Archive of Past News & Events


Mushroom Survey (October 17, 2010): A survey of the fungi of Wildwood Park was undertaken on a beautiful autumn afternoon, sponsored jointly by the New River Valley Mushroom Club, the New River Valley Chapter of the Virginia Native Plants Society and Pathways for Radford. Becky Rader (below right), president of the Mushroom Club, led 17 participants (some seen below left) in a search for fungi to add to the existing list on this website. Nineteen species were discovered, only two of which were already on the list -- a tremendous increase in our knowledge of the Park in a single afternoon. Two more were found and reported a couple of days by a member of the club. For more information and pictures of some of the finds see the Ridge and Valley Blog at the Blue Ridge Discovery Center website.

Mushroom Hunters
Rebecca Rader

Wildwood Biodiversity featured in new blog (October 15, 2010): The Blue Ridge Discovery Center website is starting a new blog, the Ridge and Valley Blog. Wildwood promises to be frequently featured in this blog. Nancy Kent of Radford, one of Wildwood's most dedicated students, is likely to be a frequent contributor. She has been visiting the Park regularly and photographing its denizens, and has contributed invaluable information on the biodiversity of the Park that is still being processed. She has contributed some of the photographs on this website, and more will be posted as they are processed.

Ben Shull, crayfish hunter

2010 Summer Outdoor Classroom Lecture Series ends (August 26, 2010).  Radford High School biologist Frank Taylor'sgave a hands-on presentation of the Aquatic “Critters” of Connelly’s Run. The attendees were able to hunt and catch creatures from the Run and examine them in detail. With this presentation, our lecture series ends for the summer. Come again next year when we will have new speakers on fascinating topics. Keep an eye on this webpage and an eye out for posters around town next spring. Meanwhile don't stop visiting the Park; it is still beautiful in the winter.

Attendees searching for critters

Richard Fell Lecturing
Third Outdoor Classroom Lecture of 2010 (July 8, 2010):  About 40 descended on the Outdoor Classroom at twilight to hear richard Fell of the Entomology Department of Virginia Tech tell us about the bees and wasps of Wildwood. Beautiful pictures and actual specimens illustrated the interesting talk and the evening ended with a tasting of local honeys. Our next lecture is July 22nd when More information is available on the Lecture Series Page.


Wildwood Protected Forever (June 29, 2010). Wildwood Park is now forever protected through a conservation easement with Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF). By transferring development rights to VOF the ciity voluntarily enters a legally binding agreement to forever maintain Wildwood as an open space park. The agreement allows for maintenance of roads, bikeways, trails, and the Outdoor Classroom, bathrooms, and kiosks and provides that new park structures and trails may be built, but prohibits new roads or developments. Retiring Mayor Tom Starnes worked hard to see this protection a reality. At right below he is signing the agreement, watched by Ruth Babylon, representative of VOF and a member of Pathways for Radford, who also worked hard to bring this agreement about. At left is the sign that will mark Wildwood as forever protected. At left below, four folks who have been instrumental in protecting Wildwood pose with the sign: (from left) Chuck Kugler, member and former president of Pathways, Mayor Tom Starnes, Ruth Babylon of VOF and Pathways, and Laurie Buchwald, former Radford city council member and member of Pathways.

Chuck Kugler, Mayor Starnes, Ruth Babylon, Laurie Buchwald
Mayor Starnes Signing

Mike Pinder lecturing
Hands-on encounter
Second Outdoor Classroom Lecture of 2010 (June 24, 2010):  About 80 people came to the Outdoor Classroom at twilight to hear Mike Pinder from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries tell us about the giant salamanders of the Appalachians, the hellbenders. The fascinating talk ended with a chance for audience members to meet and greet some hellbender ambassadors. and even pet them. Our next lecture is July 8th when Richard Fell of the Virginia Tech Department of Entomology will tell us all about the bees and wasps of Wildwood. More information is available on the Lecture Series Page.

Wildwood Park accepted as a conservation easement by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (June 18, 2010):  The Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) partners with landowners to create legal binding conservation easements, restricting development of parcels of land and helping to ensure conservation of that land as open space. By accepting Wildwood Park into its program, the Foundation acknowledges the conservation value of this urban jewel and creates legal protections against future development. Pathways and the city currently are currently committed to protecting the Park, but this partnership with VOF creates legal mechanisms to ensure that our commitment is honored in perpetuity. A ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday, June 29th at 10:30 am in the Park. More information to follow.

