Rust Nature Sanctuary
Enjoy 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.
Audubon 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, and encourage you to pay a visit to our Rust Sanctuary to view this wonderful collection.
(Artwork of golden eagles by R.T. Peterson)
For more information: 703-669-0000 or email
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 email@example.com for more information. Minimum fee: $1200.
School’s Out Nature Camps
March 31 (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 Christine Montagnese at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and to register.
NEW! Fresh Air Kids
Fridays, March 28-May 9 (10-11:30 am)
No class April 18
Cost: $50 (siblings $40)
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 aged 4 and younger along with a parent or caregiver. Classes meet on Fridays and take place entirely outdoors on our 68-acre nature sanctuary. The class will involve crafts, songs, books and always a hike. Bring a lunch to share at our picnic tables. To register call 703-669-0000 or email email@example.com.
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.
The 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