Collaborative Projects

In addition to our own research, Virginia Working Landscapes collaborates with a number of Smithsonian programs and other organizations on exciting conservation projects. These projects range from a statewide effort to monitor populations of the imperiled Loggerhead Shrike, to landscape-level modeling of our region to inform land-use planning. All of our partners are integral to the work we do and we are always seeking new opportunities to collaborate.

To learn more about our collaborative work, you can explore the current projects below.


Often referred to as the “butcher bird,” the Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) is most known for impaling prey on thorns, branches, or barbed wire. However, this Virginia-native songbird is in decline. Potential reasons for their decline include excessive pesticide use, collisions with vehicles, adverse weather conditions, disease, and habitat loss. In collaboration with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI), and Wildlife Preservation Canada (WPC), VWL conducts research to better understand the causes of decline, and develop strategies to mitigate them.

eMammal is a Smithsonian-led effort to collect and archive photos from camera trap research projects. In these types of projects, scientists place “camera traps” (motion-triggered cameras) across the landscape to collect photos of mammals. These photos help researchers answer questions about mammal distribution and abundance and use this information for conservation. The hope is to expand beyond the mid-Atlantic region to document mammal populations across the entire country. 

Today’s actions can have a significant impact on the future. Land use decisions influence the availability of life-sustaining and life-improving natural resources, ranging from clean water and productive soils to open spaces and cultural heritage sites. The Changing Landscapes Initiative (CLI) takes a landscape-level approach to explore how we can manage working landscapes for the greatest benefit to future generations of people and wildlife.


The Native Bumblebee Pollen Survey attends to the urgent need for research about native bee populations and the possible reasons for their decline. Specifically, this project investigates bumblebee colony health in relation to the food resources available in meadows dominated by either native or exotic plants. Funded by the University of Virginia (UVA) Committee on Sustainability, this research is currently taking place in 20 meadows at UVA’s Blandy Experimental Farm and at several privately-owned properties. The results of this work will significantly advance our understanding of how invasive plants may negatively affect bees, which are responsible for a disproportionately large share of an invaluable ecosystem service (i.e., pollination).

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