Education Page

Friday, October 10, 2014

Boxerwood Sponsors Albers Exhibit at Staniar Gallery in October

Boxerwood Education Association (BEA) is sponsoring an exhibition of work by abstract artist Josef Albers from October 8 through November 5 in the Staniar Gallery at Washington and Lee University. Formulation : Articulation is a suite of 127 silkscreen prints containing images that display the optical possibilities of color and design.

Dr. Elliott King, Professor of Art History at W&L, will present an exhibit lecture in the Concert Hall at Wilson Hall on October 22 at 5:30 PM, with a catered reception to follow. The Albers collection will be studied by students in the Art Department while it is on exhibit in the Staniar Gallery, and may be viewed by the public during gallery hours.

Josef Albers (1888 -1976) was a painter, poet, sculpture, art theorist and educator who introduced a generation of American artists to European modernist concepts. He taught at Bauhaus in German, Black Mountain College in North Carolina, and Yale University in Connecticut. Among his most successful students were Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Eva Hesse, and John Chamberlain. Through his experimentation with color and shape, Albers produced an alternative to abstract expressionism, inspiring the geometric abstraction, color field painting and op art movements.

“Formulation: Articulation” is a collection of 127 silkscreens printed on 66 plates containing one, two, or four images, along with annotations by the artist. It took Albers, while in his eighties, two years of concentrated work to create the prints for the suite. The collection is not a retrospective of past works, although the images represent a compilation of over four decades of the artist’s research, including his iconic Homage to the Square series.

Since its release in 1972, the complete suite has been rarely shown in its entirety, with most museums and galleries only displaying selected works from the suite. Staniar Gallery Director Clover Archer affirms that “Exhibition of the complete suite will give our art students a unique opportunity to study how Albers’ color, perception and abstraction have influenced modern art.”

Sponsorship of the exhibition by Boxerwood, a local nature center with an environmental education mission, might raise some eyebrows, but Board member Joe Dinardo, who has loaned the Albers suite, sees an explicit connection.

“Art has been part of Boxerwood tradition from the beginning,” notes Dinardo, “as Dr. Robert Munger acquired sculpture by local artists for what was then his private garden.” Since becoming an education nonprofit, Boxerwood has opened the woodland garden to the public and continues to offer it as a venue to inspire creativity as expressed through the arts.  Dinardo maintains that “creativity comes from awareness of our surroundings, the same awareness that inspires us to care for our surroundings, especially the natural world. This year, as Boxerwood celebrate our 15th year as a community nature center, one of our goals is to step up that aspect of our mission – merging creativity and art with the environment.”

The Albers suite belongs to the private collection of Dinardo and his wife, Joan. Dinardo, a retired toxicologist, now divides his time between various nonprofit endeavors, including revitalizing the arts at Boxerwood. He will be helping to stage Boxerwood’s Earth Day Art Festival this April 19, and is developing plans to establish a sculpture garden on the nature center’s 15 acre campus over the next five years.

Information about the Boxerwood Education Association and Boxerwood Nature Center & Woodland Garden is available at and

Staniar Gallery is located on the second floor of Wilson Hall, in Washington and Lee University’s Lenfest Center for the Arts. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. For more information, please call 540-458-8861.

Formulation : Articulation (Portfolio 2, Folder 3), 1972, Silkscreen print (Image credit: Special Collections & Archives, Z. Smith Reynolds Library, Wake Forest University)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Initial Results of the First BioBlitz

The first BioBlitz was held at Boxerwood on Saturday October 8th.  Even though it was a day with cool temperatures, the following numbers of species were observed by participants.

Species Tally

Birds 42
Bugs 28
Herps 7
Native Plants 40
Mammals 2
Native Trees 21

Friday, October 3, 2014

Updated Changes to BioBlitz Schedule

Bioblitz schedule update:
We had some inevitable changes…
Native PLANTS (not trees) for Peggy Dyson-Cobb at 10 a.m. (new focus)
Native TREES by Karen Stanley 3 – 4 pm. (new)
REPTILES/AMPH (Herps) by Dr. Moosman 10 – 11 a.m. (time change)
Mammals (Gordon) 11 – 12 (time change) 

Schedule For Boxerwood BioBlitz


   BioBlitz   8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Growing in popularity across the U.S., BioBlitzes are free, public events in which members of the public help experts identify and tally the total number of living species found in a specific area within a given timeframe.

