Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
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Site PGS02: Green Springs National Historic District - Brackett's Farm
Notice: Due to ongoing problems with site security Brackett's Farm is temporarily closed to public visitation. Brackett's Farm is working to address these issues and we will update this site listing as soon as more information becomes available.
Green Springs National Historic District has been preserved by the National Park Service to exhibit outstanding historic rural architecture and sustainable farming methods used by families who have worked the land for generations. The Green Springs area lies in a 14,000-acre volcanic depression which, due to its extremely fertile soil, has supported farmers for over 250 years. Bracketts Farm lies in the heart of the Green Springs National Historic District. Run by the Elisabeth Aiken Nolting Charitable Foundation, the goal is to encourage sustainable and responsible stewardshhip of land in a deep historical tradition. The farm serves as a focus for the Green Springs National Historic District and is a great place to start exploring the area. Bracketts Farm also serves as a gateway to other areas within the district and has information about access. The district is mostly comprised of large family farms, their fields and intermitent woodlots and ponds. The diverse habitats support a wonderful array of wildlife and can provide days of entertainment for the adventurous observer. Species to search for include ruffed grouse, especially in the spring when the males can be heard drumming their wings, as well as red-headed woodpecker and white-breasted nuthatch. In summer the area is alive with yellow-billed cuckoos, great-crested flycatchers and nesting summer tanagers. The various ponds in the area attract waterfowl ranging from snow geese to hooded mergansers. Check any flooded fields for common snipe and, potentially, rusty blackbirds in winter. The recently plowed fields are a favorite spot of horned larks and even migrant shorebirds, while areas with taller grass host roosting short-eared owls and northern harriers in winter. The Green Springs area has benefitted from years of study by several dedicated naturalists. They have compiled an impressive list of regular and unusual species found in the area.
From James Madison's Montpelier, go south on SR 20/Constitution Highway for 0.8 miles to Rt. 639/Chicken Mountain Road. Go left (southeast) for 3.6 miles to US 15/James Madison Highway. Turn right (south) and follow this road for 9.5 miles to the intersection of US 15 and SR 22. Turn left on SR 22 and go 1.1 miles to Rt. 638/Nolting Road. Turn right onto Rt. 638/Nolting Road and go 1.5 miles to Brackets Farm.