Roanoke Kiwanis Club's signature project. We are developing a two-and-a-half acre nature park on City-owned property adjacent to the Kiwanis Centennial Playground located in an underserved neighborhood. The site is on Horton's Branch, a tributary of the Roanoke River, in the 2700 block of Melrose Avenue adjacent to Forest Park Academy, Melrose Library, and the Northwest Hub being developed by Goodwill.

The project will provide flood reduction, a place for the community to enjoy nature, improved water quality for the endangered Roanoke Logperch, conservation education, increased biodiversity, and strengthened environmental stewardship. The project will transform an expansive lawn and polluted stream into a Nature Park, and replace the area with pollinator wildflower/educational gardens, wetlands, and other park amenities. It will improve water absorption and filtration and eliminate runoff of toxins into the stream.

Nature Park activities will include neighborhood engagement efforts to reduce litter/pollutants to stimulate ownership of the park, a youth conservation corps to monitor water quality and lead neighborhood clean ups, and outdoor classroom events linked with Virginia schools Standards of Learning. Outcomes will include improvement in water quality in Hortons Branch, Roanoke Logperch population stabilization, increases in water conservation knowledge/stewardship, and enjoyment of an urban oasis featuring nature’s beauty. Community engagement is a critical element of success for this project. Partners include Roanoke City's Public Schools, the City Stormwater Division, the City Department of Parks and Recreation, Roanoke City Public Libraries, Western Virginia Water Authority, Clean Valley Council, Goodwill Industries of the Valley, other nonprofits, businesses, faith-based organizations, neighborhood associations, and Virginia Tech students and advisers.

Meet Larry the Logperch, the mascot for the Kiwanis Club of Roanoke. Larry represents the endangered Roanoke Logperch fish that swims in the Roanoke River. As part of our Club's Nature Park project, we are working with the City of Roanoke to improve the quality of the water in one of the river's tributaries, Hortons Branch. Larry's public appearance will occur on April 13 at the Daisy Art Parade when an 8-foot paper mache model of Larry will join the festivities.

A children's book, featuring Larry, will be launched at the June 1 Spring Fun Day held at the Envision Center near our Nature Park. Through Larry, Roanoke citizens will have the opportunity to increase awareness of the importance of keeping litter and other polluting substances from entering our waterways. The image of Larry was created by Roanoke's Artist in residence, Jane Gabrielle.


  • pollinator garden #1
  • nature education
  • community engagement


  • pollinator garden #2
  • begin amphitheater
  • install benches and tables
  • tree planting
  • initial trail design and construction
  • develop "Larry the Logperch" educational children's book
  • continued community engagement


  • maintain pollinator gardens
  • stream restoration design collaboration
  • publish "Larry the Logperch" educational children's book
  • install signage
  • more trails
  • design bio swales
  • fundraising and grant writing
  • continued community engagement


  • begin stormwater construction
  • begin stream restoration
  • design nature park interface with stream restoration
  • design bridge
  • design amphitheater canopy
  • more trails
  • fundraising and grant writing
  • continued community engagement


  • complete stormwater construction
  • complete stream restoration
  • build bridge
  • more trails
  • complete amphitheater
  • turn over to city
  • completion celebration