An Assessment of Native Grasslands of the East-Central Piedmont of Virginia, 2022-2023

This post is adapted from a proposal submitted to the Virginia Native Plant Society, with Devin Floyd of CUH as co-principal investigator along with Dr. Mary Jane Epps of Mary Baldwin University. The Piedmont region of Eastern North America is considered the most lived-in ecological region on the continent. Modern humans have managed to occupy, […]

A brief natural history of Piedmont Granitic Flatrocks, and a visit to one in Virginia

by Drew Chaney April 25, 2022 The Piedmont Granitic Flatrock is an ecosystem endemic to the Piedmont region of the southeastern United States, found from Alabama north to south-central Virginia. It occurs on flat or gently sloped outcrops of granite and similar rocks, usually near streams which have eroded the rock bare over time. These […]

Restoring a Savanna: Report on a Prescribed Burn

by Ezra Staengl April 5, 2022 Smoke plumed into the sky, and trees crackled and popped as they were consumed by the roaring fire.  It was difficult to see through the smoke to the top of a small hill where the burn was happening, but occasionally massive tongues of flame flickered into view, reaching high […]

What is a voucher specimen and why do botanists collect them?

by Drew Chaney April 4, 2022 What is a voucher specimen? Over the past winter, the CUH field crew (Drew Chaney, Ezra Staengl, Jessie Wingo) were busy preparing voucher specimens from the 2021 field season for submission. Vouchers are plant specimens that are pressed, dried, and mounted in order to be labeled and stored in […]

Assessment of the Breeding Birds of Oakencroft Farm: 2020

Above: Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum), photo by Ezra Staengl. (Not taken at Oakencroft Farm.) Ezra StaenglMarch 4, 2021 Oakencroft Farm is a small, privately owned farm located in the Piedmont Uplands of central Virginia, near the town of Earlysville.  Greg Shriver and Sarah Goodwin of the University of Delaware surveyed Oakencroft’s breeding bird community in […]

Conservation Action in Early 2021

Unplanted Scaly blazing star (Liatris squarrosa) in a remnant natural grassland close to downtown Charlottesville. Image by D. Floyd February 24, 2021 Grasslands Conservation in our Communities. Because of growing concern in the conservation community, in January we made a public announcement that we intend to request the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and the […]

Winter Update 2021 –Design + Restoration Department

Heliopsis helianthoides seedheads in the snow. Photo credit: Devin Floyd February 23, 2021 In December and January, above ground plant growth is on pause and seeds are biding their time before they break dormancy and expose tender leaves to the sun. Those who tend the ground must use this calm and quiet time to rest […]

Winter Update 2021 – Biological Field Station

The dangling fruit of Celtis occidentalis (common hackberry) provides an extended offering of nutrient-rich food for birds even during the middle of winter. February 22, 2021 It’s been an unusually wet and icy winter thus far in the Central Virginia Piedmont, and we have been focused on writing, research, planning, and preparation for the coming […]