First Outdoor Classroom Lecture of 2010 (June 17, 2010):  Around 35 people came to the Outdoor Classroom at twilight to hear Radford High School teacher Frank Taylor discuss the Spring Wildflowers of Wildwood Park. Frank showed many beautiful photographs, including many by local photographer Nancy Kent, as he told fascinating stories about the plants.  Our next lecture is June 24th when Mike Pinder of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will tell us all about the hellbender, the giant salamander of our local rivers. More information is available on the Lecture Series Page.   Frank Taylor lecturing

Herbicide Spraying (June 2010):  While we prefer reporting good news, sometimes the news is bad. If you've been wondering about the massive dying of plants along Wildwood drive, apparently herbicides were sprayed under the powerlines. Many sensitive and/or beautiful plants are threatened by this spraying, including the prairie ragwort and smooth phlox. A population of endangered metalmark butterflies is also endangered by loss of their nectaring sources. The spraying is far in excess of anything that has been done in the Park in years, if ever. As a number of agencies share the poles for telephone, electrical and cable lines, it is not known who is responsible. The city is investigating in the hopes of preventing this from happening again.

Outdoor Classroom Lecture Series Returns! (Summer 2010):  Join us at twilight (7:30 pm) on Thursdays, starting June 17th for fascinating lectures on Wildwood's natural history and how to photograph it.  These lectures have been popular year after year, and we hope this year will be just as exciting as in the past.  The first lecture, on June 17th, will be about the Spring Wildflowers of Wildwood by Frank Taylor, a biologist at Radford High School.  More information is available on the Lecture Series Page, and a Full Schedule is also available.

New bird heard in the Park (April 18th): Ornithologist Clyde Kessler reports that a Prairie Warbler was singing at the south edge of Wildwood Park. He's never heard this species before in the city. It's a migrant that will most likely move one, but apparently it thought Wildwood was a great place to stop for a rest and sing.

Service Day 2010 (April 17th): In honor of Arbor Day, Earth Day, and Radford's Environmental Awareness Month volunteers from the community and from RU's Alpha Kappa Psi fraternity descended on Wildwood Park and on the Riverway bikepath along Sundell Drive. Some planted redbud trees along Sundell. In the Park, other volunteers spread mulch around the trees and shrubs planted near the Outdoor Classroom and the bathrooms. Others cleaned the Outdoor Classroom to make it presentable for spring and summer activities. Still others dug ditches along the bikeway to improve drainage and reduce erosion along the sides. Groups fanned out to pick up trash. A large contingent spent several hours attaching wire fencing along most of the split rail fences in the Park to strengthen them and increase their useful life. Many, many thanks to all who gave time and backbreaking effort to improving Wildwood. Without their efforts, the Park would not be the jewel that it is.

Classroom cleaners
Ditch Diggers

Fence repairmen

Top left: Cleaning the Outdoor Classroom.

Top right: Tackling a big pile of mulch.

Middle left: Mulching around a sapling.

Middle right: Digging a ditch to improve drainage and reduce erosion on the bikeway.

Bottom left: Attaching wire fencing to the split-rail fences.

Spring Wildflower Walk (April 3, 2010): About 15 people visited the Park with RU professor Gary Coté on a Wildflower Walk sponsored by the New River Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society and Pathways for Radford. The weather was magnificent. The bloodroots, spring beauties, and Dutchman's breeches were at their glory, and the walkers also saw coltsfoot, hepatica, rue anemone, Persian speedwell, star chickweed, common chickweed, hairy bitter cress and spicebush. Trout lilies were seen in bud. Many other wildflowers were seen just emerging and not yet in bloom.


Last Summer Outdoor Classroom Lecture of 2009 (August 27th) : About a dozen people came to the classroom at dusk to hear Mike Pinder of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries tell us about freshwater mussels. The southern Appalachians, we learned, has some of the greatest diversity of mussels in the entire world. Many beautiful shells were on hand for examination. This concluded the highly successful 2009 Classroom Lecture series. Join us next summer for more educational events in one of the most beautiful settings in Radford.

