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News about Burgundy's phenomenal campuses, including Campus Renewal Initiative.

Exciting Opportunities at Cooper's Cove

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Friday, December 7, 2018
  • The annual Christmas Bird Count is administered by the National Audubon Society, and the Hampshire County WV count circle is sponsored by the Burgundy Center for Wildlife Studies. If you are a die-hard birder, join us Dec 28 - 29 for a dawn-to-dusk bird walk, counting every feathered thing in sight. We gather for warm housing near the Cove, eat dinner, make teams, and try (and fail) to go to bed early. On Dec 29 we rise too early, trudge over hill and dale and count birds. Then we tally up after dinner, and some go home. If you want to join, email

  • Summer camp at Cooper’s Cove 2019: the perfect option for children and adults who never can get enough time at our WV mountain campus (Registration will open in mid-late January):

Senior Program (ages 11-15) • $1795

Session 1: Sunday, June 23 - Saturday, July 6

Session 2: Tuesday, July 9 - Tuesday, July 23 *

Session 3: Wednesday, July 31 - Tuesday, August 13

Junior Program (ages 8 -10) • $1025

Sunday, August 18 – Saturday, August 24

Adult Weekend (ages 21+) • $235 / $415

Friday, July 26 – Sunday, July 28

Tick and Lyme Disease Awareness

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Ticks are widespread in wooded and grassy areas all over our region. With the spread of Lyme disease on the East Coast, it is important to take responsibility for yourself and your child after outdoor experiences. During tick season (late spring into mid-summer), check yourself and your child for ticks daily. Deer ticks can be removed only with tweezers, and should be saved in alcohol (in case you want to have the tick tested) while you watch the spot for further signs of infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more details about Lyme Disease.

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Barnyard Update: New Turkeys and Chickens

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Turkey #1

Turkey #2

Recently caretaker Ali Shepard ’04 brought some new animals to join the herd in Burgundy’s barnyard. There are three turkeys—two females, one male, all Narragansett turkeys, a heritage breed. One of the females hatched with deformed toes and slight head bob; the other female has been a companion for her. Ali also added two new hens; they are Golden Laced Wyandotte and Black Sex Link varieties. Ali reports everyone is settling in fine and she expects visitors to the barnyard will enjoy the beautiful new look these fowl bring as well as the new sounds from the turkeys. For a short time last fall, Burgundy hosted a rescue turkey named Blossom, but she was unable to live outdoors and returned to a previous owner.

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Sad news from the Burgundy barnyard

Thursday, June 21, 2018

TopazWe regret that we have sad and surprising news for our community. Early the evening of June 21, Topaz, Burgundy's young filly, passed away after a brief illness.

Topaz began showing signs of digestive discomfort on Wednesday evening. The vet visited and began treatment but recommended taking Topaz to a veterinary hospital. Caretaker Ali Shepard '04 took Topaz and her mom Poppy to the the Marion DuPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg. Poppy was there to be a comforting presence for Topaz. Unfortunately, from last night through the day today, Topaz exhibited several rounds of painful digestive distress. Despite excellent care from a team of doctors, nurses, and veterinary students, her health worsened, and she had to be put down.

The vet confirms that Topaz was suffering from colic, which refers to any form of digestive distress in a horse. Colic in a horse can be very serious and sometimes fatal. Surgery is sometimes a good option but was not in this situation. 

Topaz brought many members of our Burgundy community a lot of joy in only a few months of life. Students or families may be interested in writing sympathy or thank you notes for Ali and/or the wonderful veterinary team who worked to save Topaz's life. These notes can be dropped off at Burgundy's Alexandria campus or sent to Burgundy, c/o Caretaker Ali, 3700 Burgundy Road, Alexandria VA 22303.

Mayapples Growing on Campus

Friday, June 1, 2018
Updated photo: Mayapples of years past!

In various places around campus, mayapples are growing. World languages teacher Carrie Ustun has explained that these are rare and protected wildflowers in Virginia. (Please note that mayapples are not edible.)

They have many other names, including podophyllum, mandrake, and hog apple. The number of mayapples growing around Burgundy varies, and sometimes dwindles due to playing children and animal foragers.

Please pay careful attention in areas where you see these plants growing, so that they can blossom and grow fruit during the summer.

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Parking and Carpool Reminders

Friday, May 18, 2018


As we prepare for a host of on-campus events, we wanted to share some reminders about parking. Please always be careful and aware of your surroundings when driving on campus. We need your help to maintain a safe environment for all!

On campus, parking spaces are delineated to maximize parking efficiency — please respect these lines.

Carpool Lane Parking

  • Outside of morning and afternoon carpool times, briefly parking in the carpool lane is generally allowed (e.g., when picking up a student early or dropping off late).
  • All cars should be moved out of the carpool lane by 2:45 p.m. ahead of afternoon carpool.
  • During special events, please park along the curb at a diagonal angle to allow more cars to park along the carpool lane.

Neighborhood Parking

  • Please be considerate of our neighbors and others in our community when parking along the streets near campus. Do not block or turn around in driveways, and do not compromise safe and clear lines of sight near intersections.
  • During afternoon pick-up our carpool line often extends down the hill (north) on Norton Road, so please do not park on the campus side of the street (west side; to the left, as you exit campus) to facilitate the carpool line staying out of the lane of traffic. As you enter campus, please be aware of the cars trying to enter or exit the driveway at the Norton house Advancement office.
  • Fairfax County ordinance prohibits parking within 10 feet of a driveway. Police can ticket cars parked in these areas if a homeowner calls to complain; we know Burgundy families have received warning tickets in the past.
  • Be aware that Burgundy and Norton Roads are bus routes for county mass transit. Cars that interfere with those routes may draw attention from Fairfax County police.

