A Match Made in Heaven – Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School and Menokin

In spite of the pristine scenery and recreation – not to mention the tranquil lifestyle afforded by living on the Northern Neck – this geographical area, along with the Middle Peninsula counties across the Rappahannock River are under-served in many ways.

The rural, agrarian economy means incomes – and tax revenues – are lower than the national average. Schools are not fancy, and faculty and students alike struggle with the dichotomy of gaining a quality education with very limited resources.

Therefore, we are very fortunate to have an excellent community college system, Rappahannock Community College, with three campuses in the region; one of those is right here in Warsaw. These campuses are also home to an academically  challenging program for high school students called The Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School (CBGS).

The Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School for Marine and Environmental Science provides high-ability students from the Northern Neck and the Middle Peninsula with a rigorous curriculum through enrichment, exploratory, investigative, and career awareness experiences. Through the integration of math, science, technology, and research, woven with marine and environmental sciences, students have the opportunity to foster an appreciation and respect for environmental issues.

CBGS provides a community of learners the opportunity to explore connections among the environment, math, science, and technology in order to help develop leaders who possess the research and technical skills, global perspective, and vision needed to address the challenges of a rapidly changing society.

And here sits Menokin, ten minutes from the Warsaw campus, in the middle of a wildlife refuge and with access to Cat Point Creek, one of the most undisturbed tributaries of the Rappahannock. We are a 500-acre classroom teeming with opportunities for research, exploration, inspiration and education of all things Marine and Environmental.

It is, obviously, a match made in heaven. And the courtship began in earnest in early November when the CBGS sophomore class from the Warsaw Campus came for an introductory field trip. Instructors Jim Beam (no, I’m not making it up), Daniel Maxey and Bethany Smith lead their eager students through the property to snatch up as much of the experience as possible during their brief stay. With field notebooks in hand, students scribbled notes about archaeology, geology, flora, fauna and conservation. Brain’s churned with ideas for senior projects that will be serious business in the not-too-distant future.

We look forward to continuing our relationship with CBGS students and teachers, and encourage all with the same passion for learning to take advantage of the resources here at Menokin.

The Northern Neck Makes the New York Times!

New York Times Travel Writer, Guy Trebay, has (not surprisingly) fallen in love with the Northern Neck. Our little slice of heaven has made the front page of the Times Travel Section. Check it out!

Pilgrims or Planters. You decide.

A hearty “Hear! Hear!” and pass the gravy on this call to action for Virginia to claim her rightful spot as the birthplace of the first Thanksgiving. Weigh in and let us know with whom you stand – the pilgrims or the planters?

Virginia Historical Society's Blog

Let’s have a heart to heart about Thanksgiving. I fully admit that I am not taking the most historically accurate or rational view on this debate, but I do feel that Virginia has to stake its claim to the first Thanksgiving. You can argue over the earliest date for Thanksgiving in the colonies or whether the celebration became an annual event where it occurred. Virginia is perceived as the underdog in this fight, so we need to take our argument to a national level. Now, to clarify, what I am referring to is the first Christian Thanksgiving in British North America. Thanksgivings have taken place in many cultures for thousands of years before it became popular in the British colonies. To complicate matters further, there are those who argue that the Spanish settlement of St. Augustine, Florida, held the first Thanksgiving. However, my battle is with the Pilgrims of Massachusetts…

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You’re Invited

Menokin Is Hosting A Reception and Show of Entries from the
Menokin Photography Contest

Please join the Menokin staff, contestants, trustees and contest judge Hullihen Williams Moore on the evening of November 30, 2012 from 6 pm until 8 pm for a light wine and cheese reception and the results of the Menokin Photography Contest.

On display will be selected works by Mr. Moore from his collection of Menokin photographs.

There is no fee to attend, but a reservation is required. Please respond to menokin@menokin.org or by calling 804.333.1776 no later than November 26, 2012.

The reception will be held in the Martin Kirwan King Visitor’s Center at Menokin, located at 4037 Menokin Road, Warsaw, VA.

Menokin: Education, Exploration, Enrichment – Day Two

DAY TWO – Wednesday, November 7th
Richmond County Schools Gifted and Talented After School Program

The day after the Aylett Country Day School 8th graders were here, we were visited by a hardy group of Gifted and Talented students from the Richmond County public school system.

The group, consisting of children from the 4th through the 8th grade, braved the wind, rain and cold to explore Menokin. A handful of the kids had visited Menokin before, some on several occasions. But many in the group were first-time visitors.

While the weather prohibited a walk to the creek, there was time to visit the archaeologists at work on their survey and a tour of the house introduced them to the architectural elements of 18th-century tidewater construction methods. With a plethora of old houses in Richmond County, several of the kids commented about the similarities they observed between their own homes and Menokin.

Menokin: Education, Exploration, Enrichment – Day One

These words describe the very soul of Menokin’s mission. They represent all that Menokin has to offer, and when they are followed up by “A 500-acre classroom for heritage and natural resource conservation,” you can really get a picture of what goes on in this peaceful corner of the world.

Our mission was really put to the test this week, as Menokin played host to three different field trip groups from area schools. Each school represented a different age group and learning environment. But one thing was abundantly evident with all three. Kids love to learn, they love to explore, and they love to play.

DAY ONE – Tueday, November 6th
Aylett Country Day School, Millers Tavern, VA

Aylett is a small, private school in Essex County, VA, which is across the river from Richmond County, Menokin’s home. The school serves children from Preschool through the 8th grade. Students from Aylett come from many surrounding counties, including Essex, Richmond, King and Queen, King William and Middlesex.

The 8th-grade class visited Menokin on Tuesday. While they toured the visitor’s center, the conservation barn and the house site, the main purpose for their visit was to complete a community service project for Menokin. Armed with cans of orange spray paint, which managed to stay off the students, they hiked through the woods at Menokin with staff members Sarah Pope, Alice French and myself, marking the otherwise not-so-obvious path along the bluff overlooking Menokin Bay on Cat Point Creek.

A stop along the way introduced them to Thane Harpole of DATA Investigations, and his team of archaeologists conducting a survey here in conjunction with the Chesapeake Gateways Grant secured by Menokin earlier this year. The hike concluded with gathering water samples from Cat Point Creek and returning to the Visitor’s Center to test the water for oxygen and acidity levels.

The last few minutes before leaving were well used exploring 21st century  uses for colonial toys.

[10 on Tuesday] Build Your National Register Knowledge – PreservationNation

[10 on Tuesday] Build Your National Register Knowledge – PreservationNation.

Menokin is pleased and proud to be on this register. Thanks to the National Trust for your hard work keeping America’s historic places alive.