Another field season is coming to a close at Virginia Working Landscapes. It has been a busy spring and summer for VWL, with citizen scientist training, biodiversity surveys, workshops and the annual Summer Safari event at SCBI. Right now our volunteers are finishing the plant and pollinator surveys at the VWL sites around northern Virginia, while the bird surveys are already done. Landowners will be getting their species list for the season soon. To mark the end of the field surveys and all the work done by our volunteers we will be having a VWL volunteer and landowner pot-luck at Oxbow Farm.
The beginning of the season started with our volunteer training sessions. Experts in bees, pollinators, birds and grassland plants taught weekend workshops on identifying the various species and on the survey protocols. For many of our returning volunteers these were simply refresher courses. Without experienced volunteers projects like the VWL biodiversity study would simply not be possible.
Then it was time for the surveys. For some this meant some very early mornings…check out the VWL 2013 Bird Species List
In June there was the annual Summer Safari. Held for the third year at SCBI in Front Royal with VWL partners Piedmont Environmental Council and Shenandoah National Park Trust, the event raised funds and awareness for local conservation efforts. Plus, it was a pretty good time for all involved with tours of the Center and its animals, as well as food and drink and even a hawk release on Race Track Hill.
Also in June was our Riparian Workshop on Riparian Ecology and Conservation at the SCBI Campus in Front Royal. The workshop included excellent guest lectures, a Q&A with a panel of experts and landowners and tour of Cliff Miller’s Mt. Vernon Farm. Over fifty people attended the workshop and farm tour.
Now we are to the end of the field season, finishing up surveys, summarizing and analyzing results and getting ready for next year. But just because the field season is over does not mean work at VWL stops. There will be upcoming workshops, courses, the Autumn Conservation Festival and, of course, the VWL pot-luck in a couple of weeks. Don’t forget to RSVP and hope to see everyone there.