About VWL

Virginia Working Landscapes (VWL) is a program of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) located in Front Royal, Virginia. SCBI serves as an umbrella for the Smithsonian’s global effort to conserve species and train future generations of conservationists. 

VWL began in 2010 in response to a strong grass-roots demand from private landowners, conservation NGOs, and citizens for leadership from the Smithsonian on native plant and wildlife conservation in the region, especially on working lands. We partner with a network of NGOs, agencies, regional landowners & citizen scientists to promote the conservation of native biodiversity and sustainable land-use through research, education and community engagement.


Biodiversity is the foundation of healthy working landscapes.


RESEARCH Our team of scientists leads on-the-ground ecological monitoring to reveal how land-use practices impact native biodiversity and how these impacts might influence ecosystem function.

ENGAGEMENT VWL engages with the community through citizen science, education and outreach. Each year, we train and nurture a core of citizen scientist to help conduct biodiversity surveys on private and public lands. We then share findings of these surveys with landowners to demonstrate the diversity of species that our working lands support. We also use this network to facilitate information sharing between landowners, conservation managers and other community members to encourage best management practices for promoting and sustaining biodiversity and ecosystem services on working lands.

EDUCATION VWL works closely with partnering organizations to lead public lectures, seminars, workshops and courses that focus on a wide range of conservation topics. In collaboration with the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, we also support a robust intern and graduate fellow program to train future leaders in conservation science and practice.

The Smithsonian Institution is a 501(c)(3) organization.
To learn more about how to support VWL, Click Here.

Photo by Amy Johnson

Read about our program and how we got started in Warrenton Lifestyle Magazine! 

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