The Corps offers fun interactive educational programs for the whole family. Specific programs and times may be obtained by calling the Visitor Assistance Center at 434-738-6143 or visiting our project Facebook events page: JohnHKerrReservoirBuggsIslandLake
PROGRAMS for SCHOOLS and GROUPS: **Not currently being offered due to COVID-19.** Bring your school or group to visit Kerr Lake and enjoy Ranger led programs including activities in the campgrounds or other recreation areas, nature hikes, our environmental education center, and much more.
Rangers are also available to visit your school by bringing their classroom to yours. Programs are between 30-60 minutes in length and can be tailored to meet your learning objectives. Rangers are also able to do interpretive programs with classes via Zoom, Google Meet, or a different platform. We are willing to work with individual teachers and schools to fulfill specific learning requirements and various subject material. Program topics include and are not limited to Every Kid Outdoors initiative (4th grade classes), ecosystems, water conservation, leave no trace, nature-based programs (flora and fauna, wildlife, habitats, etc.), Junior Ranger, and programs about hydropower at John H. Kerr Reservoir.
You can contact a Ranger to help plan your field trip, visit your classroom, and share their knowledge at email@example.com or by calling 434-738-6143.
TANNER CENTER: 5164 Buggs Island Road, Boydton, VA
The Joseph S.J. Tanner Environmental Education Center offers exhibits of the natural wonders found around Kerr Lake. During the summer months you can frequently find Park Rangers or volunteers conducting fun interactive programs for the public. From a forest diorama, to the reading nook, to live critters the Center is a popular stop for families.
The Center is free and open to the public on weekends from April 1st to October 31st, Saturday, Sunday, and Federal Holidays, 9:00am-Noon and 1:00pm -4:00pm.
Located in front of the Tanner Center is the Butterfly Garden. This is a great place for the pollinator enthusiast to observe and photograph these beautiful creatures.
Tugboat Dan is also the perfect spot for a photo op, while reading about her exciting history on the water.
The Center was officially named on September 28, 2002 for retired John H Kerr Operations Manager, Joseph Tanner. Devoted to his love of children and the environment, Mr. Tanner was instrumental in establishing the center, and dedicated his career to serving the public. He passed away January 2002, and was never able to see his dream come to fruition.
In a past life the building served as the Management Center from 1960 to 1988, until the new Visitor Assistance Center was opened. The little building was used as a Nature Center during the summer months until 2000 when the roof began to leak and damaged the electrical circuits, floors, and walls. The Corps revamped the center replacing the roof and adding paneling and carpet. The result is a regional learning center for children and adults of all ages.
VISITOR ASSITANCE CENTER: 1930 Mays Chapel Road, Boydton, VA
More than just a stop for brochures, the Corps’ Visitor Assistance Center offers exhibits on hydroelectric power generation and a look into the area’s cultural past. Rangers are also present to answer any questions regarding project history, recreation, or shoreline management. So please do not hesitate to ask to speak with one.
FOREST DEMONSTRATION AREA: 5164 Buggs Island Road, Boydton, VA
Located at the upper parking lot of the Tanner Center, the Forest Demonstration Area was developed through a Handshake Partnership Grant between the Corps of Engineers and Virginia Department of Forestry. This small wooded hill is divided into four sections, with each section showing a different forest management technique. Take a stroll down the trail and compare the differences and benefits of how forests can be managed for wildlife and future generations. Ranger led programs are available upon request.
LIBERTY HILL TRAIL: Across Kerr Dam on the south side, this self guided interpretive trail will take you through a mixed pine and hardwood stand, along the Roanoke River. Grab a guide of the 14 stops at the trailhead and explore huge loblolly pines, scenic overlooks, and a cemetery that is over 100 years old.
Guided walks may be available during the summer, check for dates and times.
POWERHOUSE: Stop by the turbine display at the corner of Buggs Island Road and the entrance to Trailrace Park. In 2009, one of the original turbines, which are more than 50 years old, was placed on display with a sign on the long history of the massive metal structure. The spinning of these enormous wheels creates electricity as water is forced through the dam. The water spins the turbine, which turns a large magnet inside of a huge copper coil. This acts as a generator which creates electricity.
Due to security concerns following the events of “September 11”, tours of the Kerr Powerhouse have been suspended indefinitely.