Make a Difference

logo hh facebook twitter

 GuideStar image

Rust Nature Sanctuary

Leesburg, Virginia    Programs  |  Directions  |  Trail Map  |  History  |  Site Rentals 

field1393Enjoy nature at the Rust Nature Sanctuary throughout the year. Each season has something to fascinate nature lovers, from spring frog choruses to turkey tracks in the snow. And the more often you visit, the more you'll find.

Our 68 acres encompasses meadows, forests, and ponds where you'll find a variety of wildlife and plants. During a visit, you might encounter nesting songbirds from the tropics in the oak-hickory forest, a fox hunting in our meadow, or colorful dragonflies darting above the pond.  Trail Map

Come and enjoy the Rust Nature Sanctuary anytime from dawn to dusk, seven days a week, every day of the year. No admission fee required. Bring your binoculars, camera, and a picnic lunch. Take photographs, and leave with pleasant memories and plans to return again and again.

RUST Manor House hosts weddings, receptions, parties, and meetings. For information, please visit You may also email at, or call 703-669-0755.


Nature Activities & Programs 

For more information: 703-669-0000 or email

Environmental Residencies
Perfect for PTO sponsors!

Bring naturalists to your school for an extended residency! GreenKids, our partnership with Loudoun County Public Schools, has developed high quality, project-based environmental residencies for your school in one of the following areas: Salad Science, Stream Science, and Becoming a Green School. Contact GreenKids Director, Diane Lill, at for more information. Minimum fee: $1200.


Fresh Air Kids
8 Fridays,
January 9 – February 27,2015 (10-11:30 am)
fresh air kids at Rust sanctuaryCost: $75  (siblings 21 months and older $60)
Children are born naturalists. The Rust Nature Sanctuary builds on children's inherent
curiosity about the world by using hands-on, nature-based activities to foster social, physical, and academic skill development. Our Fresh Air Kids Class is for children ages 5 and younger along with a parent or caregiver. Classes meet on Fridays for 8 weeks and take place entirely outdoors on our 68-acre nature sanctuary.

If inclement weather arises we will head indoors to our cozy Discovery Room. This class will involve crafts, songs, books and always a hike. Bring a lunch and /or snack and meet other caregivers!

Special offer! Bring a friend and receive 10 % off of your child's registration fee.

To register call 703-669-0000 or email

School's Out Nature Camps - Nature Adventures

Ages K-5
Monday, October 13 (8:30 am-4:30 pm)
Monday, January 19 (8:30 am-4:30 pm)
Members $70 per day; nonmembers $80 per day
We pack each day with a variety of nature-themed, hands-on activities including outdoor exploration, nature hikes, field games, and crafts. Contact Susanne Ortmann at for more info and to register.

NEW! Unplug and Play Afterschool Programs
The Rust Nature Sanctuary in Leesburg, Virginia is excited to announce our revitalized afterschool program, Unplug and Play!  Combining science education and physical activity, ANS has created a program to get kids outdoors to discover their natural world. Our qualified naturalists will run a six-week session of outdoor games, hikes, and eco-crafts, with a different theme each week. Themes include migration, plant basics, mammals, and animal habitats. Typical hours for our afterschool program are 2:45-3:45 pm. Naturalists are available to teach Monday- Friday, one day per week for six weeks. To run the program, the cost is $65 per student for 6 weeks. ANS requires a minimum of eight students.  
Call Susanne Ortmann at (703) 669-0000 or email  for more information and to book your school's afterschool club!

Full Moon Night Hike & Campfire 
Saturday, December 6 (6-7:30 pm)
All ages
Cost: $5 per person
Under a Full Moon, the 68 acres at Rust Nature Sanctuary take on a new look, feel and memory. Explore with us as we hike its grounds and listen for owls and many of the fascinating night sounds of the woods. Absorb the peace, tranquility and beauty of what nature offers us at night under the stars and moon. The adventure will end with a warm camp fire and light snacks. Headlamps will be provided. Hiking shoes required. Open to all ages. Space is limited - call 703-669-0000 or email  to register.

Scout Programs at Rust Nature Sanctuary  
We can meet your badge needs!
ANS Nature Programs for Scouts are offered 7 days a week from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. Each program is 1 to 1.5 hours long. The cost is $7.75 per scout with a $60 minimum. Come to the Rust Nature Sanctuary for your program or we'll come to you! For more information call Susanne Ortmann at 703-669-0000 or email



artworkAudubon Naturalist Society's Rust Nature Sanctuary is the recipient of a collection of artwork from the family of Roger Tory Peterson. We are honored to be able to showcase the art to the community by our environmental education office and encourage you to pay a visit to our Rust Sanctuary to view this wonderful collection.



802 Children's Center Road
Leesburg, VA 20175  

From the DC Beltway, exit onto the Dulles Toll Road (Route 267). Follow the Toll Road local lanes until they become the Dulles Greenway (still Route 267). At the end of the Greenway (approximately 13 miles) take the left exit to Leesburg. This is the Leesburg Bypass. Go west on Bypass to the second exit (Route 7 - Business Leesburg). Caution: Do not take the first Leesburg exit, Route 15. Turn right at the top of the exit ramp onto Rt. 7. Turn right at the first traffic light, Catoctin Circle. Continue 1/8 mile on Catoctin Circle to Children's Center Road (on your right). Turn right and follow Children's Center Road until you reach the cul de sac at the end. The middle drive-at sign-will take you through the Sanctuary to the Manor House.

From Ashburn or Sterling and points east of Leesburg: Follow Route 7 west to Leesburg, and turn left onto Catoctin Circle at the light. Continue on Catoctin past the Post Office (on left) to the light at Rt. 15 (King Street). Continue on Catoctin through the light and across Dry Mill Road to Children's Center Road (on your left). Turn left and follow Children's Center Road until you reach the cul de sac at the end. The middle drive-at sign-will take you through the Sanctuary to the Manor House.

From points west of Leesburg, VA: Follow Route 7 east and take the first Leesburg exit (Leesburg Business). Turn right at first stoplight, Catoctin Circle, and continue 1/8 mile to Children's Center Road (on your right). Turn right and follow Children's Center Road until you reach the cul de sac at the end. The middle drive-at sign-will take you through the Sanctuary to the Manor House.



A History of Rust Nature Sanctuary Property

an informal history of rust sanctuaryThe Rust Manor House is a site rich in Virginia history and public service. It was built in 1910 by Henry Harrison, a descendant of the first European recorded as visiting Loudoun County, for his wife, Anne Lee who was a cousin of Robert E. Lee. Anne lived here until her death in 1928. Having no heirs, she left the property to the St. Emma Agricultural and Industrial Institute, a school for young black men established by an order of nuns near Richmond.

William Fitzhugh Rust, another scion of a distinguished Virginia and Loudoun County family, purchased the property from St. Emma in 1929 and substantially remolded the house, copying many architectural elements from old Rust plantation homes. William died in 1940, but his widow, Mary, lived in the manor house and operated the property as a dairy farm through World War II.

After the war she and her son sold the property to Ida K. Polen, a very successful business woman from Arlington. After Ida died, the property was put up for auction and William Fitzhugh Rust, Jr., the son of William and Mary, bought it. He also donated the land for Ida Lee Park and The Rust Library to the Town of Leesburg..

In 2000, following the wishes of their mother, Margaret Dole Rust, the children of William and Margaret donated their family home to the Audubon Naturalist Society to create the Rust Nature Sanctuary. -- Prepared by the Audubon Naturalist Society

buy online:
An Informal History of The Rust Nature Sanctuary: The Place and The People