Tucked away in the foothills near Smith Mountain Lake lies a 470 acre nature retreat unlike anything else in our area. This unique Center, once run as a farm in the 1700’s is now an area for scientific activity of varied and fascinating sorts. Environmental conservation, campgrounds, greenhouses, educational seminars for all ages, and woodland/wetland studies are just a few of the marvelous opportunities at the Claytor Nature Study Center. The Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce provides the information below.
Lynchburg College’s 470-acre Claytor Nature Study Center, located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Bedford County, provides unique opportunities for environmental education programs and research, interdisciplinary study, and seminar and retreat facilities. With the Peaks of Otter as its backdrop, the Claytor Nature Study Center encompasses two small lakes, woodlands, wetlands, rare plants, more than two miles of trails, and a portion of the Big Otter River.
The Claytor Nature Study Center was run as a farm from the late 1700s until the mid-1990s, when it was given to the college by A. Boyd Claytor III. It is now managed for environmental conservation and restoration through agreements with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and the USDA ’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Plans are under way to build an astronomical observatory at the Center, as well as a small-group campground, a greenhouse and heritage gardens.
The A. Boyd Claytor III Education and Research Facility provides seminar, laboratory, classroom, conference and retreat space. It includes a Discovery Room for students in grades K-12 to participate in interactive environmental science activities including water quality, river ecosystems, wetland restoration, and the study of inter-relationships among plants, animals, air, soil, and water.
Dr. Greg Eaton, director of the Claytor Nature Study Center, came to Lynchburg College from Virginia Tech where he was assistant professor and nursery and landscape extension specialist in the Department of Horticulture. He received his Ph.D. in biological sciences from Dartmouth College.
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