Volunteers are always needed to serve on the Nature Camp Foundation Board.  Support the Foundation’s continuing legacy with the gift of your time and skills.

Find out more or contact the Board Development Committee


The Foundation has equal need of folks to serve on the Communications Committee, Development Committee, Board Development Committee, and Volunteer Committee.

Find out more or contact the Board Development Committee


Service weekends are among the most enjoyable, hands-on way of giving back to Nature Camp. They are scheduled twice a year, on the third weekend of May and the third weekend of September. All volunteers are welcome regardless of age, skill, or length of stay. There are no fees for attending, food is provided, and the evenings are marked with music and songs accompanied by the banjos, guitars, and fiddles brought by attendees each weekend.

Between 50 and 70 enthusiasts usually show up each weekend. Most spend both nights, camping or sleeping in the bunkhouses; some come just for a day as their schedules allow. Teams are organized for various work projects, ranging from simple to complex, from light to heavy, including those suitable for amateurs and others requiring special skills. This could mean repairing screens and shutter hinges, pulling weeds and picking up roadside trash, and cleaning out drainage ditches. Or it could mean re-shingling building roofs, installing new flooring and joists, making carpentry repairs and upgrading plumbing and electrical fixtures.

The projects vary with each weekend as needs are identified. The labor costs saved are very significant, amounting to many tens of thousands of dollars over the years. The camaraderie developed is incalculable.

If you are interested in coming to a service weekend or want to learn more, please contact Theta Miller (

Read summaries of past service weekends

Each time you attend a Service Weekend, you will be asked to register online in advance.  This aids in our planning for accommodating everyone at meals – assuring we have enough food and also that we meet any dietary restrictions you may have – as well as providing for housing and camping needs.  We also require everyone to fill out our waiver which is now on the SmartWaiver platform. These waivers are considered a best practice and many service organizations use them. We believe it prudent for us to have these waivers on record. We know you all love Camp and wouldn’t want anything to happen to it, so we are taking steps to ensure Camp is protected.  Therefore, in order to maintain the safety and well-being of all we are requiring that any minors (under the age of 18) who come to our special events be accompanied and supervised by an adult that can legally sign the NCF Waiver on behalf of the minor.

Nature Camp –  Release and Waiver

Policy on Unaccompanied Minors at Nature Camp during events

When to Arrive:
Service Weekend officially runs from Friday (the first meal offered is
Friday dinner) through Sunday afternoon (the last meal offered is Sunday
lunch). If you can’t come for the full time, we welcome you for the time
you have to offer!

Men and women are accommodated in separate rustic, wood frame bunkhouses. The bunkhouses are equipped with metal bunk beds (twin size) with foam rubber mattresses. Lower bunks are reserved for those who requested them. The bunkhouses have screened windows, ceiling fans, and a limited number of electrical outlets, but no air conditioning.

Men’s and Women’s bathhouses (“T-houses”) are located a short distance from each bunkhouse. Each T-house has hot water, four sinks, four shower stalls, and flush toilets. Meals are held in the central meeting area and dining hall known as the Lillian Schilling Building (the LS). Most seating in the LS is on benches at picnic tables but folding chairs are also available. For those who would prefer to sleep outdoors, there are areas suitable for tents. Several hotels are located within a short drive of Nature Camp.

What to bring:
Please note that Nature Camp is located in a narrow mountain valley. It is not uncommon to  experience highs in the upper 80s and lows in the 50s during Service Weekends.

  • Tools to use or share. Please put your name on any tools you are willing to share so that they will be sure to find their way home.
  • Clothing that you are willing to get painted or dirty – long sleeves and long pants to help protect you from insects and irritating plants.
  • Sturdy work shoes to protect your feet from construction debris, sharp tools, rocks and potential snakes.
  • Water bottle
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen / hat
  • Gloves
  • Hearing and eye protection if you have it
  • Bathing suit if you are bold enough to get into the creek in May!
  • Mattress pad or cover (the mattresses at Nature Camp are slick)
  • Sleeping bag or sheets (mattresses measure 74 x30”)
  • Pillow
  • Towel
  • Toiletry articles
  • Musical Instruments! for fun in the evening.

