From the Field: PEC’s Piedmont Memorial Overlook

The first two steps in land management are to assess what condition the land is in and then decide what your goals are. PEC is going through both of these steps at the Piedmont Memorial Overlook—our 50-acre tract that straddles Clarke and Fauquier county.

The Piedmont Memorial Overlook has about 20 acres of cool season fescue fields and 30 acres of forest and shrublands, and we’ve been working to assess the biodiversity of these ecosystems. For the fescue fields, we’ve partnered with the Virginia Working Landscapes to analyze the diversity of birds, pollinators and plants. This data will be a baseline to compare to as we convert the less-wildlife friendly fescue into native grasses and wildflowers. This fall, we will also begin a detailed inventory of the forest and shrublands—examining the tree diversity and structure, the soils, and more.

All of this information feeds into our goals for the site, which include: maintaining the property as a memorial site; increasing the biodiversity of the property by managing for native plant species and eradicating non-native invasives; using it as a land management demonstration site for private landowners; and allowing the public to enjoy the property’s views for reflection and passive recreation. Stay tuned for updates and upcoming events.

Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!

As a part of our research at the Piedmont Memorial Overlook, we’re also collecting data on wildlife camera traps. At this point it’s strictly qualitative data, but overtime we hope to get a better sense of how animals, particularly mammals, are using the property and the larger Blue Ridge Mountain corridor. Here are some of our favorite shots from this summer:

This article was featured in our Fall 2013 Member Newsletter, The Piedmont View.