UPDATE:  We regret that we will be canceling this evening’s (March 17th) dark sky event. It is snowing lightly at the moment and although the forecast is for partly cloudy skies from sunset to midnight, all the cloud cover websites we have consulted suggests that ‘partly cloudy’ means thinner overcast, not clean breaks in the cloud cover.  Viewing conditions will be poor at best, the humidity will be high (80%) and the temps will be only in the high 30’s.  We look forward to seeing you at the April 14th event.

March 17: RLEP’s first dark skies event will be held at the Rappahannock County Park on Rt 211, across from Little Washington, starting at 7:00 pm.  Astronomers are welcome to come early (6:00 pm) if they need more time to set up. There will be astronomers with telescopes, so you can view the stars and learn about star viewing. If you have your own telescope, please bring it along. Joyce Harman will be there with her camera to show you how to take star pictures. Bring your camera and learn how to do dark sky photography.

This is a fun, family event that will inspire you to spend more time appreciating Rappahannock County’s night skies. In the event of cloudy weather, we’ll still meet at the park pavilion to learn more about star viewing, how to use telescopes and how to do night photography. In the event of rainy or inclement weather, please join us at our next event planned for April 14th.

Hope you’ll join us!  Call 703-250-7943 if weather is questionable. Or call the RLEP hotline at (540) 675-RLEP (7537).

Here is a map showing the location of the park. The park is also known as the Rappahannock Recreational Center on GoogleMaps.

April 14  The Rappahannock County Park is already booked for RLEP’s second dark skies event. There will be a presentation on dark skies and RLEP’s program to replace outdoor lighting in the county with dark sky friendly fixtures.  Astronomers, telescopes and more will be there.  Check with us nearer the date!  Rick@RLEP.org

May 5 Greg Redfern, NASA Solar System Ambassador, returns for a new fantastic power point display of the universe…you don’t want to miss this.  Greg’s presentations are fantastic. The 2017 event was full with nearly 300 people.

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

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”.


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.


2016:  THE RLEP SOLAR COOPERATIVE was hugely successful for 2015-2016.  Over 80 people joined the cooperative, and 39 installed solar panels for their homes or farms…at a significantly reduced price by being members of a cooperative and obtaining a bulk bid.  This initiative was so successful we hope to repeat it again!

April 2016:  STARRY/DARK SKIES FORUM  Over 60 people attended this initial forum. Dark Skies are important for Rappahannock as a natural wonder, a significant part of our natural beauty and a potential source of tourism. You will be hearing more on this topic!  
Paul Bogard
, JMU professor, spoke eloquently on the topic of the loss of our ability to see the stars all over the world.  Approximately 83% of the world’s population will never see the Milky Way.READ Prof. Paul Bogard’s book “The End of Night, Searching for Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light” and be inspired.
Laura Greenleaf joined the discussion as co-director of the Virginia Chapter of the “Dark Skies Organization” and offered useful tips on how to achieve and maintain our Starry Nights. Her organization is instrumental in helping communities protect their night skies.

April 2016:  TRASH FREE RAPPAHANNOCK awoke from a multi-year slumber with the sponsorship of RLEP.  We supported this volunteer effort with advertising and free orange trash bags and orange vests for all participants.  Organized by Jan Makela, the effort was a big success and VDOT picked up the bags for free!.  Look  for this again in April of 2017.

RLEP is on a growth drive.  JOIN US as a fellow caretaker of Rappahannock.  Make your voice heard in the Comprehensive Plan, and at Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission Meetings.   We are working on a new database for members.   Please send us your current email.  Tell us your environmental dream, perhaps we can help make it happen. Contact us!

2016 & 2017:  INVASIVE SPECIES BEWARE  Sam Quinn of Sunnyside Biologist fame is coordinating between RLEP and Blue Ridge PRISM which gained an award for the eradication of invasive plant species! This is a fantastic endeavor and worthy of praise. We will keep you informed on how this will happen, who will be eligible to participate, what it all means and what you can do to participate in this endeavor.

THE ANNUAL MEETING  was held in November 2015.  Once again, Wasmunds Distillery kindly hosted us. Recent accomplishments were briefly reviewed and  Ann and Larry Wohlers were awarded the RLEP SPIRIT AWARD for creating a wildflower meadow on their property and for Larry’s work in forming the Solar Power Cooperative.


Among many other things!

4 Alternative Energy EXPOs were produced by RLEP in four consecutive years, with many top people in the solar and alternative fields.   It may be time to bring this back again!