Our Mission

Virginia Working Landscapes (VWL) is a program of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) that promotes the conservation of native biodiversity and sustainable land use through research, education and community engagement.

About VWL

Learn more about who we are, our program mission and vision.  
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Our Research

Learn about our research and wildlife surveys in Virginia.  
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Get Involved

Interested in joining our team of citizen scientists or landowners?  
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In 2014, the VWL Grassland Biodiversity Survey was conducted at 45 locations on 31 different properties (with some properties containing more than 1 survey site) within the northern Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont. The survey sites span 10 counties from Augusta and Albemarle Counties in the southwest to Loudoun and Prince William Counties in the northeast, with most sites located on private property. Surveys were conducted on properties with fields of predominantly Warm-Season Grass (WSG), Cool-Season Grass (CSG), or both. This year’s field sites incorporated a variety of land uses including hay production, pasturing of livestock, recreational use (i.e. hiking, horseback riding and hunting), and management for wildlife habitat.

This year, the Grassland Biodiversity Survey design was changed to reflect input from landowners, our citizen scientist volunteers, the VWL advisory group, and our staff researchers. We expanded the pollinator survey by collaborating with researcher T’ai Roulston and his staff from the University of Virginia’s Blandy Experimental Farm to better understand the state of pollinators in this region. A new, more rigorous pollinator survey protocol was trialed on 17 established sites across the region, with the prior protocol used on new sites in 2014 to serve as a basis for comparison with previous survey years.

We also expanded the survey site network this year to more accurately reflect the range of grassland and pasture conditions throughout the region. Seven new landowner properties and 12 new survey sites were added to the Grassland Biodiversity Survey. In order to accommodate this increased effort and scope, we cycled out properties and fields that had been surveyed for the two previous years. Those properties not surveyed in 2014 will be surveyed again in future years to detect changes over time.


Full Report

View the Full Report (PDF)


Individual Reports (PDF)

Reports for individual properties participating in the 2014 Grassland Biodiversity Survey.

VWL Citizen Science in 2014

Thanks to the help of our citizen scientists, here is what VWL accomplished in 2014:

52 citizen scientist participants
1,725 total volunteer hours

Winter Bird Survey

  1,948 individual observed
  30 species identified

Breeding Bird Survey

  3,544 individuals observed
  76 species identified

Butterfly Survey

  5,993 individuals observed
  44 species identified

Bee Survey

  34,637 individuals recorded
  131 species identified

Plant Survey 

  4,732 individual plants recorded
  364 species identified


Rusty-patched Bumblebee ● A single Rusty-patched Bumblebee (Bombus affinis) was found this summer at Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane, VA, which is the first known sighting in the region since 2006. This species nearly disappeared over the last decade, being found in less than 15% of its former range.
Northern Shrike ● A Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor) was spotted at Sky Meadows State Park near Delaplane this February. This sighting was only the 6th ever recorded for the Piedmont, and the first since 1995! 
Frightful Sedge ● During the spring survey, two Frightful Sedges (Carex molestiformis) were recorded at Callander Farm in Boyce. This native plant is considered rare in the northern Virginia Piedmont.

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Virginia Working Landscapes
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
1500 Remount Road
Front Royal, Virginia 22630
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