How we came to be

In 1990, The Institute (then called Renfrew Institute for Cultural & Environmental Studies) was created as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization, primarily for the development and funding of school programs.

For more than 30 years, The Institute has created and delivered programs for students of all ages, providing opportunities to learn about their cultural and natural heritage.

As interest in the school programs soared, so did the development of additional programs and workshops for adults and older teens. Weekend events and festivals for families were created and summer programs and workshops became part of the Institute experience.

Research in cultural history and natural science are ongoing at the Institute. Studies have included research on the American chestnut tree, bluebird nesting practices, colonial textiles, historic buildings, and native and invasive plant species, while ongoing studies and areas of focus include water quality in the Antietam Creek, watersheds and wetlands, wildlife and preservation.

Moving on, moving forward…

The Institute is still evolving—answering the environmental and cultural education needs of an engaged and curious public. In 2020, The Institute—after celebrating its 30th anniversary—left the Renfrew property—like a mature 30-year-old, “leaving home” is the best way to ensure continued growth. Join us as we work together to create experiences that educate, inspire and unite!

To read more about why The Institute left the Renfrew property, click here. 

“The Institute continues to offer quality environmental and cultural programs to the students and adults of Waynesboro. We are lucky to have such a valuable asset to our community.”

Bill & Debbie Pflager, members