2009 Summer Outdoor Classroom Lecture Series: Mother of Pearl! A Look at Freshwater Mussels. This lecture was scheduled for August 20, but was washed out by the rain. Fortunately, we were able to reschedule the speaker for August 27th. Join us then to learn about freshwater mussels (below left) and what we can learn by studying them (below right). For more information, and a complete schedule, see the announcement page.

Freshwater Mussels  
Studying Mussels


2009 Summer Outdoor Classroom Lecture Series: Running Amuck: A Turtle’s Tale of Water Pollution (August 6, 2009).  William Hopkins of the Tech Department of Fisheries and Wildlife kept about 40 people fascinated as they learned about southeast Virginia turtles.  A slew of painted turtles and a few big snappers were on hand to assist William.   Join us August 20 for the last lecture of the season. This one on little appreciated animals, the freshwater mussels. For more information, and a complete schedule, see the announcement page.  

Lecture on Turtles


William Hopkins and big snapper

People examining the painted turtles

Webmaster Away. (July 9-28, 2009). I was away on vacation way up north and was unable to update the news. I apologize for any confusion. I understand that rain led to the postponement of the Black Bear lecture from July 9th to July 16th, but the Lawn lecture on the 23rd was a success. Don't miss the next lecture on August 6th on New River Turtles and the tales they tell us.

Songs of the Night

First Lecture of the 2009 Summer Outdoor Classroom Lecture Series (June 25, 2009).  Over 30 people gathered to hear Jeff Brown of Radford High School show and tell of common salamanders in the New River Valley.  Live specimens and beautiful pictures fascinated the audience.  Join us again in July for lectures on black bears and environmentally friendly lawns. For more information, and a complete schedule, see the announcement page.

Note: The planned first lecture of the year was supposed to have been June 11th. I was out of town, but I heard that hail, lightning, thunder and pouring rain led to its cancellation.

Wildwood is Family Friendly! (May 29, 2009). A lady snapping turtle found Wildwood Park to be such a family-friendly spot she decided to raise her family there. She was spotted this morning laying her eggs within the Park, and was willing to have her picture taken. The babies should be emerging sometime in August (although they could take as long as 125 days -- early October!). We wish this little lady and her family the best and hope that Wildwood continues to be friendly to all families, both human and otherwise.

Snapping turtle laying
Snapping Turtle closeup


Earth Day Volunteer Celebration in Wildwood (April 25, 2009).  A number of hardy volunteers turned out in near 90 degree weather to plant and pull to make Wildwood and the Bikeway more beautiful and ecologically healthier.  Native shrubs (serviceberry, ninebark, winterberry holly, and American hazelnut) were planted around the new bathrooms in Wildwood.  Native redbuds were planted along the bikeway on Sundell.  And over 1000 garlic mustard plants were pulled up and left to dry.  (Garlic mustard is an invasive exotic species that is credited with threatening native plants and butterflies with extinction.)  Food, drink, and music were shared.  The event was sponsored by Pathways for Radford.  The garlic mustard eradication effort was co-sponsored by Pathways and the New River Valley Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society.

Shrub planting
Bucket brigade
Pulling up garlic mustard
Pile of dying garlic mustard
Top left:  Planting shrubs by the Wildwood bathrooms.  Top right: Bucket brigade to bring Connelly's run water up to water the shrubs.

Middle left:  Searching out the evil garlic mustard.  Middle right: a heap of dying garlic mustard.

Right:  Planting redbuds along Sunell.

Planting trees

Wildflower Walk (April 11, 2009).  About a dozen people braved the cold threatening weather to seek the  spring wildflowers of Wildwood.  Co-sponsored by the New River Valley Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society and Pathways for Radford, and led by RU biologist Gary Coté, the trip provided participants a cornucopia of blooms.  Crowfoot, Dutchman's breeches, dandelion, bloodroot, bellwort, round-lobed hepatica, cutleaf toothwort, blue cohosh, early meadow rue, spring beauty, common blue violet, marsh blue violet, trillium, spicebush, miterwort, fairy bells, gill-over-the-ground, trout lily, purple dead nettle, hairy bittercress, common chickweed, star chickweed, yellow Alexanders, larkspur, daffodil, coltsfoot, thyme-leaved speedwell, Persian speedwell, and wild ginger were all spotted in bloom.   The miterwort and marsh blue violet were not noted on last year's What's Blooming catalog.

