New City Park Land! Heyward Community Forest

Center for Urban Habitats begins Biological Assessment of newly acquired Charlottesville Park Land in Albemarle County, Va. By Devin Floyd, Center for Urban Habitats November 11, 2019 Center for Urban Habitats (CUH) is excited to be partnering with The City of Charlottesville to accomplish a baseline biological assessment of a tract of land very close […]

The Prairie of Belmont Plaza: More than Just a Natural Planting

By Devin Floyd, Center for Urban Habitats October 17, 2019 This little patch of prairie in Charlottesville tells a story that is far deeper than the narrative of conservation landscaping and pollinators. It traces and honors an ancient path, and is a tribute to the lost culture, animals, and ecosystems of the Piedmont. Indeed, any […]

A Visit to the Lewis Prairie

By Jolene Esposito, Center for Urban Habitats October 9, 2019 As Marketing Manager, I am responsible for managing and promoting CUH’s content. I also think it is valuable (and educational!) to know what each team within CUH does as part of their work. Two weeks ago I joined Ezra Staengl, Emily Luebke, and Drew Chaney […]

Flora Feature: Yellow False Foxglove (Aureolaria)

By Jessie Wingo, Center for Urban Habitats Yellow False Foxglove Aureolaria spp. Family: Orobanchaceae   A couple weeks ago, while working as a trail technician for the Albemarle County Parks Department, I was tasked with checking out the trails at Walnut Creek Park [Central Virginia] to ensure they were safe and usable. I’d been walking […]

Research: Native Lawn Study Begins 2019

By Rachel Floyd, Center for Urban Habitats Ever since a grass tapis vert (green carpet) was installed in the palace gardens of Versailles in the 18th century, manicured lawn grass has been in fashion. Americans are particularly smitten, having rolled out some 40 million acres of lawn across the continental United States, making turf grass […]

Granite Flatrock Barren

By Drew Chaney, Center for Urban Habitats The Southern Piedmont Granitic Flatrock is a globally rare plant community restricted to the Piedmont from Alabama north to south-central Virginia, occurring on exposed bedrock outcrops of granite and related rocks, where streams have eroded the rock smooth over time, creating a unique ecological niche where lichens and […]

Flora Feature: Woodland Sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus)

By Cinder Stanton, Center for Urban Habitats Woodland Sunflower Helianthus divaricatus Family: Asteraceae   Average Height: 4 feet (range is 2-6 feet) Bloom Time: June through August Elevation Range: All elevations in the Piedmont Geologic/Soil Associations: Typically found on bedrock that is rich in cations (rocks with dark minerals, such as metabasalt, gabbro, amphibolite, biotite-plagioclase […]

Exciting Finds in Charlottesville’s Vernal Pools

By Drew Chaney, Center for Urban Habitats American Toad Anaxyrus americanus Family: Bufonidae   One late March day, I decided to check out the new boardwalk that was recently installed at Greenbrier Park in north Cville. It was pleasant outside, the birds were active, and spring peepers were calling incessantly. The boardwalk was added as […]

Creature Feature: American Woodcock

By Ezra Staengl, Center for Urban Habitats American Woodcock Scolopax minor Family: Scolopacidae Other common names: Timberdoodle, Labrador Twister, Big-eye, Bog Snipe, Bog Sucker, Night Partridge   I stood at dusk in the middle of a field near the North Fork of the Rockfish River in Nelson County. The cool, evening air blew gently around […]

A Natural History of Charlottesville: Project Update February 2019

By Devin Floyd, Center for Urban Habitats (Above: Blue Ridge-Piedmont Basic Woodland by Devin Floyd) Between day jobs and family life, a dedicated crew of volunteer experts is chipping away at laying the groundwork for an interactive online resource that tells the rich story of Charlottesville’s Natural History. Here’s a quick project update. Aquatic Macroinvertebrates […]