Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rust Manor House and Nature Sanctuary

Rust Manor House and Nature Sanctuary are tucked away in a small nook inside the town of Leesburg. Even long time locals sometimes forget about this wonderful hidden treasure right in our back yard.
With the help of my Daisy Girl Scout troop, I had a wonderful visit yesterday afternoon. We hiked through the trails, visited the pond, snacked on fresh watermelon, climbed on a fallen tree, enjoyed chatting at the empty amphitheatre, and made bird feeders with peanut butter and bird seed at the picnic area. Despite the heat and humidity, the trees provide lots of shade and the area remained cool and comfortable.
The park is 68 acres, and with only an hour and a half, we had very little time to explore, but there are so many more things still to do on future visits. Fishing is allowed at the stocked pond. The historic Manor house is available for tours. Audobon Natrualist Society has many special events there. Certain areas are available for weddings or other private events. And, there are much longer hiking trails throughout the park.
Although the sanctuary boasts tons of wildlife, if you bring a gaggle of 5 to 7 year old squealing girls with you, you’re not too likely to see many animals. You will, however, hear giggles, see infectious smiles and still have a wonderful time. Some elements of nature cannot or will not hide, even from these girls. So, we had lots of chances to talk about gnats, worms, ticks, lyme disease, and poison ivy. And my co leader managed to have a personal visit by a local dragonfly, who sat contently on her hand for quite some time. The lesson here: bring the insect repellent.
Our visit to the sanctuary was in support of our efforts to earn our last petal of the Daisy flower, Rose, which stands for “Make The World A Better Place”. Rust Manor House and Sanctuary were donated to the town, along with the land where Ida Lee Park is, by the Rust Family. We talked about what a great way that was for the Rust family to make the world a better place, by donating land for the use of the community; whichis one of the reasons we selected this location for our last meeting of the year.
We certainly had fun there, and hopefully the girls will return again many times to enjoy the gorgeous scenery, and will share their discovery of this great gift with many others.

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