 Spring is here!  (March 15, 2009)  With the warm, lovely weather we are having, the first flowers in Wildwood are in bloom.  Coltsfoot, Persian speedwell, thyme-leaved speedwell, purple dead-nettle, sharp-lobed hepatica, hairy bittercress, and American hazelnut were all spotted in bloom on March 8th.  The hepatica and hazelnut are natives; the rest aliens.  Check last year's What's Blooming? to see what should be coming soon.


War on Stinkwood! (November 2008)  Stinkwood, also known as tree of heaven because of its height, not its beauty, is a fast-growing non-native exotic that invades forests and crowds out native species.  It has little or no wildlife or commercial value, and is considered a serious pest in Virginia.  On November 17th, 2008 Frank Taylor's biology II classes in conjunction with Virginia Tech Dept. of Forestry Rep David Cross began the Wildwood Park Stinkwood Abatement Project. Within just a few hours, stinkwood was felled and cut into 3 foot sections by swarms of biology II students armed with handsaws, branch loppers and hand clippers. Stumps were treated with herbicides to discourage sprouting. Large trees will be treated by David Cross with systemic stem and root injections. The Biology II students will continue their attacks on this noxious species in our park.

Felling stinkwood
Sawing stinkwood
Piling stinkwood
On hillside   Listening to stinkwood

 Vulture Day!  Saturday, November 15th was Vulture Day in Radford, when the city celebrated one of our most interesting resident bird species..

Rake Leaves, Eat Pie.  Volunteers gathered in a cold Wildwood Park on Saturday, November 8th to rake leaves off the trails and otherwise perform minor maintenance.  They were rewarded with delicious homemade pies.

Last Lecture of the 2008 Summer Outdoor Classroom Lecture Series (August 28, 2008).  Despite the drizzling rain, about 26 people came to the Outdoor Classroom to hear John Copeland tell about the New River and its fish.  the most popular part of the presentation was passing around plastic bags containing live fish, captured that afternoon from the New River.  This presentation concluded the successful Outdoor Classroom Lecture series of 2008.  Join us next year at the Classroom, summer evenings at dusk, to learn more about the world around us.

Fifth Lecture of the 2008 Summer Outdoor Classroom Lecture Series (August 14, 2008).  John Peterson (at center in the photo) led a hands-on walk through Wildwood to learn some of the 40+ trees and shrubs that make the Park their home.  About 20 people heard his brief presentation on how to identify trees and shrubs, and then set off on the bikeway to identify all they could find.  Join us again August 28th for the last lecture of summer when John Copeland, assisted by live fish, teaches us about the New River and what lives in it.  For more information, and a complete schedule, see the announcement page.
Lecture: A Walk in the Woods 

Nodding Onion

 Fourth Lecture of the 2008 Summer Outdoor Classroom Lecture Series (July 24, 2008).  About 25 people came to the outdoor classroom on a beautiful summer eveniing to hear Gary Coté tell them about the Wildwood Wildflowers.  The lovely nodding onion was one of the featured beauties.  Join us again August 14th for John Peterson's hands-on workshop on identifying Wildwood's trees.  Take your key home after to discover what trees grow in your neighborhood.  For more information, and a complete schedule, see the announcement page.
Third Lecture of the 2008 Summer Outdoor Classroom Lecture Series (July 10, 2008).  Over 45 people descended upon the outdoor classroom to hear Will Orndorff of theVirginia Natural Heritage Program describe the biological value of the caves that lie beneath our feet.  Attendees learned about the bats, insects, and crustaceans that live some or all of their lives in caves.  Many are rare; some are known from fewer than 5 places in the entire world.  Join us again July 24th for Gary Coté's presentation on the Wildflowers of Wildwood.  For more information, and a complete schedule, see the announcement page. Lecture: The Undergroudn Realm

Second Lecture of the 2008 Summer Outdoor Classroom Lecture Series (June 26, 2008).  Chris Colby explained to a small, but interested, audience how to keep one's bicycle safe for riding in Wildwood or elsewhere.  Join us again July 10th for the next lecture when Will Orndorff will tell us what lies beneath our feet in the underground world of Wildwood and western Virginia.  Participants will earn a tour of Wildwood's own Adam's Cave in August.  For more information, and a complete schedule, see the announcement page.