Meals are offered Friday dinner through Sunday lunch. Mammal-free, Vegetarian and Vegan options are routinely provided, and every attempt will be made to accommodate other dietary restrictions. The registration form has a section for you to identify any dietary preferences and the meals which you expect to be present for.


Hike days organized by the NCF take place periodically at Nature Camp. A day of hiking in the area around the camp is capped off with a family-style dinner in the Lillian Schilling building. These fund raising hikes request a small donation. Those aged 10 and under are free with a parent.

Hike days traditionally take place once a year in October.

Hike days begin at 10:00 a.m. and run through the evening, RAIN OR SHINE. If the weather is really unfriendly, call to be sure we’re still going hiking: 540.377.2491.

To participate, you will need a signed Release and Waiver document:

Nature Camp –  Release and Waiver

Policy on Unaccompanied Minors at Nature Camp during events

See all the details on Fall Hike Day here >


Speaking up for Nature Camp and the NCF is easy with brochures for the Nature Camp Foundation (PDF) and Nature Camp (PDF).

If we have your contact information, you may be contacted about other opportunities to promote Nature Camp as they arise, such as at local Earth Day events in your area. Use the Update your Profile” link in the header or go here to make sure we have your current information.


Information and registration for Adult Session at Nature Camp.

In addition to Adult Session campers who want to come just to experience the fun, fellowship, and learning, we welcome proposals from Camp alumni and friends who would like to teach during Adult Session. Anyone with a great idea for a class can contact Flip Coulling.


Nature Camp welcomes suggestions for evening program speakers and volunteers to present programs during our summer sessions, especially on topics of natural history, life and physical sciences, sustainability and other environmental issues, and eco-travel. We are also always on the lookout for instrumentalists and singers to provide programs of traditional, acoustic string-band music. Nature Camp has modest funds to offer stipends to speakers, but we are happy to cover travel expenses, to feed guests dinner beforehand, and to provide overnight accommodations if necessary. Please direct any suggestions or inquiries to Director of Education Nina Anderson at


Please note that ALL donations to the history project MUST be accompanied by a Nature Camp History Project Donation Form. Donations that are not accompanied by a form cannot be included in the Nature Camp History Collection.

Nature Camp History Project Donation Form (PDF)

Find out more about the Nature Camp History Project

What kinds of things can I donate?

What kinds of things can I donate to the Nature Camp History Project?

We need items that will help us document the history of Nature Camp from its inception in 1942 to the present. We’re interested in correspondence of all kinds, photographs, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks (especially those that are labeled and dated), old reports from classes at Camp, video recordings, audio recordings—anything that helps people understand Nature Camp and its culture and mission.

Why do I need to fill out a donation form?

First, your signature on this form ensures that we have the legal right to submit all donated items to our Nature Camp History Collection, which is housed in University of Virginia’s Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections.  Second, having some background on the donated items helps us organize and cross-reference items appropriately, making them easier for interested folks to find.

If I have ten items to donate, how many forms do I need to fill out?

Please complete one for each individual item or set of items. For example, if you’re donating a sleeve of photographs from your second session major class and a newspaper clipping please fill out one sheet for the set of photos and a separate one for the newspaper clipping.

Where do I send my donations?

Send them to Nancy Lowry: 3475 Red Hill School Road, North Garden VA, 22959

What will happen to items that I donate? Will I be able to get my donations back in the future?

Donated items will become the legal property of the Nature Camp History Collection in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections at the University of Virginia. Donations will not be returned.

Why are these items being placed in the Small Special Collections at the University of Virginia?

UVA has the staffing to make the collection widely available, and they also have the kind of climate-controlled environment that will ensure the safety and preservation of the donated items. We don’t have that kind of facility at Camp.

Can I see/access what I have donated after it has been placed in the Nature Camp History Collection?

Yes. Anyone who wants to visit the collection will be able to do so during the operating hours of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections at UVA. We hope that, in the future, these items will also be made available in digital form.

What if I have a question that isn’t answered on this list?

Contact either Katie Hoffman ( or Nancy Lowry ( or by phone at 434-296-4695).