Virginia State Parks

The Garden Club of Virginia is pleased to announce grants to Virginia State Parks projects and programs listed below.

2019 Total $101,091

Bear Creek - Pollinator meadow and landscaping

Belle Isle - Phase 3 Belle Isle Manor and Bel Air House landscaping Garden Club of the Northern Neck

Chippokes Plantation – Visitor Center Exhibit Updates

Claytor Lake - Native Landscaping

Douthat - Dark Sky Park

Natural Bridge - Visitor Center Base Camp Exhibits Blue Ridge Garden Club

Pocahontas - Civilian Conservation Corps Work Cabin Week

Shenandoah River - Visitor Center Landscaping The Garden Club of Warren County

Sky Meadows - Phase 3 Trail System Fauquier and Loudoun Garden Club

Staunton River Battlefield - Mulberry Hill landscaping

York River - Landscaping and turtle habitat The Hampton Roads Garden Club, The Huntington Garden Club and The Williamsburg Garden Club

Youth Conservation Corps - Supplies


2018 Total $114,145

Belle Isle – phase two of improvements to the landscape at the Belle Isle mansion and enhancing learning panels in Visitor’s Center The Garden Club of the Northern Neck

Caledon – drinking fountain The Rappahannock Valley Garden Club

Holliday Lake – underwater lighting Hillside Garden Club and The Lynchburg Garden Club

Hungry Mother – Children’s Discovery area

James River – native plant and pollinator garden Rivanna Garden Club

Lake Anna – native plant landscaping around new cabins The Rappahannock Valley Garden Club

Natural Bridge – continued improvements to Interactive Classroom The Blue Ridge Garden Club

Pocahontas – shoreline restoration The James River Garden Club

Shenandoah River – Pollinator Meadow with bee habitat The Garden Club of Warren County

Sky Meadows – Children’s Discovery Area and trails Fauquier and Loudoun Garden Club

Westmoreland – creating a Discovery center in the former Visitor’s Center The Garden Club of the Northern Neck

York River – landscaping improvements in three gardens The Hampton Roads Garden Club, The Huntington Garden Club and The Williamsburg Garden Club

Youth Conservation Corps – to help with purchase of materials 

2017 Total $129,417

Belle Isle - Improving landscaping around historic Belle Isle mansion The Garden Club of the Northern Neck

Fairy Stone - Pollinator waystation The Martinsville Garden Club, The Garden Study Club, The Garden Club of Danville

Leesylvania - Wildflower planting, reducing invasives and eliminating mowing

Mason Neck - New Visitor Center entry; hardscaping and landscaping of pollinator garden The Hunting Creek Garden Club, The Garden Club of Fairfax, The Garden Club of Alexandria​​

Middle Peninsula - Supplies for educational programming​ The Garden Club of Gloucester

Natural Bridge - Outfitting a classroom for educational programming in Visitor Center

Pocahontas - Converting a Heritage Center to a Discovery Center

Sky Meadows - Track Trails and Discovery area Fauquier and Loudoun Garden Club

Smith Mountain Lake - Supplies for educational programming in wet lab The Roanoke Valley Garden Club, Mill Mountain Garden Club

Staunton River – beautification of grounds surrounding Civilian Conservation Corps guest cabins, The Garden Club of Danville

Youth Conservation Corps - Supplies for residential summer program in 17 parks 

2016 Total $20,000

Mason Neck - Visitor's Center improvements


2017 Summer News and Programs

Village News Online

Gloucester-Mathews Gazette-Journal Op Ed

Gloucester-Mathews Gazette-Journal Middle Peninsula

Martinsville Bulletin Fairy Stone


Download the State Parks Grant Application Information


The Garden Club of Virginia (formed in 1920) established its first committee; the Conservation and Beautification Committee. The organization has been working for the protection of natural resources within the commonwealth for nearly a century. The GCV has been involved with parks since the 1920's. In 1926, the Virginia Legislature created the State Commission on Conservation and Development. For the first time, the state had a single agency responsible for managing the conservation of its natural resources. Initially, the commission's efforts with regard to parks centered around acquiring lands for Shenandoah National Park, the first large national park in the east. By 1929, as acquisitions for Shenandoah were nearing completion, things began to change. The value of land held for public recreation and preservation of habitat for native animals and plants garnered public attention.

On Dec. 17, 1929, representatives of the Virginia Academy of Science, the Garden Club of Virginia and the Izaak Walton League held a meeting in Richmond to discuss the need for state parks. This meeting resulted in each organization passing a resolution in support of creating state parks and presenting those resolutions to Governor-Elect John Garland Pollard.

The Present

GCV will work directly with the Department of Conservation and Recreation and Virginia State Parks to accomplish our Centennial Project. Our goal is to fund projects that our clubs and parks coordinate together and that fall within our mission and the state parks mission: conservation, beautification, horticulture, preservation and/or education. The state parks have existing programs and initiatives such as Youth Conservation Corps, "Track Trails," and "Discovery Areas" that also could be of interest.

Funds from Historic Garden Week will fund our gift of $500,000 over five years. Funds will be available for use in parks all over the state for projects which they and local clubs propose. Notes: Opportunities for projects are not limited to interactive exhibits as originally planned.

Director of Conservation and Recreation, Clyde E. Cristman stated "I am very excited about the opportunity for us to do great things, linking the interests of the Garden Club of Virginia with the many needs we have in State Parks and Natural Area Preserves."

Application Process

Deadline for applications is December 1. Applications can be submitted throughout the fiscal year (July 1 – June 30), but final decisions are announced by the end of January. The Parks Grant Committee strongly encourages telephone inquiries (804) 643-4137 and, when possible, meetings or site visits will be scheduled. Proposals submitted without contacting the GCV Executive Director before the grant deadlines will not receive priority consideration. Any questions or concerns about your grant proposal or the process should be directed to the Executive Director.

How your proposal is evaluated.

The Executive Director reviews all proposals to determine eligibility under the Centennial Project guidelines, and to ensure that proposals are complete. In some cases, the Executive Director may request additional information, but is not obligated to do so. The Parks Grants Committee meets early January and makes funding recommendations as a group. Applicants are notified promptly following final approval by the Board of Directors at the Board's January meeting.

Projects submitted by clubs will be coordinated with the park manager. The park managers will follow protocol within the parks system set by DCR and the State Parks Director. This meaningful gift is now available to all parks and natural areas throughout the entire state. We look forward with great anticipation to working directly with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Director of State Parks and managers of our state parks.

Numbers and Fun Facts:

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation manages a diversity of lands:

  • 36 state parks
  • 5 undeveloped parks
  • 62 natural areas
  • More than 120,000 total acres, mostly in state parks
  • More than 600 miles of trails
  • 262 cabins (located at Bear Creek Lake, Belle Isle, Chippokes Plantation, Claytor Lake, Douthat, Fairy Stone, First Landing, Hungry Mother, James River, Lake Anna, Natural Tunnel, Occoneechee, Shenandoah River, Smith Mountain Lake, Southwest Virginia Museum, Staunton River, Twin Lakes, Westmoreland)
  • 22 five and six-bedroom cabins (Bear Creek, Belle Isle, Claytor Lake, Douthat, Fairy Stone, Hungry Mother, James River, Kiptopeke, Natural Tunnel, Occoneechee, Shenandoah River, Westmoreland)
  • 1,673 campsites in 26 different parks
  • 91 picnic shelters
  • 22 visitor centers
  • 11 swimming beaches
  • 5 swimming pools
  • 2 restaurants; 19 snack bars

State park attendance

  • 10,022,698 (2016)