George Mason University plant ecology students are helping The Piedmont Environmental Council measure the success of our wetlands restoration effort at Roundabout Meadows. With a grant from the Virginia Native Plant Society, the students are establishing a baseline dataset by collecting and identifying all plant species there.
The native flower meadow our Piedmont Memorial Overlook property is almost at peak bloom!
This 50-acre property, which has one of the best views in Northern Virginia, is publicly accessible via Sky Meadows State Park. It’s a one-way 1.6-mile hike there via the Ambassador Whitehouse Trail, but many people make it a 4.6-mile loop that includes a stretch of the Appalachian Trail.
The Gilberts Corner Farmers Market sits at the intersections of Route 15 and Route 50 in Loudoun County, about 1 mile east of Aldie, Virginia. In 2019, The Piedmont Environmental Council proudly announced our new ownership of the market and set forth with plans to enhance its history as a place to find local food and fiber.
The Piedmont Memorial Overlook sits on 50 acres owned by The Piedmont Environmental Council, and is part of a corridor of the Blue Ridge Mountains that is permanently protected by Sky Meadows State Park, the G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and private land under conservation easement.
Alot is going on, at and around our 141-acre Roundabout Meadows property at Gilberts Corner in Loudoun County. We’ve got a new trail opening, the second season for the Community Farm and news to share about the market property at the northeast corner!
Loudoun County is one of the most affluent counties in the nation and simultaneously home to some 14,000 people without reliable access to affordable, nutritious food. It is consistently one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation, and yet over 200,000 acres is planned to remain rural with over 58,000 acres of permanently conserved open space. Nestled among the three roundabouts of Routes 15 and 50 and Howser’s Branch Road, lies PEC’s Community Farm. Located at the literal intersection of suburban and rural Loudoun County, it is perfectly positioned both to shine a light on the value of conservation and to make practical, tangible progress to address food insecurity in the community.
Polluted water is not only bad for us and the environment, but it’s bad for livestock as well,” says Celia Vuocolo, habitat and stewardship specialist at PEC.
A significant stewardship project is wrapping up this fall at Roundabout Meadows, the 141- acre property near Gilbert’s Corner that was gifted to PEC in 2013. The project is focused on implementing agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) that will keep livestock away from the property’s streams and provide a clean source of water for cattle. As part of the effort, over 2 miles of fencing and almost a mile of pipeline plumbing for a watering system have been installed.
“Our long-term plan for Roundabout Meadows is to retain its agricultural use, and we want to do so in a manner that is in harmony with being good stewards of the land and water resources, while farming continues on the property,” says Michael Kane, director of conservation at PEC.
Shenandoah National Park just grew a little bigger and a little more beautiful. This past May, We donated a 17.2-acre property of ours in Rappahannock County to the National Park Service. A forested and vacant parcel on a mountain slope south of Sperryville, Virginia, the land is within the legislative boundary of Shenandoah National Park.
“The property is surrounded by the park on three of its four sides, so it’s a key puzzle piece,” says Carolyn Sedgwick, PEC’s Rappahannock County land conservation officer, who oversaw the donation from PEC to the National Park Service. “This great public-private partnership with the National Park Service has resulted in the expansion of one of the most important wildlife corridors on the east coast.”
The donated acreage is by an area in the national park designated as federal wilderness — the highest conservation designation for federal land — making it an important and strategic area to conserve.