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WHAT AND WHERE IS THE PIEDMONT?

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our services

Center for Urban Habitats (CUH) advances biodiversity education and conservation by offering the following services:

Biological Survey and Assessment

We conduct education-based biological surveys for private and public entities. We offer this service on a variety of scales, from simple single-day natural resource assessments, to detailed and involved plant community classification and mapping. Want to know what natural resources you have on your piece of land and how best to manage them? Want to know the unique natural history story that your landscape holds? Want an exhaustive list of all biota on your property? Our surveys accomplish these goals.

Custom Interactive Web Maps
We create custom state-of-the-art interactive tours of the geography, flora, and fauna of your property. We call this tool the "Explorer". It is built upon rigorous biological survey and features a dynamic map interface that is embedded with text, images, maps, and audio. The Explorer offers a simple and easy-to-share resource so you can introduce friends, family, and colleagues to the unique ecosystems, plants, animals, fungi, and geology of your landscape. Optimized for mobile devices, the Explorer can be enjoyed from your desktop or brought with you into the field.
Native Landscape Design and Installation

We are passionate about conservation landscaping. CUH creates and restores native plant communities using a strict ecological model, for private and public entities. The installations double as biodiversity education efforts by involving clients in all aspects of the project, to the extent desired. An identifying characteristic of our projects is that we create gardens and landscapes built of rich plant communities that are modeled after natural plant communities nearby.

Our designs and installations integrate native systems and cultural landscapes

Training, Programming, and Consulting

CUH creates programming related to our projects, for schools, clubs, and other public and private groups, all focused on local ecology and biodiversity. We work regularly with private and public groups and individuals to provide quality consulting, training, and education on matters pertaining to natural resources in the Piedmont. In addition to natural history training and curricula development, we offer custom natural history and ecology presentations and expeditions.

Education and Publication

We publish materials related to native plants, animals, and habitats. These include presentations, flyers, posters, articles, exhibits, and interpretive signs. Well researched creative writing and high quality illustration are the backbone of the publications. Our vision is to help foster ecological literacy in the general public through our services and publications. A signature feature of our publications is that, while they may pertain to a specific species or habitat, the information published draws attention to connections and plant community dynamics as they exist on local landscapes.

Research and Conservation

We offer research project solutions that explore the relationships between biodiversity renewal and urban ecosystem restoration. These include detailed comparative analysis of natural and anthropogenic contexts. We are also involved in many local and regional conservation efforts. For example, we are engaged with a developer and the community to install wildlife road crossings at an ecologically sensitive site in Albemarle County. We are also directly involved in assisting municipalities inventory, assess, and track biological resources.

Local Genotype Plant Nursery

We are in the beginning phases of creating a network of local genotype native plant growers. We hope this will not only fulfill all of CUH's native plant installation needs, but also provide the general public with quality local native plant material. We currently grow around 4,000 plants and our network of growers, including Hummingbird Hill Native Nursery, Farfields Farm Native Nursery, and others, produces several thousand more. While options for purchasing our Local+Native plants are limited, we do offer our surplus of plants to the public for sale throughout the season. In 2018 the general public will also have access to plants that were produced with CUH seeds at the nurseries mentioned above. Please contact us if you wish to see a list of available species.

Trail Design and Installation

Our trail designs integrate cultural and natural landscape elements. The language of your landscape drives the design. We aim to create an experience of tranquility while maximizing the ability of users to learn more about the natural and cultural resources on the landscape. CUH employs a unique trail design approach that doubles as a biological survey and cultural resource inventory. With this approach CUH identifies experiential hot-spots and unique opportunities previously unseen. Our trails utilize existing historic paths/roads and allow unique cultural and natural resources to direct navigation. We route trails with the contours to minimize impact and reduce erosion and always try to involve the clients in a way that fosters biodiversity education.

About us

Mission: Center for Urban Habitats advances biodiversity education and conservation in the Piedmont Ecoregion

Vision

CUH envisions a society where people value learning and share with one another their understanding of local and regional ecosystems.

  • CUH provides opportunities for people to learn about the multitude of wonders in their yards, parks, forests, fields, and streams.
  • CUH advances knowledge through place-based education, scientific inquiry, and high quality publication.
  • CUH ensures the spread of ecological principles through partnerships with plant nurseries, education institutions, county and state natural heritage groups, private landowners, and many other public and private entities.
  • CUH inspires people to think deeply and critically by unveiling the patterns that frequently hide right before there eyes.
  • CUH believes that a rigorous process involving cycles of Inquiry and Discovery is perhaps the most important facet of advancing education and conservation. “Questioning” is the key, which is why we chose the question mark butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis) as our logo.
Story

Center for Urban Habitats (CUH) is a small business located in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was founded in 2012 by Devin Floyd, naturalist, archaeologist, artist, and educator. The business began as a small collection of projects that were education focused, including the design and installation of “wildlife gardens” at a couple of local public schools. The business now serves a wide variety of public and private entities, big and small.

CUH is currently owned and operated by Rachel and Devin Floyd and a part time staff of 10 skilled technicians. Rachel’s passion for plants and animals came from exploring the Rocky Mountains as a child and teenager. She quickly recognized the value of sharing her unique way of seeing the wild, even in urban spaces, with other people. Rachel is able to transfer the wisdom inherent in natural systems to both landscape design and ecological education, and this continues to help define CUH’s unique approach. Devin grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northwest North Carolina and southwest Virginia. Eventually he recognized that in order for a person to truly be a good steward, they must understand and care about the places they live and visit. Inspiring in others a passion for learning and sharing knowledge in the outdoors became the basis for Devin’s co-founding of partner organization, Blue Ridge Discovery Center, in 2008. Not long thereafter, it was the same theme that spawned Center for Urban Habitats in the Central Virginia Piedmont.

CUH’s development was also inspired by the recognition that better local and regional biodiversity assessment, documentation, and education was needed. All-to-frequently a conservation or education need that is focused on local ecology becomes too generalized, and so much so that the outcome is questionable. Place-based inquiry, through the scientific method, tells us that each place has a unique ecology. It is an extensive patchwork of unique local ecologies that create the larger ecosystems and landscape-scale patterns we all recognize. By paying attention to the unique qualities of each Place, we generate ecologically relevant and applicable information, thereby propelling our mission of advancing biodiversity education and conservation. A hands-on, community-rooted, and place-based approach to spreading knowledge was developed and eventually manifested itself in the unique services offered by CUH today.

Contact us

Contact Information

187 Bryan Court
Charlottesville, VA 22902

Email: [email protected]

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The construction of this website was made possible by the generous support of Jobes Builders, Sustainable Residential Construction and Design.(434) 760-0858