Why Rappahannock?
(YouTube link)



Kaye Kohler is working on a project with Tracy and Mathieu Mazza to film local residents, their stories of Rappahannock, what the county means to them, thoughts on the past and the future and whatever they want to say!  First filming was Monday, Nov 13.  There will be a second opportunity some time after the New Year.  Our intent is to work with The Historical Society and other groups to further this endeavor to preserve the culture and natural resource of Rappahannock’s residents.

Call for details or

if you know someone who might be interested or interesting!  The Mazzas filmed our interview with founder Phil Irwin top left of page.  The new films will include images as a backdrop.


RAPPAHANNOCK GOES SOLAR.  An RLEP committee chaired by Larry Wohlers represented 39 Rappahannock residents to form a cooperative for 20% savings on top of the 30% Federal Tax Credit for solar installations. Read More




A Hard Working 2016
Trash Free Rapp Crew

April is EARTH MONTH every year:  RLEP revived TRASH FREE RAPPAHANNOCK in 2016. Orange Vests and Bags were available all over the county for roadside cleanup, plus free pickup by VDOT.  READ MORE


Preserving the natural resources and rural character of Rappahannock County


    Native Plants = Native Insects
      = Native Birds
     Broaden YOUR native species!

The Ghost Ship Spider

What's Up
 Rose Breasted Grosbeak

Ruffed Grouse

 RLEP supports
Rappahannock Nature Camp
Scholarships to Camp Vesuvius


Pileated Woodpecker

Wild Turkeys

Tiger and Son


Fantastic Rappahannock
dark sky photos!
by Joyce Harman

RLEP will help you down-shield your lights for FREE to maintain our environment of starry nights, an extremely rare view east of the Mississippi.  We are in that tiny dark spot to the left near the bottom of the bright strip from Boston to DC in the upper eastern coast.  THIS IS A VOLUNTARY PROGRAM INTENDED TO BECOME A COMMUNITY EFFORT ALL WILL ENJOY AND APPRECIATE.

In late May and early June RLEP will be replacing and installing lights in Sperryville at Shaw’s Services, B& B Auto and The Corner Store.  These businesses will actually have better lighting for security and customers, but it will be down-shielded and will not inhibit the view of the night skies!  The Rappahannock Farm Cooperative is also participating as are several local residences.  If you want to participate in preserving the night skies and our view of the Milky Way, RLEP will help.  Give us a call at 540-675-RLEP.

You can see the Milky Way from Rappahannock, let’s keep it that way! Perhaps we can use it as a tourist attraction? RLEP is currently working on down-shielding pole lights in the county, and will help homeowners change their private lights (if desired, all of this is totally voluntary and FREE).  Contact Torney Van Acker, RLEP Facilitator.

Fee free to follow this brief power point on the benefits of Dark Skies. POWER POINT


April 28, at 4:00 PM (SHARP!): Please arrive early for seating!
Greg Redfern, NASA Solar System Ambassador, returns for a new, fantastic, in-door power point display on the universe…”The Birth, Life and Death of Stars” … you don’t want to miss this.  Greg’s presentations are amazing, from the depths of the universe to the new James Webb telescope to last year’s blockbuster “The Universe and You” attended by nearly 300 people. Location:  Castleton Festival Building, 7 Castleton Meadows Ln, Castleton, VA. Supporting Dark Skies Over Rappahannock.

Please arrive before 4:00 as show must start on time.
Reservations to

2018: 2nd Stroll For The Soul will be held this summer.  Watch for updates!

2017-2018 Down-shielding outdoor lights (voluntarily) is a current project to preserve everyone’s view of the stars so beautiful over Rappahannock.  RLEP and REC (Rappahannock Electric Cooperative) have teamed and RLEP will financially assist those desirous of making their REC pole lights more “Star Friendly”.  This venture is moving ahead and several businesses and homes will soon have their lights down-shielded for better light on the ground and less in the sky!

April 14, 2018: Dark Skies presentation at the County Park across Rte 211 from Town of Washington.  Astronomers, telescopes and night star photographers entertained.

June 2017  A Stroll for the Soul began with a walk through the grounds of Hillhouse Native Pant Nursery.  2018 will explore Native Plant venues and other inspiring natural elements.  Watch for scheduling!  These will be fun with great information on how to support native plants, butterflies, bees and the native insects our song birds need to feed their young!

May 27, 2017: : NASA Solar Ambassador Greg Redfern presented a lively and colorful tour of the Universe in the Castleton Theatre Festival Building in support of Rappahannock’s night skies and the Shenandoah National Park’s desire to be designated a “Dark Skies Certified Park”. FREE to the public.  280 people attended this amazing event.

2016 Solar Cooperative: RLEP took 39 local homes solar by contracting in bulk and soliciting low cost bids to augment the 30% federal tax credit. A new cooperative has formed to continue the project in 2017-18.  Call for details.

2016 Starry Nights kicked off last October with three astronomers, two large telescopes, night star photography lessons and other exhibits. 

The Andromeda Galaxy, the Boy Scout star (actually two stars, one blue and one gold which make up the head of the Swan in the constellation Cignus), many constellations and millions of stars were on fine display.

2015: Butterfly Trail Bridge was built for the Town of Washington in support of native plants, insects and birds.


RLEP provides Scholarships for local children to Camp Vesuvius (A two week Garden Clubs of VA project)

RLEP supports Rappahannock Nature Camp.

Science News Magazine is supplied to the High School

Seminars and Forums on everything from Native Plants to Invasive Species to Night Skies to Ticks!

Monitoring of the State Legislature and local Board of Supervisors with Actions taken as may be appropriate for Environmental concerns.

RLEP Representation is always present at the Board of Supervisor and Planning Commission Meetings.

 We invite you to JOIN US in the preservation of Rappahannock County, a special place, … not achieved by accident!  We owe it to ourselves and future generations to be proper stewards of our beautiful environment.