COVID-19 UPDATE (AUGUST 1, 2021)
TNC’s public preserves in Virginia remain open. We ask all visitors to observe our preserve access guidelines and to follow current health and safety precautions, including guidance from the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Thank you for helping us in our efforts to protect our visitors’ health and well-being.
Birds and other wildlife abound at Brownsville Preserve. From the boardwalk and trails traversing this historic farm, you may see deer, fox, raccoons, blue herons, bald eagles, wild turkeys and many other species of birds.
TNC manages Brownsville to enhance bird habitat, and the farm serves as headquarters for the Volgenau Virginia Coast Reserve.
History of Brownsville
Until TNC purchased Brownsville in 1978, the farm had remained in the Upshur family since 1652.
At one time, the owner ran a castor-oil mill on the property. From his wharf on Brownsville Creek, he also shipped huge loads of corn to New York and New England via chartered vessels.
According to Whitelaw's Virginia's Eastern Shore, Mr. Upshur added a frame wing onto the family's 1806 three-story brick home because of the many relatives who lived there. He is claimed to have said, "There is no place to put the sole of my foot."
The historic Brownsville house continues to welcome neighbors and guests during VVCR's annual Holiday Open House and Open Farm events.
What TNC Is Doing
In partnership with the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, TNC placed Brownsville Preserve in the Wildlife Enhancement Program. We manage shallow-water impoundments and hedgerows that enhance habitat for birds.
Brownsville also hosts the Volgenau Virginia Coast Reserve office, and a dock on the property is a launching point for staff members heading out to work on the barrier islands.
Visit the Volgenau Virginia Coast Reserve landing page to learn more about our land protection, migratory bird, and marine habitat restoration work as well as our education and community outreach programs.