Budding artists

Margaret and Stuart inspired Wednesday group with the work of artist Andy Goldsworthy. The Scottish environmentalist is known for  creating site-specific sculpture and land art in a variety of settings from the woods to cities. The kids were able to explore the uses of natural and found materials, permanence, and function. Check it out!

A trip to Polyface Farm in Swoope

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The middle school toured Polyface Farm today. Thank you so much to the farm and to John, our informative and entertaining guide. Polyface has about 550 acres (100 of which are in pasture). The rest of the farm is either forested or protected creek and river sides. All of the acreage is free of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. The Salatin family has been farming the land for 54 years. When they first arrived, the soil was in such poor condition that it wouldn’t hold a fence post, so they used concrete-filled tires. There is no vet on staff – the animals are kept healthy through their diets and a clean environment. Problems are treated naturally: pig lice is treated with diatomaceous earth and worms are eliminated with charcoal. The animals are watered using a gravity-fed system that originates in catchment ponds on the nearby mountain. We ended our tour with the chickens. The chickens follow the cows, who are rotated into a new pasture every afternoon. After three days, the chickens are moved to the recently vacated pasture. They eat the flies and pests that are in a larval stage in the manure. This keeps the farm relatively free of pests and eliminates the needs for fly rub on the cows.  Last, but not least, we all enjoyed meeting Michael, the Anatolian guard dog.

Ultimate Frisbee Camp this summer

JuneScreen Shot 2015-05-22 at 11.26.50 PM 8 – 12, 1:00- 4:00 pm

Learn the rules and skills needed to play ultimate!

The camp will include exposure to drills, throwing techniques, movement, guarding, and plenty of scrimmaging.

Ages 10 – 15. Space limited to 12. $100.00/week

Contact Stuart Gunter: stuart.r.gunter@gmail.com or Margaret Lambert: mlambert.nbs@gmail.com

A pair of folk songs

Last Friday’s assembly involved active participation on many levels from the students. The first song,  a Scottish folk piece called “The Skye Boat Song,” had audience members listening to the changes in music as the story of a fleeing prince played out from fear to relief. Then the Irish folk piece “The Rattlin’ Song” got the students outside and on their feet, singing and dancing about the circle of life.

The music of crickets

At last Friday’s assembly Kat and her students impressed the audience by recreating the sounds of nature to a fun song by Paul Carey and Oliver Twigge called “Peace On Earth…and lots of little crickets.” It tells the story of a boy who finds a cricket in his room and is convinced to keep it because it is good luck. Before long, the cricket gets lonely so the boy brings him a girlfriend. And then before long, there are many little crickets. The boy and his mother decide to share them with friends and enemies alike, bringing joy to all. Enjoy the song!

Band Fair 2015


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For our 13th annual Band Fair, we had great weather and lots of excellent music. Thank you so much to the wonderful musicians who came out to play and help North Branch (photos of the musical performances to come soon).

The performance by the Virginia Acrobatic Studio & Moonlight Circus was enjoyed by all. Afterwards, they showed interested kids how it felt to hang from the silks.

Special thanks to our tent sponsor, California Sidecar, and our sound tent sponsor, East Coast Utility Contractors, Ltd.

Proceeds from BandFair benefit North Branch School’s financial assistance and scholarship programs.

BandFair XIII this Sunday, May 10, 1-6PM, at Cardinal Point Winery


  • Music by Lord Nelson (with NBS alums Kai & Bram Crowe-Getty), Blake Hunter, Jamie Dyer, and Nick Pollock
  • Special performance by the Virginia Acrobatic Studio & Moonlight Circus
  • Food, including sandwiches from Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie
  • Cardinal Point Wine
  • Children’s activities! Cake Walk!
  • Mother’s Day Raffle!  Silent Auction! Wine Raffle!
  • Tickets (advance/gate):  Adult-$10/$12, Child-$5/$7, Family (immediate)-$30/$36. Advance tickets are available at North Branch School or Cardinal Point Winery.  Call 540-456-8450 for more information.
  • Thanks to our tent sponsor, California Sidecar, and our sound tent sponsor, East Coast Utility Contractors, Ltd.
  • Thanks to our corporate sponsors:  Afton Self Storage, Barefoot Bucha, Becerra Lawncare, Blue Ridge Life, Creation Appreciation Landscaping, Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie & Giddy’s Good Fortune Take Away, Goof Plumbing, LLC, Miracle Homes, Meadowbrooke Associates Inc., Montague, Miller & Company, Mountain Area Realty, Nicksatlaw.com – Brady Nicks, Esq., Shenandoah Valley Office Equipment, UVA Community Credit Union, Valley Pediatric Group, Windridge Landscaping.
  • Proceeds from BandFair benefit North Branch School’s financial assistance and scholarship programs.

Virginia’s Poet Laureate visits NBS

North Branch was very fortunate to have Ron Smith, Poet Laureate of Virginia, visit for National Poetry Month. The former teacher to NBS’s Stuart Gunter delighted students with insights, stories, and answers to their burning questions.

Earth Day and the Mile Run

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On Friday, April 24th, the entire school participated in the annual mile run and Earth Day activities. The mile run has been a tradition for a long time at North Branch. Students from nursery to middle school spend several weeks training. They run in several different age groups – younger students run/walk around the field, and older students run on the country road near the school. There were many Earth Day activities going on as well – everything from art projects to tree planting to special songs. We also had a visit from the Wintergreen Nature Foundation staff – they brought a bear skin and a king snake for students to examine.

Relay for Life

On Friday, North Branch School participated in the annual all-school mini Relay for Life to help raise money for cancer research. The school raised $785.72 for The American Cancer Society and presented the funds to our local representative. Thanks to our organizer, Robyn Ebelherr, to Nelson County Relay for Life, and to everyone who participated.