Songs of the Night First Lecture of the 2008 Summer Outdoor Classroom Lecture Series (June 12, 2008).  The outdoor classroom was packed at dusk as Jerry Via of Virginia Tech gave a presentation that was both riveting and "ribetting."  Attendees saw pictures of and heard the voices of many of the insects, frogs, and birds that make summer evenings outdoors so noisy.  Join us again June 26th for the next lecture when Chris Colby will tell us how to keep our bikes working well so we can enjoy the Park on wheels.  For more information, and a complete schedule, see the announcement page.

April 29, 2008.  Wildwood Park lost one of its greatest champions and truest friends when Forrest "Fess" Green died today.  Farewell, Fess, you will be deeply missed.

April 19, 2008.  Treefest!  In honor of Earth Day and Arbor Day, Pathways for Radford planted native redbud trees along the bikeway south of Wildwood Park.  Following the planting, folks came to Wildwood for refreshments, entertainment, nature walks, and birdwatching.  The weather threatened rain, but many folks turned out for the tree planting, and the festivities in the Park.


Alpha Kappa Psi works in Park  (April 11, 2008):  Radford University's coed Professional Business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, adopted Wildwood Park last year.  Members put in several hours of hard work replacing vandalized signs and replenishing fine gravel on the trails.

August 16, 2007.  Sixth Outdoor Classroom Lecture.  Radford University biologist Bob Sheehy and an injured vulture entertained an audience of about thirty people while teaching them about vultures and how they live.  The injured vulture, which perched most of the time on Bob's arm, had a broken wing and would likely never fly again.  A sad fate indeed for a creature that's used to soaring.  The audience came away with a new appreciation of turkey and black vultures, important species in the local ecology.

August 2, 2007.  Fifth Outdoor Classroom Lecture.  About forty people showed up at the Outdoor Classroom to hear Radford High School biologist Frank Taylor discuss the snakes of Virginia and Wildwood Park.  While 30 species of snakes call Virginia their home, only three are venomous.  Frank made sure we knew how to tell a poisonous snake from a non-poisonous snake both before and after being bitten.  The audience was particularly captivated with the half dozen living snakes that came with Frank and helped give his presentation.  Many audience members in particular enjoyed handling the docile corn snake.  Don't miss the next lecture on August 16th!

July 12 and 26, 2007.  Third and Fourth Outdoor Classroom Lecture.  Despite threats of rain, Radford University biologist Karen Francl delighted an audience of about thirty people with her detailed information on bats on July 26th.  The audience was particularly captivated by the chance to touch and feel the bat specimens which she brought.  Another highlight was the visit of a real bat that swooped by to eavesdrop.  I was traveling on July 12th, but I heard that historian and author Fess Green captivated an audience of about 40 folks with his stories of The Wilderness Trail, where it came through Radford and the role it played in frontier settlements.   Fess is author of a book, Wilderness Road Odyssey, about his adventures cycling the Wilderness Road.

June 21, 2007.  Second Outdoor Classroom Lecture.  Clyde Kessler delighted a crowd of nearly 40 people with descriptions of the the large, beautifully colored damselflies and dragonflies that inhabit Wildwood and nearby areas.

June 7, 2007.  First Outdoor Classroom Lecture of the summer.  Jason Courter, a biologist at Christiansburg High School regaled a crowd of around 45 people with information on the Birds of Wildwood.  He showed slides and played calls from many of the most common of the over 100 birds reported in this little park.  Attendees were particularly delighted when he played a cardinal's call and a male and female cardinal couple came by to see who was calling.  Then later, the recorded call of a rufous-sided towhee brought a live towhee out to investigate.  It was a fun and informative evening.

Outdoor Classroom Lecture Series Returns! (Summer 2007):  Join us at twilight (7:30 pm) on Thursdays, starting June 7th for fascinating lectures on Wildwood's natural history and human history.  The lectures in summer 2006 proved popular, and we hope people will enjoy them as much this year.  The first lecture, on June 7th, will be about the Birds of Wildwood by Jason Courter, a biologist at Christiansburg High School.  More information is available on the Lecture Series Page, and a Full Schedule is also available.

Alpha Kappa Psi Adopts Park  (March, 2007):  Radford University's coed Professional Business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, has adopted Wildwood Park and will be working hard to keep it clean, and also to help Pathways with the necessary trail maintenance.  Members of the fraternity put in hours of sweat and labor on Saturday, March 30.  At left, several members work to maintain the steep trail above the bridge on the West slope of the park.  Below, Fess Green of Pathways (far right) and several proud members of Alpha Kappa Psi take a break from their hard work to pose for the photographer.

