Native Gardens and Autumn Cleanup – A New Piedmont Aesthetic

Luna moth wrapped in a leaf Thinking about “cleaning up” those autumn native flora? Hold that thought! I will nearly always encourage actions in the landscaping arena that strike a balance between conserving biodiversity and satisfying human aesthetics. Gratefully, modern gardening and landscaping aesthetics are looking to local contexts more, and relying upon observation, inquiry, […]

Notes From the Field: Khabira Wise’s Gardens, A Story of Native Ecosystem Modeling

By Ezra Staengl, Center for Urban Habitats Khabira Wise’s gardens in northern Albemarle County are a stunning example of the Center for Urban Habitat’s (CUH) unique approach to landscaping through native ecosystem modeling.  When planning a garden, CUH considers factors such as geology, elevation, aspect, and lighting in order to decide which native plant community […]

Notes from the Field: Biological Survey in Orange County

By Ezra Staengl, Center for Urban Habitats We looked around at the hard greens and browns of the heath, breathing in the crisp morning air.  Today, despite being only late July, was one of the first days that you could begin to smell the cool, musty scents of fall.  The Center for Urban Habitats was […]

Ecosystem Modeling in Landscape Design

Some Basic Concepts as employed by Center for Urban Habitats  Paying attention to local natural systems teaches us how to bring forth the hidden potential of nature in areas where others have lost hope. –D.Floyd  Plants grow where they grow for a reason. In order to adequately accomplish so-called “Native” landscape design and installation, CUH […]

Winter Birds: Part 2

Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus purpureus) Ezra was the sole member of the Bird Team on the second effort of the week. The first half of the day was chilly and windy, and Ezra covered a wide variety of habitats from upland ridgelines to deep ravines. US-Virginia-Charlottesville-38.0x-78.5, Albemarle, Virginia, USJan 31, 2017 8:05 AM – 12:05 […]

Winter Birds: Part 1

5 Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa) were noted Ezra, Theo and Joanna performed a half day survey of Avian Fauna at one of our ongoing biological inventory sites. Their goal was to begin the documentation of winter-time species. Quarry Gardens, Schuyler, VA, Nelson, Virginia, USJan 30, 2017 8:33 AM – 12:13 PMProtocol: Traveling2.0 mile(s)23 species Canada […]

Measuring the Benefits of Ecosystem Modeling: Step One

By Isabella Gorman 10th grade student, Charlottesville Renaissance School – The students of Charlottesville’s Renaissance School made their second visit on Monday, March 7, to the IX Art Park to begin studying the Center for Urban Habitats (CUH), native ecosystem installation.  Under the guidance of Anna Minutella, science teacher, and Dr. Becky Wilbur, dean of academics […]

Spotted Salamander, Ambystoma maculatum

We find ourselves at the edge of winter again and critters are on the move. Among these are the Spotted Salamander, Ambystoma maculatum, as it journey’s from it’s fossorial woodland home to the vernal pools of its breeding grounds. The migration has already occurred in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont. The pools there are full […]