The Zinks Mill property study area is a 254 acre tract located along and east of the North Fork Tye River less than 1 mile southeast of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Montebello, Virginia. This Nelson County property hosts ridges and a valley that are very near the Blue Ridge crest. An unusual facet of this property is that it happens to occur in two major ecological regions, the Northern Igneous Ridges, and the Northern Sedimentary and Metasedimentary Ridges. Each of these is underlain by dramatically different geologies, resulting in a uniquely biodiverse middle-to-high elevation landscape.

The goals of this project were:

➢ To better understand the ecological systems of the property, with particular attention paid to plants, birds, butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, and natural plant communities

➢ Build communicable place-based knowledge about the ecology of the study area

➢ Identify the unique groupings of plant species that associate with unique landscapes

➢ Investigate and sample the unique natural communities on the property and arrive at conclusions about their classifications (types), locations, and boundaries

➢ Inventory the birds of the property across multiple seasons

➢ Document other animals observed at the time of survey

➢ Synthesize findings with a report, map of natural plant communities, and lists of species

Our crew documented:

➢ 9 natural plant communities

➢ occurrences of two state and globally imperiled plant communities (Central Appalachian Low-elevation Seepage Swamp and Blue Ridge Oak-Hickory Woodland)

➢ 328 species of plants

➢ 11 county record plant species

➢ 82 species of birds

➢ 36 species of butterflies

➢ 23 species of dragonflies and damselflies

Noteworthy plant and animal species documented on the property include:

➢ First Nelson County record of the Southern Pygmy Clubtail dragonfly (Lanthus vernalis)

➢ A possible resident population of Red Crossbills (Loxia curvirostra)

➢ Healthy breeding population of Blackburnian Warbler (Setophaga fusca)

➢ Occurrence of the state-rare Bog Willow-herb (Epilobium leptophyllum)

➢ Large population of Coastal Plain-disjunct Blackfruit Clearweed (Pilea fontana)