Winter Finch Invasion Update!

Above: A male Evening Grosbeak feeds on boxelder seeds along the James River in southern Albemarle County, VA. Drew Chaney December 4th, 2020 This fall/winter has been bountiful for birders so far, as the east has seen a major irruption of boreal birds, with large numbers of Red-breasted Nuthatches, Purple Finches and Pine Siskins reaching […]

CUH Spotted Salamander Conservation effort

2 spotted salamanders crossing Polo Grounds Road in Charlottesville, Virginia

By Devin Floyd 12/3/2020 We are so excited to be featured on the nationally syndicated show, “Untamed”, featuring the wonders of salamanders, and the threats they face. The focal point will be the spotted salamander, and a conservation success story at a salamander migration site in Central Virginia. Here’s the story that will frame the […]

Late Autumn Prairie

View of Piedmont Prairie

By Devin Floyd 12/1/2020 The video relays a simple glimpse of the beauty of a Piedmont grassland in the dormant season. The footage was captured recently by one of our volunteers and supporters (Bill Sykes). The view is dominated by the characteristic indicator species of high quality grasslands, including little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and early […]

Finches are Moving In!

Female purple finch

Theo Staengl November 5th, 2020 This fall and winter, we’re expecting many more finches in the area because the pines in the northern states and Canada did not produce as many seeds as usual. Many finches eat pine seeds, so when there isn’t a good crop, they travel further south to look for food. Pine […]

Impacts on Animals and Systems: A Misguided way of using Native Plants

Section of a natural grassland in Albemarle County, with about 125 species in the view, and 15-20 plants per square foot.

Also perpetuating the issue of species and habitat loss in the Piedmont is the idea and practice that an individual plant can support wildlife. It cannot, and many well-intentioned people and organizations are falling into a trap. A plant may attract wildlife, and for some reason we assume it is doing something good beyond attraction. […]

Monarch and Viceroy Butterflies

Monarch butterfly

The monarch (first image) and viceroy butterflies (second image) were named in honor of a force that diminished both human diversity and native habitat integrity. These beautiful insects fight for their very existence while bearing the names of their killers! As botanist Justin Robinson (@countrygentlemancooks) so eloquently explains, a powerful remnant of colonialism exists in […]

Wild potato-vine

Wild potato-vine

By Rachel Floyd  July 28, 2020 Ipomoea pandurata, commonly called wild potato-vine, manroot, or man-of the-earth is a morning glory species that is native to the eastern half of North America. Grocery store sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are a close relative native to Central and South America. Like sweet potato, wild potato-vine has a large […]