New and “Resurrected” Endemic Plants of Virginia’s Shale Region

Back in 2014, John Townsend, VNPS Director at Large and Staff Botanist for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, wrote about A Tale of Shale: Virginia’s New Violet describing unique plant populations in north central Virginia. In this new report, John provides an update on the Viola and the discovery of two new potential taxa… [Read More]

VNPS Grows Two Virginia Natural Area Preserves

Mount Joy Pond Natural Area Preserve Update: January 24, 2019. Several VNPS members visited our newly-acquired site and the adjacent DCR property. Check out the photo album on our Facebook page! We can’t wait to see what it looks like in the spring. The Virginia Native Plant Society has become a landowner! On October 23, 2018… [Read More]

VNPS Members Honored by Prince William Conservation Alliance

The Prince William Conservation Alliance recently honored two long-time members of the Virginia Native Plant Society, Nancy Vehrs and Jim Waggener, for their service, contributions, and advocacy for conservation. The Alliance works to explore, enjoy and protect our natural areas, and increase community involvement in stewardship opportunities. Nancy Vehrs received the 2018 Heart of Gold Award…. [Read More]

If You Plant It, They Will Come

“If you plant it they will come,” to paraphrase a line from the iconic Kevin Costner film, “Field of Dreams.” That was the hope of John Magee,  former Horticulture Chair of the Virginia Native Plant Society. John’s firm, Magee Design, partnered with Ashburn Village in Loudoun County in an effort to revitalize Tippecanoe Lake, one of 8… [Read More]

A Visit to The Cedars Natural Area Preserve Appreciation Days

I’m back from far southwest Virginia, and I have to share.  The Virginia Native Plant Society contributed to purchasing land to join together some of the disparate tracts of The Cedars Natural Area. In appreciation, Rob Evans, Natural Areas Protection Manager, Virginia Natural Heritage Program in the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), organized a… [Read More]

Return of the Natives

  My daughter, Chrissy, and I had been watching the 200-acre woodlands for months. First the “Land For Sale” sign went up; later the sign was marked “Sold,” then, most ominously, fluorescent orange flagging-tape marked the trees. The lovely wooded site was about to become a shopping center. The year was 2005, and a year… [Read More]

Best Management Practices for Lawn Care

Important decisions about how to maintain a lawn area have received a lot of press as ideas  change about the ways we use, and treat, this part of the landscape. Rod Simmons spoke on the subject recently, and has kindly agreed to share answers to some of the follow-up questions from his presentation at the… [Read More]

Landscape Design for Biodiversity Education and Restoration

Part I.  Hope ~Paying attention to local natural systems teaches us how to bring forth the hidden potential of nature in areas where others have lost hope.  During our ecosystem surveys one of the primary things we find is hope. Although 300 years of landscape degradation have had a profound negative effect on the biodiversity… [Read More]

Wetlands

I cringe when the word ”Improve”, or “Improvement” is used about land. It’s applied, of course, to describe the process that adapts land for human uses such as farming or construction. This isn’t improvement in any conventional sense of the word. In the 500 or so year history of European use of American land, the… [Read More]

Take A Walk On The Wild Side: Travilah Barrens

Standing in a cul-de-sac of the development, where every lawn was manicured to within an inch of its struggling life, it was impossible not to think of the song. The crowd gathered for the Annual Solstice Walk on December 20 listened carefully to an explanation of what they were about to see ‘on the other… [Read More]