A Season Full of Activity

This text was taken from an email sent out on June 6th, 2013:


I hope you’re enjoying the delightfully cool spring. Personally, I’ll take all the cool weather I can get before the dog days of summer hit. Any cicadas in your neck of the woods? We’ll see if the cool weather means that Brood 2 Cicadas will persist longer than usual. Check out this wonderful video on the life cycle of these fascinating creatures.

It’s been a busy winter and spring at PEC’s Piedmont Memorial Overlook (aka “Ovoka”). We’re in the process of restoring habitat on the property: converting our fescue fields into a native grass meadow and controlling woody invasive plants, among other things.

Currently, I’m surveying for bird, plant, and pollinator diversity through the Virginia Working Landscapes initiative with the help of our seasonal field assistant, Celia Vuocolo. We’ve also set up camera traps at the Overlook to see what wildlife are using the property. Check out some photos from the past 6 months: morels, a red-backed salamander, a mass of wood frog eggs, and a black bear.

It’s also the time of year when folks worry about ticks and tick-borne illnesses. I get a lot of questions on the matter, so here’s an article I wrote on ticks from my personal experience.

Upcoming Habitat Happenings

Below are a few upcoming land stewardship events to put on your calendar:

Riparian Conservation and Restoration Workshop
(Saturday June 22nd — Front Royal)
The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and PEC are hosting lectures on watershed management, on-the-ground conservation programs, and benefits of riparian restorations to our local wildlife. Expert presenters and tour are part of the agenda. Should be a great event!
Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council Tour
(Saturday June 29th — Albemarle County)
PEC, along with the VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water, are hosting a tour of sustainable landscaping sites in the Charlottesville area. Rain gardens, native meadow, green roofs, and more are on the agenda.
National Bobwhite Technical Committee Annual Meeting
(Tuesday July 23rd — Roanoke)
All things Quail. The Conference theme is Appalachian Overlap — and will also focus on species who need related habitat: grouse, turkey, woodcook, golden-winged warbler, and more!
Mid Atlantic Invasive Plant Council Conference
(July 31st — Shepherdstown, West Virginia)
Biennial regional conference on the state of the art in invasive control. The theme this year is “Path to Restoration Success.”

Please feel free to send me your wildlife and other land stewardship stories, pictures, etc. I love to hear about what’s going on in your backyard or back forty.

Stay cool and have fun out there!

James Barnes
Sustainable Habitat Program Manager
Piedmont Environmental Council

Photo credits: Les Howard (Bobwhite Quail) and Chris Evans (Autumn Olive). Thank you to these great photographers!

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