Have Halloween Fun with Bull Run Mountains Conservancy
By Katherine Gotthardt
For fifteen years, Bull Run Mountains Conservancy (BRMC) has encouraged families to meet native “wildlife” as part of their Halloween Safari. Dedicated to preserving the mountains, BRMC puts on the safari to bring awareness and fun to visitors who come far and wide for the experience.
The night begins with a walk down a candlelit road to the registration booth. Visitors then can enjoy a bonfire, hot chocolate and cider among the sounds of live music and nature. Starting at 7 p.m. a guide leads groups along a forest trail where hikers meet “wildlife,” a cast of creatures performing natural history skits based on their characters. The educational event features new characters every year.
The hike is one-mile long and concludes with a return to the bonfire, face painting and popcorn cooked over the coals. This year, music will be performed by Peter McCorey, a one-man-band.
The Safari is part of BRMC’s diverse educational program, which they call “a cornerstone of our commitment to the preservation of the Bull Run Mountains through education, research and stewardship.”
A nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1994, BRMC says, “Our programs focus on the ecological, historical and cultural features of the Bull Run Mountains…BRMC offers educational programs to adults and children, a strong link to local history and the simple pleasure of walking trails.
At BRMC, preservation does not mean a hands-off policy, but rather a focus on drawing people to appreciate the resources at hand and the completion of research to better understand and protect those resources.”
Besides the Safari, BRMC offers classes for home-schoolers, teacher workshops, summer nature camps, water-based science programs, educational “encounters” with reptiles, hikes with naturalists, tours of old home sites, volunteer opportunities and more. Trails are open daily from dusk to dawn. BRMC does require visitors to fill out a waiver and read and follow their guidelines. Trails are open to foot-traffic only, and pets are not allowed. A trail map is provided.
BRMC also offers opportunity for memberships. Benefits include discounts on public programs and trips. Membership dues also helps support BRMC’s environmental and historical programs and support research and management of this natural area. Quarterly newsletters keep members abreast of new programs, as well as offer educational articles relevant to the mountains.
The Halloween Safari will be held October 18, 24 and 25, starting at the BRMC Mountain House located at 17405 Beverley Mill Drive, Broad Run, VA (approximately three miles west of Haymarket, off of Route 55). Pre-registration is available for time slots between 7 and 8 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome any time between 7 and 8:30 p.m. on an as-available basis. Tickets are $7 in advance, $10 at the door. For reservations and question, call (703) 753-2631. All participants should make sure to bring good walking shoes and a flashlight.
For more information about BRMC, visit their website at www.brmconservancy.org.