Most area residents know the Cool Spring property as a golf course or Civil War battlefield. On Saturday, April 27 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., environmental studies undergraduates from Shenandoah University will present Cool Spring through a different lens through their program, A Hidden Gem: Preserving and Managing Nature at Cool Spring Battlefield.
Along some of the paved paths that traverse the 195-acre site, Shenandoah students will interpret Cool Spring’s natural features. At nine information stations, they will describe mammals, invasive plants, river life, the reasons to plant trees along stream banks, and the role of fires in the Valley’s landscape. Visitors will also be able to view nesting great blue herons through a spotting scope and catch aquatic life in a Shenandoah River tributary and Blackbird Pond.
Most of the route is paved and fairly level. Participants can move at their own paces and stop at as many stations as they wish. All ages are invited, and the area is dog-friendly.
The program is free and open to the public.
In case of rain, it will be postponed to the following day Sunday, April 28 at the same time. An announcement will be made on the Facebook page for Shenandoah University’s Environmental Studies Program.
The Shenandoah University students are planning and conducting the Cool Spring program as part of their spring semester ES 340 (Environmental Education) course. The course is taught in alternate years by Woodward Bousquet, PhD, professor of environmental studies and biology at Shenandoah.
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 lodge. The Cool Spring property is open to the public year-round, dawn to dusk.
The History of the Shenandoah University’s River Campus at Cool Spring Battlefield
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 is managing Cool Spring to protect both its natural and historic features.
The River Campus supports several university departments and activities. Classes in the Environmental Studies, Outdoor Leadership, and History programs investigate the property’s history and ecology and develop leadership skills. University students, faculty, staff, and administrators visit the River Campus for meetings, recreation, team-building, and inspiration.
Shenandoah is the only university that owns a civil war battlefield that is in very early stages of interpretation.
Would you like to know more?
Woodward S. Bousquet, Environmental Studies Program,
Shenandoah University, 1460
University Drive, Winchester, Virginia 22601.
540/247-6276 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Daisy M. Blakely
Student Research is Protecting the Cool Spring Battlefield
Shenandoah University River Campus at Cool Spring Battlefield is poised for a natural rebirth, courtesy of students like Sydney Vonada ’16. Vonada conducted summer research at the site to better understand the natural communities at the river campus. She, with the mentorship of Professor of Environmental Studies and Biology Woodward Bousquet, Ph.D., identified canopy, sub-canopy and ground plants there and in doing so, found many pieces to solve the puzzle of how to best protect its natural communities and water quality.