Morning and Afternoon Carpool

Carpool Map
Click to view a map of afternoon carpool

DO ...

  • Drive the speed limit and stop at stop signs in our neighborhood.
  • Observe a strict 5 mph speed limit on campus.
  • Keep children’s seat belts on until you have fully stopped at the drop-off station in the morning.
  • Drop off students curbside before you park if you are staying in the morning.
  • Line up for afternoon pick-up on gravel drive and along Norton Road north: from Telegraph Road, continue on East Drive past Burgundy Road, bearing left to join Elmwood Drive. Continue on Elmwood until taking a left turn at Norton Road to join the carpool line waiting to turn right.
  • Pass these reminders to au pairs and other carpool drivers!

DO NOT ...

  • Allow children, even with you, to walk across the carpool line of traffic! Drop them off first.
  • Back a car out of a space or into traffic during carpool. No exceptions, please!
  • Use a hand-held cell phone or any distracting device while moving in your car!
  • Drive past the lower carpool line, unless being waved through by a Burgundy staff person!
  • Drive on the wrong side of the road or drop-off circle.
  • Drive more than 5 mph as you exit campus.
  • Idle. While waiting for afternoon carpool to start, shut the engine off, please.

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Annual Giving Supports Cove Trips

Friday, May 18, 2018
Cove bridge
Buckeyes working together on an assignment at the Cove. Photo by Joanne Petty.

This is the time of the year when classes make their spring journey to the Cove. This experience is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the natural world — in our own outdoor laboratory!

Annual Giving helps to support the wealth of opportunities our curriculum offers students at the Cove. Funding helps to maintain Cove facilities and more. The bus that gets students and chaperones to and from Burgundy is an important part of the experience and it too is funded by donations to Annual Giving.

If you've already made an Annual Giving donation, thank you! If you have not made a gift or would like to make an additional gift, please consider doing so today to support Cove trips,  professional development, classroom budgets, and so much more! All gifts, no matter the size, help us to reach our goal and are greatly appreciated.

Give Now!

Questions about giving? Please contact Michele McCabe, Advancement and Annual Giving Coordinator, at

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Nearing the End of This Year's Journey

Friday, May 18, 2018

This afternoon, I’m returning from the Cove, having spent some quality time at our incredible Burgundy Center for Wildlife Studies campus with the Viceroys. Rain is not the weather we hope for when we set out to the Cove, but I can tell you that seeing so many shades of green, even in the rain, is somehow grounding and delightful, and seeing our kids so engaged, with little care about the weather, is always inspiring!

Cove trips also are the surest signal that the school year is racing to completion! Hold on!

Ready or not, final everythings begin in earnest in mid-May: the musical (8th graders’ last production, aside from graduation), the 4th-5th grade Medieval festival, the 8th grade rocket launch, and various other classes’ culminating expositions, as well as, this year, the 6th-7th grade Shakespeare elective performance, and finally — much-anticipated by the classes — the final swims and class parties! The last day of school also includes a Moving Up celebration. More soon on that! It feels sudden, even to me, to refer to the last day of school, but it’s only three weeks away!

Viceroys Cove ball
Rain during the Viceroys trip didn't stop a game of Coveball.

It’s the time of year when I have to remind myself that it’s less important (to some degree) to get each thing on a list done and more important to experience some of the moments and really ‘be in the moment.’ One way I’m accomplishing that is by being at the Cove, however briefly, with my child’s class. Many other years I have spent a night or two with the 8th graders at Wilderness Adventure. This year I’ll try to visit many of the different classes’ final activities. I’ll also enjoy the annual reception for 8th grade parents, the final board meeting and celebration of retiring trustees, and each of the last days of school.

One of the things that keeps us educators coming back each year is that there’s a phenomenal renewing energy in life cycles and rituals, the transitions and the traditions, of a school year. There can be some anxiety and stress for everyone in the crush to wrap up everything, and in anticipating change, which everyone handles differently; but there is also the opportunity to celebrate the journey.

Every year is a different journey. Whether it’s been the most magical or harder-than-average (sometimes we learn and grow even more in those years), it’s been our year together, in each one of our classes and peer groups, and this is true for the adults as well as the students. Savor all for which we have to be grateful! Thanks for all the support for me, our staff, and for Burgundy.

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Barnyard Rules: Getting To Know Topaz

Friday, May 11, 2018

Families — as adults and children are around the barnyard, please keep these rules and guidelines in mind so all may be safe and sound. Poppy and Topaz are integrating into the herd and will be seen outside in the pasture! Topaz is very social and loves attention, so it is important that we all remember a few rules when visiting her, so that she feels safe and we can start training her well!

  • Pet on Topaz on her front end. She likes to be pet on her neck and shoulders where she can see hands.
  • No nibbling! Although her teeth are just starting to come in, we want to teach her good manners by gently pushing her nose away if she puts her mouth on our clothes or body.
  • No food! Topaz cannot eat solid food yet. Please recall that none of our Burgundy animals should be fed unless previously discussed with Ali. Food donations can be left on the Caretaker's porch or in the donation bucket outside the barn.

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