Last Outdoor Classroom Lecture of 2006  (August 24, 2006):  Frank Taylor, of Radford High School told the last audience of the season about the amazing life of monarch butterflies.  Butterflies hatching in the northern US and Canada may migrate to the precise same tree their great great grandparents left the previous spring.  Frank told us about the studies by his high school classes and how butterflies tagged by them here in Radford have been found thousands of miles away in their winter homes in Mexico.  Once again the children attending proved to be quite knowledgeable and were able to answer many of Frank's questions.   This was the last of our 6 lectures of 2006.  We hope to have another lecture series next summer, so check our webpage next spring.  If you want to be sure to hear about them when they start, contact us, and we will make a note to send you a message.  For a recap of this year's lecture series, see the original schedule.

Fifth Outdoor Classroom Lecture (August 17, 2006):  Ralph Berrier, of the Roanoke Times, described to us how Wildwood has been a special place for millennia, a place to travel, to live, to fight, to have fun, and to rest and reflect, for Native Americans, European settlers and modern Virginians alike.  Join us at the outdoor classroom Thursday, August 17 to hear the last Outdoor Classroom lecture of 2006 on the migration of monarch butterflies.  Remember that the August lectures start at 7:30.  See the brief schedule above and more information on the Outdoor Classroom Lecture Series page

Fourth Outdoor Classroom Lecture (August 10, 2006):  Clyde Kessler, from Virginia Tech get the audience fascinated with his stories and pictures of the birds, butterflies, moths, dragonflies and damselflies of Wildwood.  Some of the young folks in the audience proved themselves very knowledgeable in answering his questions.  Join us at the outdoor classroom Thursday, August 17 to hear about Wildwood's history.  Remember that the August lectures start at 7:30.  See the brief schedule above and more information on the Outdoor Classroom Lecture Series page

Third Outdoor Classroom Lecture (June 22, 2006):  Frank Taylor, a teacher at Radford high school, and Llyn Sharp of the New River Round Table presented an interesting talk about the New River and the New River watershed.  Wildwood is in the New River watershed and Connelly's Run helps provide the New River with clean water.  The Outdoor Classroom Lecture series is taking a break.  Join us again in August at the outdoor classroom.  Note that the August lectures start at 7:30.  See the brief schedule above and more information on the Outdoor Classroom Lecture Series page

Second Outdoor Classroom Lecture (June 15, 2006):  A fascinated crowd gathered once again at the outdoor classroom to hear Wilson Rankin, a local naturalist, and Jeff Brown, a teacher at Radford high school.  Wilson told us about bluebirds and swallows and efforts to encourage these beautiful creatures with nesting boxes at various places in Radford.  Jeff told us about the salamanders that live in this part of Virginia.  A highlight of his talk was when he passed around little terrariums of live amphibians for the crowd to examine.  He told us that salamanders are mostly nocturnal, hiding under rocks and leaves in the day; perhaps some were creeping out to listen to his lecture as we were gathered there.  Join us for other lectures at the outdoor classroom later in the summer.  See the brief schedule above and more information on the Outdoor Classroom Lecture Series page.

First Outdoor Classroom Lecture (June 8, 2006):    Seventy-eight people gathered at dusk at the outdoor classroom to hear Jerry Via, zoologist from Virginia Tech, present Songs of the Night.  The fascinated audience heard the voices of and saw pictures of crickets, katydids, and cicadas, frogs and owls.  Join us for other lectures later this summer.  See the brief schedule above and more information on the Outdoor Classroom Lecture Series page.


Species of the Week, (May 2006)A new feature of this webpage will explore the plants, animals and other organisms of Wildwood Park.  The inaugural species is an unusual flower in bloom right now that helps make Wildwood an unusual place: the prairie ragwort.  Click to go to this first Species of the Week.

Community Barnraising, (September 10, 2005)Many many volunteers from the community gathered to hold an old fashioned barn-raising at the outdoor classroom.  Workers erected roof trusses, covered up the roof, and shingled it in a single day of hard work and fellowship (with good food provided).  For pictures of the event check the Outdoor Classroom Page.

Work Proceeds on the Outdoor Classroom (August-September 2005):  Frank Taylor, Seth Lacy, other volunteers and Radford city crews have erected the posts that will hold up the classroom.  Then a dozen volunteers placed girders upon the poles.  Radford High School classes braced the girders and mulched the site. 

