Make a Nail Art sculpture and learn to sand wood and drive nails.

July 18 and 19: Carpentry Corner: Help the Center make Bird Feeders for its resident birds. Science Station: Learn to Test Samples of Water.

July 25 and 26: Art in Action: Artist Trading Cards. Paint or draw your own trading cards to trade with your friends or to collect yourself. Science Station: Rock Hunt. Hike our trails and find four different kinds of rocks.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Carpentry Art

Here's are some examples of what we'll be working on this weekend and the next: string and nail art. We got the idea from The Kids' Building Workshop, a carpentry book filled with fun projects. A visitor last weekend said that the only piece of art he ever made was string and nail art and that he still has his piece... Little did he know he'd be a resource for our art at the Center!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

June Schedule

Throughout the month of June we'll have our regular exhibits and activities for the season, "The Mystery of the Keelboat,"Nature Observation," and maskmaking and beading. In "Mystery of the Keelboat," visitors of all ages are invited to board the keelboat to find clues. "Nature Observation" takes families out onto the trails to locate painted animals and learn about North American species that Lewis and Clark encountered. Then they can come back to the main Center and paint their own! In addition to these activities, we'll have the following rotating programs:

June is the introduction to Carpentry Corner, a new station where children who have earned their Apprentice Boat Building badges can get more comfortable using carpentry tools. June 6 and 7, and June 13 and 14, we'll be featuring "String and Nail Art." Kids will hammer in nails of various sizes onto boards and then will string yarn of different colors on the nails to make designs. Afterwards, they'll paint their boards to take home. On June 20 and 21, and June 27 and 28, Carpentry Corner will feature "Boats and Birdhouses," and children will be taught new construction skills so they can make miniature boats and functional birdhouses. Adults are also welcome to participate in the programs and take home their own 70's inspired String and Nail Art!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Monday, May 11, 2009

May Schedule at Center

We've been getting the season underway at the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center. One of the papers did make a misprint, telling people that we are on Holiday Drive. We are not on Holiday Drive (our office address from 5 years ago)--we are in Darden Towe Park, off Pantops. We apologize for those of you who searched the Aberdeen Barn area for our barn!

Here's the rest of the May schedule, and we hope you can come:

May 16, 17: “Nature Observation”: Can you find the hidden animals in the forest? We’ll hike and try to find animal camouflage paintings hidden in the trees.

May 23, 24: “The Mystery of the Keelboat”: Climb aboard the 55 ft. replica of the Lewis and Clark Expedition Keelboat and find clues to what happened on the original boat. Fill out a detective quiz and be eligible to win a collection of Lewis & Clark coins. The participants with the most answers correct will be placed in a drawing in September. (Adult and child categories.)

May 30, 31: “Introduction to Nature Journaling”: Adult and Teen. At 1 and 3 o’clock, get an introduction to nature journaling based on Clare Walker Leslie’s work. Reservations required. Limit seven. Program lasts approximately one hour. Children’s Activity: “Nature Observation” (see Above).

Friday, May 1, 2009

Opening Weekend!

We're having our Opening Weekend tomorrow, May 2, and Sunday, May 3! This weekend we're featuring "Camouflage Animals." Visitors can paint their own owls, deer, and frogs to take home, learning about forest adaptations and the hidden lives of animals. Our hours are Saturday, 10-4, and Sunday 12-4. Closed in the pouring rain, but not in light showers.

For Saturday, May 9th and Sunday, May 10th, the Center is offering "Mother's Day Beading." Visitors of all ages can make a bracelet or necklace for a Mother's Day gift--or bring your Mom along to help you choose the seed bead colors. The Lewis and Clark Exploratory staff will be available to finish up your piece and to put on the clasp--and to teach you how.

Admission is $3 per person (same price for children and adults). We're located in Darden Towe Park off Stony Point Road. (Take the 250E Bypass to Pantops, a left onto Stony Point Road, and another left onto Elks Drive after less than a mile. Curve your way into the park.) Admittance on the weekend of the "Mother's Day Beading" activity includes one necklace or bracelet per person. Extra jewelry pieces are $3 for a necklace and $2 for a bracelet.

Friday, April 10, 2009

April 26th River Celebration at the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center

Here is the poster for our April 26th Event! We hope to see you there!

Friday, April 3, 2009

River Events

Two exciting events are coming our way: the 2nd Annual Rivanna River Sojourn, Sunday,April 19, 2009, from the Rivanna Conservation Society, and the Rivanna River Regatta and Races on Saturday, May 9th.

