Most area residents know the Shenandoah River Campus at Cool Spring Battlefield, east of Berryville off of Route 7, as a golf course or Civil War battlefield. On Sunday, April 19, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Shenandoah undergraduate environmental studies students will present the Cool Spring river campus in a different light through their program, “Full Retreat! A Natural Journey through Cool Spring Battlefield.”
Shenandoah students will interpret natural features of the 195-acre river campus. At eight information stations situated along paved paths, they will describe wildlife, native plants, aquatic insects and the role of fires in the Shenandoah Valley’s changing landscape.
Visitors will be able to view nesting great blue herons through a spotting scope, and catch aquatic life in the Shenandoah River. Most of the route is paved and fairly level. Participants can move at their own pace and stop at as many stations as they wish.
The program is free and open to the public. In case of rain, it will be postponed one week to Sunday, April 26, at the same time. A postponement announcement will be made on the Facebook page for the event.
Shenandoah University students are planning and conducting the Cool Spring program as part of their spring semester Environmental Education (ES 340) course. The course is taught in alternate years by Professor of Environmental Studies and Biology Woodward Bousquet, Ph.D.
Visitors can reach Cool Spring by heading east on Virginia Route 7 from Winchester or Berryville, and turning left immediately after crossing the Shenandoah River. From there, Parker Lane leads about two miles to the parking lot below the former golf course clubhouse. The Cool Spring property is open to the public year-round, dawn to dusk.
On July 18, 1864, in a prelude to the final Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Confederate troops held back Union forces that were pursuing them across the Shenandoah River at Cool Spring. After the Virginia National Golf Course closed at the site in 2012, the Civil War Trust offered funding and organized a partnership to purchase the property.
In April 2013, Cool Spring officially became Shenandoah University’s River Campus at Cool Spring Battlefield. It reflects a public-private partnership of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Civil War Trust and Shenandoah University. Under terms of a conservation easement, the university manages the property to protect both its natural and historic features.
The river campus supports several university departments and activities. Classes in environmental studies, outdoor and history programs develop leadership skills and investigate the property’s history and ecology. University students, faculty, staff, and administrators visit the river campus for meetings, recreation, team-building, and inspiration.
For more information, contact Dr. Bousquet at 540/665-5461 or firstname.lastname@example.org.