Radford's Fourth of July celebration (July 4, 2005): Events included a race on the Riverway, an early morning history hike, a butterfly hike, a hike along Connelly's Run, and a chance to enter Adam's Cave. Wildwood Park is becoming a vital educational and recreational asset for Radford, enjoyed by many in our community.

Groundbreaking ceremony for the outdoor classroom (July 1, 2005): A groundbreaking ceremony and a ceremony of thanks to our donors, George and Brad Harvey took place at the site of the future outdoor classroom on Friday, July 1st, 2005.  For pictures of the events see the Outdoor Classroom Groundbreaking.

Outdoor classroom (June 2005)Are you wondering what happened along the Riverway next to the butterfly meadow?  Who cleared all the brush and made that unsightly scar?  It won't be a scar for long.  The Outdoor Classroom is finally coming to Wildwood Park.  For more information check the Outdoor Classroom Planned Page.

75th Anniversary of Wildwood Park (July 2004):  Wildwood Park was first opened to the public 75 years ago, and 10,000 people attended the gala opening of the Park and the swimming pool.  To commemorate this anniversary a 2-day celebration of the park was held, July 9th and 10th.  Highlight of the celebration for many people was the guided tour of Adam's Cave, which is rarely open to the public for safety reasons.  Other events included tours of the park, a birding trip, and craft-making classes.

Grand Opening of the Riverway Bike Path (May 2004):  On Saturday, May 22nd 2004, the Riverway bike path was officially opened to public use.  Instead of a ribbon-cutting, the president of Pathways for Radford rode his bicycle through an official banner.  A crowd of people followed him, walking skating, bicycling, and, in one case, riding a unicycle to officially open the trail.  The current Riverway runs from Radford University's Dedmon Center to Bisset Park, ducks through a tunnel under Main Street, and passes through Wildwood.  This trail is phase one of the plans for bikeways throughout the city that Pathways for Radford and the city of Radford are developing.

Bike Path.  (October 2003):  With the completion of the tunnel under Main Street, work has started on the bike path that will run through the park and give Radford citizens and visitors another way to enjoy the park.  The construction work looks  ghastly, but this is only temporary.  Pathways for Radford, the Wildwood Committee, the city of Radford, and the contractors building the bike path are working hard to minimize the disruption to the park.

Tunnel under Main Street.  (October 2003):  The tunnel under Main Street, linking Bissett Park and Wildwood Park is now complete.  It is now possible to walk between the parks without crossing Main Street.  Trails to the tunnel are under construction, including the Bikeway long planned by Pathways for Radford.  When these are complete it will not only be possible, but also safe, easy and convenient to pass between the parks.

Entrance Area (August 2003): The Wildwood Committee and the Radford Beautification Commission are planning for improvements of the entrance area.  If you have ideas, suggestions or concern, please contact us.

Native Grass Planting Postponed (August 2003)On account of the unusually wet weather this summer we were unable to get the proposed native grass plot seeded during the appropriate time window for planting.  We will try again next year.

New Animals and Plants Discovered (late spring 2003)Spring has come and nearly gone, and summer will be settling in soon.  People out enjoying the park have reported mushrooms, wildflowers, trees, snakes, butterflies, moths, and dragonflies, not previously known to inhabit our park.  More wildflower photographs have also been posted.  Wildwood truly is a gem, a little bit of delicate and wild ecosystem in our city.  If you spot something not previously known to live in the park, please let us know.  If you take pictures in the park you would like to share, feel free to let us see them.  If they are pictures we can use we will post them on the website.

Bicycle Trail (spring 2003)Pathways for Radford has received grant funds for initial work on a network of bicycle trails to link all parts of the city.  The first phase of these paths, "The Riverway" will run along the New River from Radford University's Dedmon Center to Bissett Park, and will then pass under Main Street to enter Wildwood Park.  Construction has started on the tunnel that will take bicycles and pedestrians safely between Bissett and Wildwood under Main Street.  Please note:  The bike trail that will pass through Wildwood Park will be designed and constructed specifically to stand up to use by bicycles.  The trails currently in the Park or being built in the Park, except for the road down the middle, are not designed for bicycle use.  Although the trails may seem tough, bicycles will rapidly destroy them.  To protect the Park for everyone to enjoy please do not ride bicycles on any trails other than the paved access road and the bicycle trail that will be built.

