Explore the History of UVA’s Blandy Experimental Farm – Lectures and Tours

Date & Time

August 1, 2019 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm


Blandy Experimental Farm, The State Arboretum of Virginia
400 Blandy Farm Lane
Boyce, VA 22620


Spend the morning learning about the history of the University of Virginia’s Blandy Experimental Farm. Blandy serves as a research field station for the Department of Environmental Sciences and is home to the State Arboretum of Virginia. The Arboretum, also known as the Orland E. White Arboretum, occupies the central 172 acres of Blandy Farm. Started in the 1930s, it contains over 5000 woody trees and shrubs from around the world. It is a reference garden for the Southeast Region of the American Conifer Society and includes the American Boxwood Society’s Memorial Garden.

We will be led in discussions and tours by UVA Research Professor & Director of Blandy Farm David Carr; Arborist Christine Schmidt; Associate Director & Research Associate Professor Kyle Haynes; Curator & Research Associate Professor T’ai Roulston; and Professor of Landscape Architecture Nancy Takahashi. During this exploratory morning, you will discuss the history of Blandy Experimental Farm and how it became home to UVA. While taking a guided tour of the arboretum, you will have the opportunity to peek inside its laboratories, meet summer researchers, discover historic buildings, and learn about notable trees and plants. If you are interested in Virginia botany, enjoy beautiful landscapes and gardens, and are curious about the history behind a vibrant research community, register for this program at Blandy Experimental Farm.

This event is free. Space is limited. Registrations required.

Bottles of water will be available. After this morning program concludes, enjoy lunch on your own at a nearby eatery.

If interested in arriving the day before this event, lodging information is available below.

We suggest wearing comfortable walking shoes and sunscreen.


Robin Cardillo

FOSA Director, Blandy Farm

Cardillo has earned years of experience working with
non-profit organizations, most recently as Director of
Development for Special Love Inc. in Winchester, which
is dedicated to helping children with cancer.

David Carr

UVA Research Professor & Director of Blandy Farm

Carr is interested in a diversity of topics in population and ecological genetics within the broad context evolutionary ecology. His research is question-driven and has included both animals and plants. Over the past several years his research has focused on the effects of inbreeding on the interactions between plants and their antagonists (herbivores and pathogens) and their mutualists (pollinators). In addressing these problems he has conducted experiments in the field as well as the greenhouse, and his approach has relied extensively on the techniques of quantitative genetics. A second focal area of his research has been the ecology and genetics of non-native invasive plant species.

Christine Schmidt


Kyle Haynes

Associate Director & Research Associate Professor

The central aim of Haynes’ research is to elucidate the processes driving fluctuations in population abundance across time and space. Among the many factors that can influence populations, he is particularly interested in those that operate over broad spatial scales and/or are the result of human activities. Most of his experience in natural systems comes from studying insect populations. Of late, much of his research focuses on forest defoliating insects, trying to glean an understanding of their population dynamics and how their populations impact forest health. His approach blends field experiments, analysis of spatial data, and theoretical modeling.

T’ai Roulston

Curator & Research Associate Professor

Roulston’s primary research area is plant-pollinator interactions, which he studies through field, laboratory, and phylogenetic approaches. These include (i) studies of pollen chemistry to characterize the diversity of pollen nutrient rewards; (ii) phylogenetic analyses to associate shifts in pollen nutrient content with evolutionary shifts in pollination syndrome; (iii) observations of pollinator host choices to determine pollinator assessment of pollen nutrition, and (iv) studies of insect development and body size to assess the potential importance of variation in pollen nutrients. Other research areas include endangered species conservation, habitat fragmentation, foraging behavior, and the impact of exotic species on native organisms.

Nancy Takahashi

Distinguished Lecturer and Graduate Program Director, Landscape Architecture, School of Architecture


Resilient Cities: Winneba Ghana researching the complex interwoven forces of sea level rise and rapid urbanization impacting coastal African cities, with a focus on preserving a community’s cultural  identity, embedded in sacred sites and  landscapes that are often lost or destroyed by these forces of change.  Takahashi is examining the historic fishing town of Winneba Ghana with a team of Architecture School students and colleagues from the University of Ghana Legon and University of Sheffield Hallam. Last summer, the team traveled to Ghana to meet town officials and gather climate change related site data: vegetation, coast line, historic sacred sites, and water systems.  This summer the team will convene at the School of Architecture to document their findings, and explore the implications of sea level rise on this community in terms of its economic, tourist, environmental, and sacred cultural future.

Mount Jefferson at University of Virginia focusing on the history and resources of the western tract of the UVA Grounds called Mount Jefferson. This wooded hill, part of the original land purchase made by Jefferson to create his university, has been largely forgotten and mistreated.  She and research students have discovered sites and histories of the hill that are leading her to new views of the hill’s sustaining role in the history of the university.

Design build initiatives Faculty Advisor for the student-run organization ‘AIAS Freedom By Design’. Last year, this group worked with AHIP to design and construct an innovative entry ramp and retaining wall for a wheelchair -bound downtown resident. Working with the UVa Office of the Architect, she advised students in developing a preliminary design for a permanent garden on the UVA Grounds for students to gather and commemorate the deaths of their fellow students who die while at UVA.

8:45 AM Check-in
9:00 AM Introductions
History of Blandy Experimental Farm—David Carr
The State Arboretum The Commonwealth’s Public Garden—Robin Cardillo
The Arboretum’s Most Special Trees and the Digital Map—Christina Schmidt
10:15 AM Tour of the Property—Nancy Takahashi, David Carr, Kyle Haynes, T’ai Roulston
12:00 PM Optional Tour—David Carr
Program Ends (stay and explore Blandy Experimental Farm—closes at dusk)
Hotel Information

For registrants interested in arriving in the area before the Blandy Experimental Farm event, we have reserved a block of rooms at a nearby hotel.

Holiday Inn & Suites Front Royal Blue Ridge Shadows
111 Hospitality Drive
Front Royal, VA 22630

  • Reserved block of rooms for the evening of 7/31/2019
  • Room block held until 7/19/2019—make your reservations today!
  • Ask for “UVA Blandy Experimental Farm”
  • Rate: $98 (excluding tax)
  • Breakfast voucher included