The Rivanna River Sojourn, offered by the Rivanna Conservation Society, is a professionally guided paddle down the Rivanna, focusing on the beauty and history of the river. Families are welcome. Full Sojourn(16.5 Mile Paddle): $75 per adult ($65.00 under 12)Mini Sojourn (6.5 Mile Paddle): $65.00 per adult ($55 under 12). For more info, see

And this is from a Regatta announcement: "The 4th annual Rivanna River Regatta and Races are scheduled for Saturday, May 9, 2009. This annual event includes several classes of races and a recreational paddle. The several classes of races include the highly competitive Open class, a Tandem class, a Parent/Child class and a shorter, less challenging Under Age 14 race with cash prizes in each category up to $100. There is no entrance fee and this event is open to the public. For those who enjoy paddling at a slower pace, they may come and participate in a recreational paddle with others who do not wish to participate in the races on this 8.5 mile stretch of the scenic Rivanna River that skirts Charlottesville from north to east.

"Those wishing to participate in the event should assemble under the Route 29 bridge on Rio Mills Road (just north of Sam’s Club on the upstream side of the bridge) between 9-9:30am on May 9 for sign-in. The first race starts promptly at 10am. Sign-in for the shorter, Under Age 14 race will start at 12pm at Darden Towe Park and that race will begin at 1pm sharp at the north end of Darden Towe Park. The awards ceremony will be at the Darden Towe boat ramp at 1:30pm. This is also the finish line for all races. " Contact info: 434-975-3072; email: There is also a Facebook page under Rivanna River Regatta group.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Wildlife Center of Virginia

Yesterday I visited Virginia's only wildlife hospital, the Wildlife Center in Waynesboro, and took the tour of the indoor and outdoor facility. (The Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center is interested in hosting one of the Wildlife Center's educational programs for our summer camps and for our afterschool program in the fall.)

There were many children on the tour who were fascinated by the stories of animal rescue and the little known facts about animal saftey. We learned how to mount decals on windows to help birds avoid flying into the glass (the decals are shaped like birds of prey, so they not only deflect glare, they also scare other birds away because of shape recognition). We were told that throwing an apple from a car can attract animals that may then get hit--so even though the apple is biodegradable, it still should be properly disposed of. And the tour leader taught us that a lone fawn is not usually orphaned--the mother tends to leave the baby alone during the day, so her presence doesn't attract predators to the baby.

We also got a close look at Spike, the resident snapping turtle-educator (animal educators have injuries that make release into the wild impossible), and Pignoli, the one-eyed barred owl.

The Wildlife Center offers many interesting on-site and traveling programs for children, including "Camouflage," which takes place in the woods and teaches how animals blend into their environments.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Summer Camps Scheduled

We've scheduled our "Camp Explore" summer camps for this year, and we're excited about all the activities planned: kayaking and hiking and journal drawing among them. The weeks of June 8th and June 15th we're hosting children who are recent refugees from countries such as Afghanistan and Somalia. These weeks are made possible by a generous grant from BamaWorks, the charitable arm of the Dave Matthews Band. The International Rescue Committee is spreading the word among families who have recently made Charlottesville their new home.

The weeks of June 22 and July 6th the City of Charlottesville's summer camp participants (elementary school and Middle School children) will be returning after another busy year. We are looking forward to seeing many familiar faces as well as some new ones. The Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center will also offer a special kayaking workshop July 15th and 16th to the City of Charlottesville kids of Walker and Tonsler. Last year being on the river for the first time was the highlight for many of the campers. We hope to bring them increased confidence on the Rivanna River this year--and the wonderful opportunity to cool off and have fun.

Friday, February 27, 2009

New Email Address

The Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center has a new email address: Drop us a line! We're getting geared up for our 2009 season, and we're taking reservations from school, scouting and tourist groups that want to visit outside of our regular May through October weekend hours. April is a popular month for special tours. Call or email for more information.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

April 26, 2009 Event

We're having the Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center Spring Open House Sunday, April 26, 2009 at the Keelboat Barn in Darden Towe Park from 3 PM to 5:30 PM. Music will be by the Duke Merrick Band (Virginia/Texas Swing). There will be light hors d'oeuvres, a fish fry, beverages, and a silent auction of boats and other river-related items. Some of the auction items will be adventure related: including a guided float down the Rivanna River, a kayak lesson, and a picnic with nature journalling. The public is invited. Please come and enjoy yourselves at our beautiful site! Admission to the event will be $5.00. Children under 12 will be free. RSVP at 434-979-2425 or by email at

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Welcome to the new blog of the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center in Charlottesville, Virginia! We've created this so we can have a new place to communicate with you about our programs and events. We have many exciting workshops, camps, and events planned for 2009, and we want to keep you up-to-date.

In April we'll be having our annual Boat Sale, with music, and then the first weekend in May the Keelboat Barn will be open again to the public. We'll be telling you more about both of these events in the future. Until then, thanks for visiting!