Extension and Outreach
Bi-annually, the Shenandoah Valley Agricultural Research and Extension Center hosts a Field Day where current research projects are showcased and discussed. The Field Day gives producers the opportunity to view current research and discuss the projects with individual researchers. In addition, area Extension agents utilize the Center resources for several local educational programs and youth activities each year.
Marl Creek Trail
Officially dedicated in April 2004, the Marl Creek Interpretative trail is a half-mile walking trail along Marl Creek through oak woods and meadows to a mill pond. The construction of the trail was joint effort between several agencies including:
- Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
- Virginia Cooperative Extension
- Headwaters Soil & Water Conservation District
- Natural Bridge Soil & Water Conservation District
- Virginia Department of Forestry
- Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
- Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
- Virginia Department of Corrections
- Canaan Valley Institute
- The Upper James Roundtable.
This area was once farmed and grazed, but is now set aside as a sensitive riparian area for water quality protection and as a wildlife corridor. The trail is designed to highlight how farming practices have changed since the days of Cyrus McCormick, especially along our streams and waterways.
The trail includes many interpretive stations and signs describing various attributes of stream habitats, from vegetation to wildlife to land management. Visitors see wetland habitat, riparian buffers, invasive species removal, and native wildlife plantings. Created primarily for youth education, it can be enjoyed by young and old alike.
Programs for school children and their teachers are also offered at this site. Activity boxes of great educational materials that enhance understanding of wildlife, native plants, and watershed issues are available for use upon request. See photos of the Marl Creek Trail.
Annual Mill Day
Each year on the first Saturday in October, the Shenandoah Valley Agricultural Research and Extension Center holds a Mill Day and open house. During this event, we operate the McCormick grist mill, host period vendors, and give tours of the farm and explain the research being conducted. This activity gives people the opportunity to learn more about the history of the McCormick Farm and how the farm is being used today.