Conservation through Research & Education


The Nature Foundation at Wintergreen (TNFW) was founded in 1993 by Wintergreen community members to conserve an environment still blessed with much of its original forest floor ecosystem. The founders understood that effective and enduring conservation could best be achieved through an organization led by scientists and devoted to meticulous habitat preservation and management.


TNFW fosters an understanding and appreciation of the natural and cultural heritage of the Central Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and our community through conservation, research and education.


TNFW is a nationally recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Wintergreen’s and the region’s environmental legacy for present and future generations. TNFW seeks to exemplify environmental stewardship by promoting a deeper understanding of nature through research and a stronger community commitment to conservation through education.


Program Overview

TNFW believes that offering broad-based environmental education programs coupled with robust scientific research are vital for successful conservation efforts. This legacy continues to inspire everything TNFW does, from the programs we offer to our service to our area communities.

Conservation – TNFW manages 6000 acres of covenanted open space and mountain forests located along the spine of one of the narrowest points of the Blue Ridge. The surrounding mountain ecosystem includes some of the most unique and diverse plant communities on the planet and is home to abundantly diverse wildlife, billions-year old geologic formations and archaeological sites and artifacts left by Native Americans thousands of years ago. See representative Conservation projects and programs here.

Research – Together with Virginia universities, the Smithsonian Institution, and environmental organizations, TNFW supports research that informs best practices for managing Wintergreen’s ecosystem and contributes more broadly to the scientific community’s body of knowledge. Additionally, much of this research is used in education programs TNFW offers to local school students and adults. See representative Research projects and programs here.

Education – TNFW offers a wide range of education programs to help participants appreciate the area’s natural and cultural heritage. Thanks to generous contributions from area foundations and TNFW members, our school-focused programs reach pre-K through 12th grade students across Nelson and surrounding counties through site-based learning opportunities at TNFW and through school visits by TNFW naturalists. Life-long learners of all ages can experience a variety of programs and activities through TNFW’s Education Program. See Education projects and programs here.

TNFW programs are open to the public with no eligibility requirements. We welcome membership and support from all who share our interest in preserving this Blue Ridge legacy.