Ivy Creek Foundation’s Mission: Connecting People to Our Lands, Past and Present
Ted Coates is a new example of how discovering Ivy Creek Natural Area connects visitors to the land that was once River View Farm. A recent arrival to the Charlottesville area, Ted took classes in the ICF Education Building and later decided to explore the Natural Area last December. His new love of the land and enthusiasm for the Mission led him to donate to ICF and then to become the newest Trail Monitor volunteer. “It’s amazing, “Most people would like to help if they knew,” he said.
“Ivy Creek Is A Gem!”
“This is a place of healing and it is wonderful that [Ivy Creek] has remained open [during the pandemic]...there is a great history here, of a [formerly enslaved] man and his family who created this amazing farm, this beautiful place, who persevered against Jim Crow and made sure all his children were educated. It’s a great story.”
Ted Coates, a new ICF member and volunteer, was referring to the fact that Ivy Creek Natural Area trails have safely remained open during this time of pandemic, when most other such areas and parks closed this spring. Observing the increasing number of visitors, he said, “There is something for everyone here.”
Ted and his wife, Martha, moved here in 2016, and says he loves the beauty and “specialness” he feels when he walks the trails, listens to owls or sees what might be foxes. A former officer in the Coast Guard and executive of various organizations, last winter he discovered the trails of Ivy Creek. “My wife and friends and I love to walk and hike and Ivy Creek is a gem! It’s so close to Charlottesville, closer than so many places we have hiked.”
He then made a generous donation and began to bring friends, all of whom had lived in the area for 30 years or more, but had never come to ICNA. Now he enjoys the ability to get outside and safely socialize with them, even in this time of pandemic.
“There is healing here and history. This is unique.” He hopes with the growing awareness of what Ivy Creek offers, there will be increasing donations to keep the trails in good shape and programming alive: “Most people would like to help if they knew [of the need for additional funding].”
Recently, he asked how he could help at Ivy Creek and became the Trail Steward (aka “Guardian”) of the Orange Trail. He noted the peacefulness of the trails, and that one can feel “alone in the woods.” Volunteering, working to maintain and improve the trails, can engender a sense of attachment to the land. Ted smiled; “This is the most prestigious title of my life!”
If, like Ted, you would like to donate to ICF, click
If you would like to volunteer, find the volunteer sign-up form
Photo: Lorna Werntz