Additional program details will be provided as dates draw closer, so please check back for final changes and details that may be of importance.


RESERVATIONS: To assist in the logistical planning for each event, we request that you RSVP to FWC General Manager, Sheila Bach, by email (naturesheila@gmail.com) or by phone (571) 271-6267 or to the alternate person/email indicated in the event write-up.

DIRECTIONS: The FWC is in a secluded forest setting on the Blue Ridge that is reached via an unpaved, winding road over the last portion of the route. If you have not visited the FWC before, we strongly recommend that you consult our DIRECTIONS PAGE before heading out to visit and/or use the Waze app on your smart phone to locate the Niles Cabin and to allow at least 20 minutes extra time to your travel time to provide yourself a time cushion for contingencies.

PROGRAM COST: Except where noted, there is no set cost for a program BUT we do ask that you make a donation to the FWC for each program commensurate with the enjoyment you received from the program. FWC is entirely dependent on donations for meeting its operating expenses, and your donations help keep the lights on and programs such as the ones you enjoyed, being offered in the future. When making an online donation via our website’s Support Page, please use the notes feature to indicate the program or purpose for which you are making the donation to help us tie your donation to a particular program reservation.

MEALS: Home cooked meals may be available at an additional cost of $10 IF you indicate you would like a meal when making your reservation. Brown Bag lunches are always acceptable, and we ask that you make sure to take any beverage containers that you brought, away with you to recycle at home.

The following are the FWC-sponsored programs that are currently scheduled for 2021. As the pandemic situation permits, we will hopefully return to offering more in-person programs while following state, Federal and CDC guidelines regarding masks, social distancing, and recommended mitigation protocols. While we expect it will be some time before pre-COVID visitation protocols and face-to-face programs can resume, please consider visiting the Friends Center to avail yourself of the beauty and grace of Nature that our trails and woods have in abundance and breathe in the freshness and vitality of what we hope will be a happier New Year for us allIf coming out for a hike, please call ahead to let Sheila Bach know that you will be coming and about when you expect to arrive at the Niles Cabin.


Date: Saturday, January 9, 2021

Time: 4 PM EST

RSVP: svasterias@gmail.com for zoom link

 Sustainability is often sought after, but what does it mean to be sustainable? Is it a state or a process? How can you work toward it? Can you measure your efforts or progress? How does sustainability apply to buildings or organizations?

These questions will be explored by the Benson family in the context of their lives as climate activists and with the backdrop of Friends Wilderness Center.

 The Benson family are: Kimberly, Carl, Kallan (16), & Reece (15) are long-time climate activists working at the local, state, national, & international levels. Kimberly also serves on the board of FWC.

 Please RSVP to receive access information for this virtual event.

 FWC programs are free, but participants who are able are encouraged to donate to support the work of the center. $10/person is suggested, but any amount is welcome and donations are not required. We never want money to be an impediment to your participation. 


EVENT: “What Sustains Us:  A guided Meditation on the Ground of Joy"

Date: Saturday, February 13, 2021

Time: 10 AM until Noon EST

 Friends Wilderness Center is inviting you to “What Sustains Us:  A guided Meditation on the Ground of Joy" on Saturday, February 13 from 10:00am until noon.  This meditation will involve reflections that arise from the desire to ground ourselves in nature and the divine.  It will be led by Liz Huntington, a RYT-500 hour Yoga Teacher, certified C-IAYT Yoga Therapist and iRest Level 1 Meditation Teacher.  Her focus is working with individuals and small groups to develop and refine an integrated personal practice of posture, breath work and meditation.  The program will be offered on zoom.  To register, please email:  dfsud@comcast.net and you will receive the zoom link.

Friends Wilderness Center programs are offered monthly to all who are interested.  If you are able, we ask that you consider a donation to the Center which can be made by visiting our website at:  www.friendswilderness.org.  


EVENT: Shenandoah Salamander Shuffle

Date: Saturday, March 20, 2021

Time: 10 AM until 1 PM EST

RSVP: Kimberly Benson at email svasterias@gmail.com

Donations are appreciated. Suggested levels are $10/person or $25/families.

 Background: ‘Salamander’ is a composite word derived from the Persian words for ‘fire' and ‘within'. A group of salamanders is called a congress.’ The Americas are quite rich in salamanders, having more than all the rest of the world combined. Virginia has approximately 10% (55) of the world's species with many of these species being found in the cool, moist areas of the Blue Ridge (which may not be cool and moist for much longer due to changes in local climate conditions).

The Appalachian Region & Blue Ridge Mountains are the global hot spot for salamanders, home to more species than anywhere else in the world. The cool, moist conditions found on the forest floor & rocky streams of this ancient mountain range provide ideal habitat for salamanders, with some species found nowhere else on Earth. Some species are found on only a few mountain peaks in the region. Check out this short movie from the Smithsonian which is short, wonderfully photographed and very informative: https://vimeo.com/26202702. If you have never given a second thought to these remarkable little creatures, you will be pleasantly amazed by this video and given more than adequate incentive to join us for this wonderful program. Here are two useful websites where you can learn more about the salamanders found near the Friends Wilderness Center:  website #1 that will introduce you to many of the salamanders in the Blue Ridge and another website #2 where you can download a guide to salamanders of West Virginia. 

 Program: This will be a family friendly hike led by Kimberly Benson, a naturalist and outdoor educator with the assistance of her family. They will lead you through the Blue Ridge forests at the Friends Center in search of salamanders. Kimberly will discuss the species found in the area, show you’re their favored habitats, talk about global & local threats, & explain how to ethically search for salamanders without disturbing or harming them as you enjoy nature. Kimberly will also retrieve traps that have been deployed in salamander habitat & hopefully have some local specimens for the group to examine and identify.

This will be an easy hike over moderately, uneven terrain with some elevation changes. Stops will be frequent & easy opportunities will be available to shorten the hike. Please bring your own snacks & beverages and take all bottles and trash with you when you depart. All activities will be outdoors, maintaining social distance. Participants (over age 3) are required to wear masks. Restroom facilities will be available at the Niles Cabin.

 If you have not visited the FWC before, please consult our DIRECTIONS PAGE and/or use the Waze app on your smart phone to locate the Niles Cabin.



ADDITIONAL EVENTS: Additional programs will be added to our schedule as they are planned and scheduled. We normally schedule our programs on the 2nd Saturday of each month. Please check back to see what programs are added and for updated information on ones already scheduled.

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