Break Description

Sky Meadows State Park contains 1,860 acres in the Crooked Run Valley and includes both woodlands and the rolling pastures of a historic farm. Visitors come to hike, bike, ride, picnic, fish and camp, as well as to enjoy year-round natural and historical education. 

On Saturday, we’ll spend a full day at the park. Our group will be working alongside park staff to install and plant a new plot of American Chestnut trees under the guidance of The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF). On Sunday, we’ll gather at JMU or virtually to complete a half-day advocacy or philanthropy project.  

According to TACF: 

More than a century ago, nearly four billion American chestnut trees were growing in the eastern U.S. They were among the largest, tallest, and fastest-growing trees. The wood was rot-resistant, straight-grained, and suitable for furniture, fencing, and building. The nuts fed billions of wildlife, people and their livestock. It was almost a perfect tree, that is, until a blight fungus killed it more than a century ago. The chestnut blight has been called the greatest ecological disaster to strike the world’s forests in all of history. The American chestnut tree survived all adversaries for 40 million years, then disappeared within 40. 

Using traditional breeding techniques combined with the latest genomic insights, TACF is working to return the iconic American Chestnut to its native range. Want to be part of one of America’s greatest environmental comeback stories? Join us! 

Find more registration details and sign-up online ASAP!

Alternative Breaks in the time of COVID: 

Because of the pandemic and the changes to the university’s spring schedule, Alternative Spring Break will be different this year. Here’s what you need to know about all of our Alternative Spring Breaks: 

  • All breaks will include a day-long, in-person service experience and a half-day, on-campus or virtual advocacy or philanthropy project. 
  • Participants must pack a lunch for their service day. 
  • All of our breaks take place within a one-hour drive of campus. 
  • Transportation will be provided in JMU vehicles at no more than 50% capacity. However, we will ask all participants who are able and willing to drive personal vehicles to the service site in order to limit density. 
  • Students will not be permitted to participate if they are experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms, if they have been instructed to quarantine or isolate in the past two weeks, or if they have been in direct, close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two weeks. 
  • Masks will be required at all times (except for when eating lunch). This includes during service, and during travel. 
  • Participants will be asked to regularly disinfect all high-touch surfaces, including work tools, at the service site. 
  • Participants will maintain a six-foot distance from others whenever possible. 
  • Our community partners have agreed to maintain COVID-19 safety practices and protocols in line with the CDC the Virginia Department of Health and to support all JMU COVID-19 mitigation practices. 

Our Broader Commitment:
JMU is a member of the University Global Coalition with the United Nations and is committed to achieving a better and more sustainable future as defined by the Sustainable Development Goals. In alignment with Sky Meadows State Park's mission and services, you can learn more about Life on Land HERE.


Focus on: Preserving the Environment and Biodiversity

Community: Delaplane, VA

Leaders: Gabriella Kaminski and Erin Knappman

Cost: $Free!

What type of travel will this break use? Domestic Driving

What kind of break is this? Weekend Break

Departure Date: 03-20-2021

Return Date: 03-21-2021

What community partner will you be working with? Sky Meadows State Park

Currently Offered?: Yes

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