Virginia State Parks

Since its founding in 1920, the Garden Club of Virginia has been working for the protection of natural resources, and its support for Virginia State Parks has been a priority from the beginning.

In 1926, the Virginia Legislature created the State Commission on Conservation and Development. For the first time, the state had a single agency responsible for managing the conservation of its natural resources. Initially, the commission's efforts with regard to parks centered around acquiring lands for Shenandoah National Park, the first large national park in the east. By 1929, as acquisitions for Shenandoah were nearing completion, things began to change. The value of land held for public recreation and preservation of habitat for native animals and plants garnered public attention.

On Dec. 17, 1929, representatives of the Virginia Academy of Science, the Garden Club of Virginia and the Izaak Walton League held a meeting in Richmond to discuss the need for state parks. This meeting resulted in each organization passing a resolution in support of creating state parks and presenting those resolutions to Governor-Elect John Garland Pollard.

The Garden Club of Virginia will celebrate its 2020 Centennial with the completion of a five-year, $500,000 grant to Virginia State Parks projects and programs.


2019 Total $101,091

Bear Creek - Pollinator meadow and landscaping
Belle Isle - Phase 3 Belle Isle Manor and Bel Air House landscaping Garden Club of the Northern Neck
Chippokes Plantation – Visitor Center Exhibit Updates
Claytor Lake - Native Landscaping
Douthat - Dark Sky Park
Natural Bridge - Visitor Center Base Camp Exhibits Blue Ridge Garden Club
Pocahontas - Civilian Conservation Corps Work Cabin Week
Shenandoah River - Visitor Center Landscaping The Garden Club of Warren County
Sky Meadows - Phase 3 Trail System Fauquier and Loudoun Garden Club
Staunton River Battlefield - Mulberry Hill landscaping
York River - Landscaping and turtle habitat The Hampton Roads Garden Club, The Huntington Garden Club and The Williamsburg Garden Club
Youth Conservation Corps - Supplies

2018 Total $114,145

Belle Isle – phase two of improvements to the landscape at the Belle Isle mansion and enhancing learning panels in Visitor’s Center The Garden Club of the Northern Neck
Caledon – drinking fountain The Rappahannock Valley Garden Club
Holliday Lake – underwater lighting Hillside Garden Club and The Lynchburg Garden Club
Hungry Mother – Children’s Discovery area
James River – native plant and pollinator garden Rivanna Garden Club
Lake Anna – native plant landscaping around new cabins The Rappahannock Valley Garden Club
Natural Bridge – continued improvements to Interactive Classroom The Blue Ridge Garden Club
Pocahontas – shoreline restoration The James River Garden Club
Shenandoah River – Pollinator Meadow with bee habitat The Garden Club of Warren County
Sky Meadows – Children’s Discovery Area and trails Fauquier and Loudoun Garden Club
Westmoreland – creating a Discovery center in the former Visitor’s Center The Garden Club of the Northern Neck
York River – landscaping improvements in three gardens The Hampton Roads Garden Club, The Huntington Garden Club and The Williamsburg Garden Club
Youth Conservation Corps – to help with purchase of materials 

2017 Total $129,417

Belle Isle - Improving landscaping around historic Belle Isle mansion The Garden Club of the Northern Neck
Fairy Stone - Pollinator waystation The Martinsville Garden Club, The Garden Study Club, The Garden Club of Danville
Leesylvania - Wildflower planting, reducing invasives and eliminating mowing
Mason Neck - New Visitor Center entry; hardscaping and landscaping of pollinator garden The Hunting Creek Garden Club, The Garden Club of Fairfax, The Garden Club of Alexandria​​
Middle Peninsula - Supplies for educational programming​ The Garden Club of Gloucester
Natural Bridge - Outfitting a classroom for educational programming in Visitor Center
Pocahontas - Converting a Heritage Center to a Discovery Center
Sky Meadows - Track Trails and Discovery area Fauquier and Loudoun Garden Club
Smith Mountain Lake - Supplies for educational programming in wet lab The Roanoke Valley Garden Club, Mill Mountain Garden Club
Staunton River – beautification of grounds surrounding Civilian Conservation Corps guest cabins, The Garden Club of Danville
Youth Conservation Corps - Supplies for residential summer program in 17 parks 

2016 Total $20,000

Mason Neck - Visitor's Center improvements



Application Process

Deadline for applications is December 1. Applications can be submitted throughout the fiscal year (July 1 – June 30), but final decisions are announced by the end of January. The GCV Virginia State Parks Committee strongly encourages telephone inquiries (804) 643-4137 and, when possible, meetings or site visits will be scheduled. Proposals submitted without contacting the GCV Executive Director before the grant deadlines will not receive priority consideration. Any questions or concerns about your grant proposal or the process should be directed to the Executive Director.

How Proposals are Evaluated

The Executive Director reviews all proposals to determine eligibility under centennial project guidelines, and to ensure that proposals are complete. In some cases, the Executive Director may request additional information, but is not obligated to do so. The Virginia State Parks Committee meets early January and makes funding recommendations as a group. Applicants are notified promptly following final approval by the Board of Directors at the Board's January meeting.

Projects submitted by clubs will be coordinated with the park manager. Park managers will follow protocol within the parks system set by DCR and the State Parks Director. 

Download the State Parks Grant Application Information