Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
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Site MSW05: Booker T. Washington Monument National Park
Elevation: 973 ft. Booker T. Washington was born a slave on this tobacco farm, generously referred to on occasion as a plantation. He lived here until he was nine years old when he was freed and moved with his mother to be with his stepfather in West Virginia. He later went on to become a great, early civil rights leader who stressed the importance of education. He is also responsible for the founding of the prestigious Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama. The National Monument is maintained as a historical example of a tobacco farm with numerous historical buildings and artifacts supported by an integrated interpretive program to explain their uses. These facilities provide easy access to fields and woodland and their associated wildlife. Birds to be seen in the area include wild turkey, mourning dove, red-bellied and downy woodpeckers, northern flicker, eastern wood-pewee, eastern phoebe, eastern bluebird, gray catbird, brown thrasher, cedar waxwing, white-eyed and red-eyed vireos, indigo bunting, chipping and song sparrows, and eastern meadowlark. Less common species occurring in the area include prairie warbler, blue grosbeak and orchard oriole, while during migration a variety of warblers, vireos and tanagers could occur. The numerous plantings around the historical buildings attract a variety of butterflies including numerous swallowtails, pearl crescent and a multitude of skippers. The small stream that passes through the property is good for damselflies such as ebony jewelwing.
From Franklin County Recreation Park, return 2.2 miles west on Rt. 619 to US 220. Turn right and return north to Rocky Mount and the intersection of SR 40 and US 220. Go east on SR 40 for 0.9 miles to SR 122 North. Turn left and continue 12.7 miles to park on the right.