Survey of biota

Survey of biota

June 29, 2015.

The spring survey report is in. Since last year’s survey of biota did not begin until late May, it was necessary to have a complete picture of life at the quarries over a full season. The collage above, assembled by the folks at Center for Urban Habitats, shows a few highlights. The complete list of finds is here, at  Spring 2016 Survey Species List. Next week, the survey team will move to the “magnolia-pawpaw loop,” adjacent to the quarries site.

Here are a few photos of the CUH team at work, in the field (note the Flora of Virginia being used as a field guide), and in the lab. Happy new finds included: Liparis liliifolia (lily-leaved twayblade orchid), Oenothera laciniata (cutleaf evening primrose), woodsia obtusa (blunt-lobed woodsia), cystopteris tenuis (fragile fern).

Less welcome is the discovery of arthraxon hispidus (joint-head grass, an extremely invasive wavy-leaved grass sometimes called carpet grass—NOT wavy leaved basket-grass). It joins Chinese lespedeza, Japanese stilt grass, Japanese honeysuckle, autumn olive, and miscanthus as a threat to our native plant communities.


Here are some of the guys at work:

IMG_2450 copy           CUH team 4.16


CUH lab 4.16 - 1          CUH lab 4.16 - 1 (1)

With planting suspended until the more temperate days of early fall, controlling these invasives is now our highest priority. Hoping to get some volunteers to join in the effort.

Catching up

Catching up

June 15, 2016.

Our gig on Richmond PBS stations’ Virginia Home Grown May 31 was pure pleasure; hosts John Thompson and Peggy Singlemann made it easy. (There’s a link to it on our home page. Our part starts at about minute 28.)

On June 4, members of the Virginia Society of Herpetologists came to lift rocks and logs, make notes, photograph findings—and have lunch; their report on the slithy things found will be forthcoming.

The following day, we left for the annual conference of the American Public Gardens Association (APGA) at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami. There for four days we attended panels and workshops on, among other topics, native plant and pollinator garden education, plant collection policies and data management, private label garden shop products, and tourism collaborations—along the way making new friends and accumulating ideas. (Among which we learned that there is a lot of interest in “gardens after dark,” so we are awaiting a full moon to walk around our project and see if it’s magical, or just dangerous.) Botanical gardeners love their work, and we found them to be unfailingly warm, generous, and encouraging of our mom-and-pop project.

While we were gone, Fuzzy and his men delicately moved boulders in the conservation zone above Bern’s Run, the stream along the western side of the quarry, to create a new cliffside trail site that’s really pretty swell. The narrow wood chip path threads along for a couple of hundred yards. We plan no plant galleries or further disturbance here—it’s already beautiful, made even more wondrous by the rushing sound of a waterfall that can be heard only in this spot.

Progress on the visitor center continues, with the diorama sections of the train layout getting to be ever-better delineated, and the rebar for the planned solar-powered radiant floor now installed.


Upcoming events in June include visits by the Charlottesville Newcomers and by CATS (the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards), as well as Devin’s cataloging of the flora and fauna of the Magnolia Paw-paw Trail loop.