Registered  Location Sponsor
November 16, 2000 James City County John Clayton Chapter


The Greenhaven Registry Site, located in the York River watershed with a deep ravine and buffering slopes, is an example of calcareous ravine communities of the Coastal Plain of Virginia. The soils in these areas are high in calcium and other nutrients derived from the fossil shells in the substrate. This condition provides habitat for mountain coastal disjuncts, plants that are primarily found in the western Piedmont and Mountain regions. The site is on private property and is not open to the public.

From the January, 2001 John Clayton chapter newsletter Claytonia:

A chance meeting between our president. Michael Sawyer, and a landowner in Norge in James City County in 1998 has led to the recognition of Greenhaven as the 16th Virginia Native Plant Society Registry Site. Wayne Moyer requested a plant survey of his property, and Michael, with the help of a team of John Clayton members, soon realized the botanical significance of the site.

Located in the York River watershed, a deep ravine and its buffering slopes encompass the area selected for registry The calcareous ravines of this area in the Yorktown formation may represent remnant flora from 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. Unanswered questions about the nature of this type of habitat make its preservation important to the scientific world

Here in the spring a mass display of Panax trifolius (dwarf ginseng), Viola conspersa (dog violet ) and Orontium aquaticum (golden-club ) delight the eye of the wanderer in the surrounding mixed hardwood forest. Selective logging in the 1980’s left Fagus grandifolia (American beech), and allowed Liriodendron tulipapifera (tuliptree ) to emerge. Such hardwood bottomlands are fast disappearing and, indeed, a neighboring residential area offers the all too familiar scene of cleared land.

Wayne and Dolores Moyer moved to Greenhaven in 1995 after retirement. Wayne’s career moved from high school science and biology teacher to a Ph.D. in developmental biology, and then to teaching in several colleges. A move to Reston, VA to direct the National Association of Biology Teachers and later to serve as Secondary Science Coordinator for Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland brought him closer to this area.

The Moyer’s daughter and son-in-law, Kim and Fred Scholpp are historical interpreters at the Jamestown settlement. They strongly share Kim’s parents’ conservation views which Wayne has so impressively expressed in the following statement. “We don’t view ourselves as part of a movement, conservation or otherwise, but simDlv as people who live lightlv upon the land and wish to pass it on better than we found it – in the sense of being on the path to natural recovery from previous uses. We believe in the interconnected web of existence and seek to live within that web. This is a religious commitment for us.”

The John Clayton Chapter thanks you Wayne and Dolores Moyer.

From the March, 2001 VNPS Bulletin:

The John Clayton Chapter has presented the 16th Virginia Native Plant Society Registry Site, Greenhaven, in Norge in James City County.

The area selected for registry is a deep ravine and its buffering slopes. As spring approaches one can find masses of Viola conspersa (dog violet), Panax trifolius (dwarf ginseng) and Orontium aquaticum (goldenclub). In this hardwood bottomland selective logging in the 1980s left Fagus grandifolia (American beech) and allowed Liriodendron tulipifera (tuliptree) to emerge.

This special habitat which is in the York River watershed is an example of the calcareous ravine communities in the coastal plain of Virginia. In these areas are found distinct flora termed mountain/coastal disjuncts because they are primarily found in the western piedmont and mountain regions and, while seldom found along the fall-line and coastal plain, do inhabit the calcareous ravines. The soils which give rise to these plant communities are high in calcium and other nutrients derived from substrate that contains fossil shells of the Yorktown Formation. The chapter’s other registered site. Grove Creek, is cut by an even deeper ravine and fossil shells have been found there.

These special ravines are important to the scientific world because they may represent remnant flora from the period ca. 8,000-10,000 years ago when mountain species probably occurred all the way to the sea. Several interesting botanical questions arise and demand answers, thus the preservation of such habitats is essential to the ongoing knowledge of our diverse natural resources.

Greenhaven is located in the Norge area north of Williamsburg.

Williamsburg, Virginia

About the VNPS Native Plant Site Registry