Category: Education!!

Field Notes: Good Green, Bad Green

April 7, 2020 - By Ellen Powell, Conservation Educator The calendar and the plants agree – spring has arrived in central Virginia! Patches of green among the leaf litter mean spring wildflowers are making their annual appearance. Often called “ephemerals,” for their short-lived bloom time, those in flower this week include pennywort (Obolaria virginica), star chickweed (Stellaria pubera) and wild geranium (Geranium maculatum). Unfortunately, the shrub layer of many hardwood forests reveals a “dark... Read More

Field Notes: Finding Green in the Winter Woods

March 24, 2020 - By Ellen Powell, Conservation Educator   Central Virginia’s hardwood forests in winter are a study in neutrals; everything is some shade of brown or gray. But look closely at the forest floor, and you’ll see accents of green that hint at spring to come. Low-sprawling Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) displays its fronds all winter. The plant is so-named not only for its holiday greenery, but for its leaflets, shaped like... Read More

Fired Up about Camp

February 28, 2020 - Did you know there’s a camp where teens get to fight fire? Not a scary western wildfire, but a well-behaved one that actually improves the environment? Last summer, a group of teenagers at Camp Woods & Wildlife learned firsthand how to manage a prescribed fire. These intrepid campers donned fire-retardant gear and set about preparing for a small understory burn. First, they raked a fire line down to bare soil... Read More

Field Notes: What’s in the Woods? Daffodils!

February 25, 2020 - by Area Forester Lisa Deaton Daffodils, Narcissus spp., are always a welcome sight — they are nature’s colorful announcement that spring is near! When we encounter daffodils in the middle of the woods, they are often a sign of an abandoned homestead. In the photos below, the flowers appear to surround an old shed or well (left), and these blooms near an old brick foundation (right) have thrived under 70... Read More

Field Notes: What’s in the Woods? Cold Bullfrogs Don’t Jump 

February 3, 2020 - by Area Forester Lisa Deaton For many of us who work in the natural resources arena, it is a joy to see school buses arrive for an outdoor field trip. Throughout the state, the Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF) staff partner with many school divisions and local, state and federal natural resource agencies to provide elements of meaningful watershed educational experiences, also called MWEEs, for students. It is especially nice... Read More

Field Notes: What’s in the Woods? Best of Summer 2019

January 16, 2020 - By Area Forester Lisa Deaton A Round-up of Interesting Moments & Encounters in the Woods from Summer 2019 When a local deadline for forest land use reports passed in late fall, I had time to share photos from the past few months. Note:  Land Use Assessment is available in many Virginia counties (but not all) for property owners with 20 or more acres of woods.  You can check with your... Read More

Field Notes: What’s In The Woods Today? September 2, 2019

September 13, 2019 - By Project Learning Tree Coordinator Page Hutchinson Look A Little Closer… Although I work for the Virginia Department of Forestry, my job doesn’t actually allow me much time in the forest. Being a tree hugger from way back, I take as many opportunities as I can to get in the forest. On the recent Labor Day holiday, my friend Karen and I went for a hike on the Graves Mill... Read More

Field Notes: What’s In The Woods Today? August 14, 2019

September 11, 2019 - By Area Forester Lisa Deaton Dung Beetles A local farmer asked me to examine a 40-year-old stand of loblolly pines to see if they were large enough to harvest. A corn field was located in the center of the property and we noticed some very fresh deer scat along the field edge. On the way back to the truck we saw something moving on the ground. It was a dung... Read More

Field Notes: A Rare Tree Adventure

September 10, 2019 - By Emerald Ash Borer Coordinator Meredith Bean It was August 27, very late in the season to be treating ash for protection against the emerald ash borer (EAB), and we were about to do just that. With the state’s most active “Big Tree hunter” as our guide through the swamps of Cypress Bridge Natural Area Preserve, we hopped into canoes to find the largest Carolina ash trees on record in... Read More

Field Notes: What’s In The Woods Today? August 7, 2019

August 13, 2019 - By Area Forester Lisa Deaton Spiders August is spider month. If you have ever been the first person in line on a hiking trail, you have probably experienced the feeling of a spider web wrapping around your face. Just about the time you remove that web, another one lands in its place. By late summer, these “shell-backed” spiders (above), Micrathena gracilis, seem to have taken over the forest and cobwebs... Read More