Blue Ridge Heritage, Inc.
PO Box 269
Stuart, VA 24171

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Board of Directors

Wayne Kirkpatrick, President
Lee Chichester, Vice President
Steve Swartz, Secretary/Treasurer


Jerry Boothe
Sherri Huffman
Ralph Lutts
Leslie Shelor
Libby Wilcox

Today’s Vision-Keepers

Many of the current board members have been striving to create the vision and the reality for many years. Some are new leaders who are excited by the vision and willing to work to meet the goals. Let us introduce you to the leadership of BRHI.

Jerry Boothe is a the owner of Jerry Boothe Hardwood Flooring, and is a spare-time cattle farmer in Floyd County. He has served as a Supervisor in Floyd County during which time he was liaison with Blue Ridge Heritage, Inc.

Lee Chichester  has retired from a freelance writing career of 40+ years and in 1995 was among the original group who envisioned The Jacksonville Center for the Arts (now the Floyd Center for the Arts) in Floyd and served on its Board of Directors for ten years. In 2006 she was one of three recipients of the prestigious Perry Kendig Award for significant contributions to   read more . . .

the arts in the region, presented annually by the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge, and in 2009 she served as regional coordinator for the Governor’s Awards for the Arts. She has been with BRHI since its original conception as a steering committee in 2005. During her 40 years of living in the Bi-County area, she served on many volunteer boards, including ‘Round the Mountain and the Virginia Falconers‘ Association.

Sherri Huffman

Wayne Kirkpatrick retired from a 31 year/160 head dairy operation in Patrick County, Virginia, and for several years later raised replacement heifers for growing dairy farms.  Since 2006, his main interest has been growing produce for sale at the local farmer's market -- a job he thoroughly enjoyed as he shared the bounty of his labors.  In 2023, he grew his last garden and now looks forward to traveling throughout the western portion of the USA.    Wayne holds a B.S. in Dairy Science,   read more . . .

VA Tech, ’74; and has served on the Board of Directors of the Dan River Basin Association and is widely involved in the conservation, economic development, and preservation of our natural resources.
Wayne’s family includes his wife, Betty, two sons, Matthew and James, two daughters-in-law, Leah and Kara, and five grandchildren, Anya, Atticus, Nathan, Ginny, and Andrew.

Ralph Lutts is a historian, educator, and naturalist who lives in Meadows of Dan. He has an undergraduate degree in Biology from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and an Ed.D. in Environmental Education from the University of Massachusetts.  He has taught Appalachian history at Virginia Tech and Natural History of the Blue Ridge at the University of Virginia.     read more . . .

Ralph has twenty years of experience in museum and nature center program development and management. This includes work as an educator and curator at Boston’s Museum of Science, as director of the Blue Hills Trailside Museum (which interprets 7,000 acres of parkland), and as director of the outreach division of the Virginia Museum of Natural History.

Lutz co-founded and served as the first President of the New England Environmental Education Alliance.  He has also served as  President of the American Nature Study Society and the Alliance for Environmental Education. He served as a Naturalist in the Hampshire College Outdoors Program and is on the faculty of the college’s School of Natural Science.

Lutz has worked on the undergraduate and graduate faculties of Goddard College and has served a term on the college’s Board of Trustees.

He is the author of The Nature Fakers: Wildlife, Science & Sentiment, editor of The Wild Animal Story, and has published numerous articles related to environmental history and ecocriticism.

Although retired, he is still active as an environmental historian and serves as a Visiting Scholar in the Virginia Tech History Department.

Leslie Shelor is a ninth generation descendant of early settlers of Meadows of Dan and a fifth generation descendant of one of the first settlers of Rock Castle Gorge, both in Patrick County, Virginia. She is a writer and local historian and has written a book about her family as well as contributed research and local  knowledge to a study by Dr. Anita Puckett for the National Park Service titled “Rock Castle Gorge Special History Study.” She is owner of Poppy’s, a book and  yarn shop with gifts in Meadows of Dan, Virginia. She lives on her family homeplace in Meadows of Dan with three dogs, a cat and numerous chickens.

Steve Swartz  is a retired engineering consultant in water resources and water-based utilities’ business and economic matters, serving in 26 states and Canada.  He also served in the US Army Corps of Engineers during the Vietnam War.   read more . . .

Steve was among the original group of Floyd and Patrick County volunteers that Incorporated Blue Ridge Heritage, Inc to develop a visitor attraction at Rocky Knob on the Blue Ridge Parkway to enhance the economics of the bi-county area through tourism.
Steve and his wife live in Patrick County.

Libby Wilcox retired from the State of North Carolina where she worked in the field of Environmental Education for 11 years.  Prior to that, she developed and managed the Continuing Education Program for the Raleigh Board of REALTORS.  She has a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Development from Western Carolina University.  Upon retirement, she bought property in Carroll County on Groundhog Mountain.  There she designed and was General Contractor for read more . . .

the cabin in which she now lives, building a large portion of it herself.  When the cabin was complete, she became a volunteer for the Blue Ridge Parkway and is now the Volunteer Lead for the Park Service in the Rocky Knob area -- some 50 miles of the parkway.  This is her 13th year as a volunteer.   Most of her free time is spent on the Parkway making sure it is neat and clean for the many folks who visit annually.  In 2021 she was honored with the Blue Ridge Parkway Enduring Service Award.  Libby is also an Elder at her church and the Secretary/Treasurer of her Neighborhood Property Owner’s Association.