East Side Trials (spring 2003)Pathways has received funding to have some of the more difficult parts of the trails done professionally.  By the end of June we expect to have a contractor lined up and a work schedule planned.  The remainder of the trails on that side will be--and are being-- constructed with volunteer labor.  Late this past spring nine brothers from Radford University's ACR fraternity helped put in a bridge over the west-side ravine.

Butterfly Meadows (spring 2003)The butterfly gardens are now butterfly meadows, a lower maintenance version, but still providing beauty, serenity, and wildlfe habitat.  For more information on the change see Butterfly Meadows.

Native Grass Experiment (spring 2003)  Most grasses you see growing wild in Wildwood, as well as in other city parks, vacant lots, and so on, are exotic invasives.  Most came over from Europe with hay carried to keep horses and cattle alive on long sea trips in the colonial days.  There were grasses here before Europeans came, however, and we are going to try to restore some of them.  A site near the south butterfly meadow has been chosen, and sprayed with herbicides.  Sometime in mid-June it will be burned to eliminate woody species, and then planted with native grass seeds.  Jeff Armistead of Radford University's Selu Conservancy is helping with this project.

Clearing Around the South Butterfly Garden (spring 2003)  Volunteers from Pathways and from the community cleared trees and brush from the area just south of the South Butterfly Garden on two days this winter.  This was done to open the area up, providing a meadow habitat.  Meadows are aesthetically pleasing, provide habitat for wildlife, and increase the habitat diversity of the park.  Most of the trees removed were the noxious invasive alien, Tree of Heaven.  A large white poplar, although not native, was left to provide variety and bird habitat, and because it's attractive.

Trails Work Day  Fess Green led a trails workday on the west side of the park on April 27, 2002.   Trails here are mostly being built with volunteer labor.  RU's Alpha Chi Rho fraternity provide most of the help, logging many person-hours of hard work.  We owe them much thanks.

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Trails Dedication  Dedication of the trails on the west side of the park took place on April 6, 2002.  Chuck Kugler cut the official vine, marking the official opening of the trails.  A Wildwood Park commemorative cake was shared and a few speeches were made.  Eggs were floated in Connelly's Run; a yarn scavenger hunt took place; and everyone had a good time.  Many folks hiked the new, beautiful trails amid the spring flowers. 

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Cutting the vine.

RU Service Learning Workdays.  Students from Radford University's Service Learning program worked in the park, picking up litter, spreading mulch, and building trails on two different Saturdays in October 2001Scenes from one of the work days were photographed for posterity.

June 2001 - September 2001  Expected trail construction.

25 June 2001  Groundbreaking Ceremony for the construction of trails on the West Side of Connolly's Run.  See Press Release.

17 May 2001  Bids for constructing phase one trails on the west side of Conolly's Run have been received by the city and considered by both the Wildwood Committee and Pathways.  A recommendation will be made to the City Council.  If they accept the recommendation construction can begin ...

March 2001  Volunteer workday  in the park, 10 am - 2 pm.   We will be cleaning up and landscaping the entranceway to make the park more inviting to the people of Radford.  Anyone interested in helping is invited to come.   Contact us for more information.

September 2000  Work has started on the butterfly garden!   See "Studies" in "Today" for more information.

August 2000  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Enviro Education Program has announced they would also contribute funding to the Butterfly Garden.  With funding from both sources planning is progressing on the garden.   Work will begin in September 2000.

July 2000 The Virginia Environmental Endowment announced they would fund a joint grant proposal by Pathways, the city of Radford, and Radford University.   This grant will provide $4150 to develop a butterfly garden in the park.  This garden will provide an area of beauty within the park, educate the public about butterflies, and allow Radford University students, Radford High School students, and the general public to participate in a research project in conservation biology.  A proposal to the Environmental Protection Agency for further support of this project was also made; we are still waiting to hear from them.  See "Studies" in "Today" for more information.

January 24, 2000 at 7:30 in City Council Chambers 619 2nd Street. Presentation of final Wildwood Conceptual Plan and request for support of a grant proposal to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation for trail construction in the park.

January 10, 2000 - City council agreed to support a proposal to Virginia Department of Transportation that would construct Phase 2 of the Radford bikeway/walkway nework.

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