Virginia Working Landscapes is dedicated to fostering an ever-growing and dynamic working network, convened by Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia, in cooperation with: the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC), Blandy Experimental Farm at the State Arboretum of Virginia, the Virginia Native Plant Society, the Blue Ridge PRISM, Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC), the Virginia Quail Recovery Initiative (QRI), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Clifton Institute, the Blue Ridge Conservation Alliance, Virginia Master Naturalists, the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI), Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), Virginia Native Plant Society, Shenandoah National Park, as well as several local service providers and landowners.



The Blandy Experimental Farm exists to promote this understanding through education and research on plants, plant biology, ecology, evolution, the environmental sciences, and the manner in which all of these are used and affected by humans.

Main programs:

  • University research and education
  • Outreach and environmental education
  • The State Arboretum of Virginia (“The Orland E. White Arboretum”)


The Blue Ridge Conservation Alliance (BRCA) consists of a wide range of partner organizations dedicated to preserving and protecting a highly threatened portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains stretching from Shenandoah National Park to the Potomac River.

Primary goals:

  • Creating a broad based public consensus that recognizes the BRCA Focus Area– due to its exceptional combination of significant ecological, cultural, scenic, and recreational resources–is a special place worthy of protection.
  • Indentifying and effectively responding to threats –either as a Alliance or through ad-hoc collaborations among member and partner organizations– to environmental, historical, and scenic resources in the BRCA Focus Area.
  • Advocating for public policies (state, local, or Federal) and/or conservation projects that further protect or steward the natural, historical, and scenic resources in the BRCA Focus Area.
  • Creating an information network that will improve communication and collaboration among conservation organizations across the BRCA Focus Area’s six counties in Virginia and West Virginia.


The Blue Ridge Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) [a project of the Shenandoah National Park Trust] is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to reducing the negative impact of nonnative invasive plants on the health of the natural and agricultural environment in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Effective invasive plant control is a community and neighborhood issue, because these aggressive plants know no boundaries … Through cooperative action, the PRISM aims to enable people to reclaim the Blue Ridge region’s natural heritage and to become stewards of the lands that are our birthright.

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. 

Clifton Institute logo


The Clifton Institute (formerly known as Environmental Studies on the Piedmont) is a private field station that conducts research, education, and conservation activities. Headquartered in the Northern Piedmont and on 914 acres of land protected by a conservation easement, this facility provides a rich resource for indigenous plant and wildlife studies. The Clifton Institute aims to integrate nature with human activity and development needs so that natural resources are used in a sustainable way. In order to do so, they help bring scientists and the public together in partnership, and encourage community participation in research through hands-on education and volunteer programs.

Natural Resource Conservation Service Logo


The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is the primary federal agency that works with private landowners to protect natural resources.  In Virginia, NRCS works closely with 47 soil and water conservation districts and several state agencies to provide farmers and other landowners with technical expertise to meet their specific economic and environmental objectives. NRCS also provides financial assistance through several Farm Bill programs, which offer incentives to reduce erosion, improve air and water quality, preserve wetlands, enhance wildlife habitat, and protect farmland and grazing land from urban development.

Piedmont Environmental Council Logo


For almost 40 years, Piedmont Environmental Council has advocated smart growth, land and water conservation, sound energy production, and community empowerment for residents of the nine-county region of Virginia's northern Piedmont. 

Helping to conserve over 325,000 acres of land through conservation easements, PEC opened the Sustainable Habitat Program in 2010 to offer landowners opportunities to participate in the next logical step of land protection: restoration.  As leading partner in the Virginia Working Landscapes-Grasslands Group with land conservation officers serving every county, PEC directly assists landowners in restoring early successional landscapes that support native species of warm-season grasses and forbs, pollinators, and grassland-dependent birds such as bobwhite quail, meadowlarks, prairie warblers, and grasshopper sparrows.


The Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC) was jointly established by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and George Mason University to educate future generations of conservationists using proactive and innovative approaches to conservation biology.


The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries vision statement is “leading wildlife conservation and inspiring people to value the outdoors and their role in nature.”

Core mission:

  • Conserve and manage wildlife populations and habitat for the benefit of present and future generations.
  • Connect people to Virginia’s outdoors through boating, education, fishing, hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing, and other wildlife-related activities.
  • Protect people and property by promoting safe outdoor experiences and managing human-wildlife conflicts.


The Virginia Master Naturalist Program is a statewide corps of volunteers providing education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities. Interested Virginians become Master Naturalists through training and volunteer service,… then maintain that certification by launching or participating in local projects as they trek through forests and fields, collect data in streams, beaches, and backyards.

Virginia Native Plant Society Logo


The Virginia Native Plant Society was founded in 1982 as the Virginia Wildflower Preservation Society, and adopted its current name in in 1989. It is a nonprofit organization of individuals who share an interest in Virginia’s native plants and habitats. The Society and its chapters seek to further the appreciation and conservation of this priceless heritage.

Virginia’s Quail Recovery Initiative (QRI) began in 2009 in an effort to restore northern bobwhite quail populations to their native range in the Commonwealth. To facilitate large-scale restoration efforts, QRI consists of a partnership between the Conservation Management Institute at Virginia Tech, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and five Private Lands Wildlife Biologists hired specifically to help carry out QRI’s mission.

 Main objectives:

  • educate the public on the importance of quality, early successional habitat not only for bobwhites, but for many other wildlife species
  • provide technical assistance to landowners interested in creating or maintaining early successional habitat on their properties
  • help implement financial assistance programs aimed at benefiting wildlife

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