Volunteers of any age and background may join any of the  "hunts."  The event is free and no preregistration is required. There will be one-hour forays for birds, native plants and trees, mammals, herps (reptiles/amphibians), bugs, and fungi, both in the morning and afternoon. Guest naturalists will lead each foray with volunteers as helpers. The event will occur rain or shine. 

8:00 - 10a.m. Foray: Birds (led by Kerry Kilday, Rockbridge Bird Club) (Walks will be held on the first Saturday of each month and conducted by the Rockbridge Bird Club. See the birds we found in September on our blog.)

10 a.m - 11 a.m. Foray #1: Native Trees (led by Peggy Dyson-Cobb, Native Plant Society); 

Foray #2: Bugs (led by Amanda Rose Newton, 4-H);  Mammals (led by Deb Gordon, Rockbridge Master Naturalists)

11 a.m. - 12 p.m.  Foray #1 Reptiles/Amphibians (led by Dr. Paul Moosman, VMI);

Foray #2 Native Trees (led by Faith Vosburgh, Boxerwood)
12 p.m. - 1 p.m. Siesta

1 p.m. - 2 p.m.: Foray #1: Fungus (led by Betty Besal and Diane Holsinger); 

Foray #2: Bugs (led by Amanda Rose Newton, 4-H)
2 p.m. - 3 p.m.: Foray #1: Native Trees (led by Betty Besal):

Foray #2: Bugs (led by Amanda Rose Newton):

Foray #3: Mammals (led by Deb Gordon, Rockbridge Master Naturalists)

3 p.m. - 4  p.m: Foray #1: Fungi (led by Betty Besal and Diane Holsinger);

Foray #2: Reptiles/Amphibians (led by Dr. Dave Marsh, WLU), 

4 p.m. - 5 p.m: Foray: Birds (led by Wendy Richards, Rockbridge Bird Club)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

BioBlitz Coming October 4 at Boxerwood

Boxerwood Hosts Region’s First BioBlitz This Saturday

Boxerwood will be site of Rockbridge County’s first BioBlitz, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 4, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the event also coincides with Boxerwood’s annual plant sale in the afternoon. Growing in popularity across the U.S., BioBlitzes are free, public events in which members of the public help experts identify and tally the total number of living species found in a specific area within a given timeframe.

“Some BioBlitzes go for 24 hours and involve hundreds of people—it’s crazy!” explained Amanda Rose Newton, the Rockbridge 4-H agent  who is partnering with Boxerwood and Rockbridge Master  Naturalists to organize the event.  The local version won’t be quite so ambitious, but the task is still daunting.  “Our woodland garden is only about fifteen acres,” explained Elise Sheffield, Boxerwood Education Director, “but it has many micro-environments that provide habitat for a wide range of creatures.  This will be a great way to get a better sense of who calls Boxerwood home.”

According to Sheffield, expert naturalists will be on hand to help with the identification.  “Basically, the day is made up of a number of small group forays, each led by the volunteer expert.  Each group will go out for an hour, searching for a particular kind of living thing, like mammals, reptiles, fungi or bugs.”  Together these groups will tally their findings, which organizers will compile into an even larger day-long inventory. “This will be a baseline for us,” explains Sheffield, noting Boxerwood hopes to make the BioBlitz an annual event.  “Boxerwood’s mission is to teach people how to care for the earth and its creatures” she explained, “and we see this event as a fun, but important, part of that work.”

Volunteers of any age and background may join any of the hunts. “Basically we need eyes and ears,” said Newton, herself a trained entomologist. “Our experts don’t want to go into the field alone: this is a team sport!”  The event is free and no preregistration is required. “Come for an hour or stay for the day—the length of your BioBlitzing is up to you,” said Newton.  According to Newton, there will be one-hour forays for birds, plants, mammals, herps (reptiles/amphibians), bugs, fungi, and native trees both in the morning and afternoon.

For early risers, the BioBlitz will kick off at 8 a.m. with an extended birding session, led by the Rockbridge Bird Club.  Simultaneous with the BioBlitz will be the annual Boxerwood Plant Sale, from 1 pm to 4 p.m.  Final events of the day will conclude by 5:00 p.m.  The event will occur rain or shine.  A complete schedule of the forays is found on the Boxerwood website