Fall !

This text was taken from an email sent out on September 20th, 2013:

This is my kind of weather! Red maples turn their namesake, broad wing hawks and other raptor migrate south, white-tailed deer enter the rut, and so many more fun things. Speaking of deer, here’s a copy of a recent article I wrote on deer abundance and wildlife habitat.

Summer may be over, but there are still remnants of the Cicada-gedon 2013. You can look for the telltale sign of dead oak branches. Did you have any Brood 2 cicadas in your neck of the woods?

At PEC’s Piedmont Memorial Overlook, we had virtually no cicadas, perhaps due to their spotty distribution, or perhaps due to the fact that we have very little oak on property. We’ll have more oak in the future as we continue our restoration efforts on site. If you’d like to help with tree planting and other volunteer tasks at the site this fall (like maintaining trails and signage or clearing invasives), let me know.

Upcoming Habitat Happenings

Below are a few upcoming events and notices to put on your calendar:

PEC Workshop: Prescribed Fire as a Habitat Management Tool
(Saturday October 12th — Historic Galemont, Broad Run)
This workshop will provide an overview of the opportunities and challenges of using prescribed fire as a means to improve wildlife habitat in the Piedmont. Tools, case studies, and legal aspects will be covered. This is part of PEC’s Meeting at Galemont at the home of Nick and Mary Lynn Kotz in Thoroughfare Gap. The day will include workshops in the morning, lunch, a talk by PEC President, Chris Miller, reflecting on the Disney campaign and the 20 years that have followed, and a keynote by Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and Emmy-award winning producer, Hedrick Smith.

Culpeper Fall Forestry & Wildlife Field Tours
(Friday October 18th — Culpeper County)
Enjoy an informative fall day with forest landowners, outdoor enthusiasts, and natural resource professionals. You will learn about options for sustainable forest and wildlife management and how they can complement each other. You will see a variety of practices on both public and private lands. Transportation by tour bus and a locally-catered lunch will be provided.
Thumb Run Wildlife Habitat Corridor Open House
(Sunday November 10th Tentative Date — Orlean Fire Hall)
PEC will be hosting an event for landowners in the Thumb Run Watershed (and beyond). This open house will review accomplishments to-date, provide an overview of new initiatives in the watershed, and feature a wildlife presentation.
Piedmont Memorial Overlook Nature/History Hike
(Sunday November 17th — property is near Paris)
Join PEC for an afternoon at our Piedmont Memorial Overlook Preserve near Ashby Gap in Clarke and Fauquier County. This hike will explore both human and natural history of the preserve and surrounding area and finish with magnificent views of the Crooked Run Valley.
Hawk Migration Watch
(Sept. through Nov. — Snickers Gap or Rockfish Gap)
Every fall thousands of hawks migrate south, many of them following the Blue Ridge Mountains on their journey. There are several official hawkwatches in VA which monitor their numbers from year to year. The Snickers Gap & Rockfish Gap Hawkwatch seasons have begun and will continue until December 1st. Volunteers can literally see 1000’s of raptors on a good day. More info on the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy or Rockfish Gap Hawkwatch website.
Wavy Leaf Basket Grass – Watch Out for this Invasive!
Have you seen this plant? New state-wide efforts to map and control it are beginning. Careful… these seeds are very sticky this time of year!
VA Native Pollinator License Plate
Pollinator Plates are new license plates in Virginia promoting pollinator conservation! These license plates are designed to get people talking about why pollinators are important and why we need to protect them. Help raise awareness and support pollinators by signing up for your plates today >>

Lastly, I came across a provocative TED presentation on ecosystem restoration entitled For More Wonder, Rewild the World that is worth checking out. A little food for thought.

Enjoy the beautiful fall weather!

James Barnes
Sustainable Habitat Program Manager
Piedmont Environmental Council

Plant photo: It’s Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginina), one of the last flowering species in our region — flowers may persist into January! Extract from Witch Hazel is used for healthcare products.

Received this from a friend? Sign up to receive alerts and news from PEC.

Photo credits: Chris Hoving (fire), Bruce Jones (hawk), David Anhold (banner image)