Category: Education

Field Notes: DOF Supports Dominion Energy’s Project Plant It!

June 24, 2019 - by Sara Hunt, Project Plant It! Page Hutchinson, the DOF’s forest education specialist, shared her knowledge of trees with students who were enrolled in Dominion Energy’s Project Plant It! program. During the month of April, she visited Meriwether Lewis Elementary in Albemarle County and Thomas Jefferson Elementary in Louisa County. Her interactive presentations helped the students understand more about the products that come from trees and also about the important... Read More

Field Notes: What’s in the Woods Today? May 15, 2019

June 5, 2019 - Brush Piles and ‘Possums and Other Little Surprises By Area Forester Lisa Deaton As I was walking through a clearcut to help a landowner consider reforestation options, I saw an opossum cross a nearby dirt road. I thought to myself, “Surely I can outrun a ‘possum and take some photos.” However, I had to hop over logging debris and briars, while the opossum followed its well-worn path through the vines... Read More

Field Notes: What’s in the Woods Today? April 22, 2019

April 22, 2019 - by Area Forester Lisa Deaton Two Snake Day! Last week the sun was shining, and the fresh spring foliage and flowers were lovely.  The road in the photo above was a Gloucester County state road until Beaverdam Reservoir was built in 1989,  submerging a section of this road. Pawpaw blooms (Asimina triloba) Eastern redbud blooms can resemble tiny hummingbirds. (Cercis canadensis) Then I almost stepped on a copperhead snake heading... Read More

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

February 14, 2019 - Kissing Trees! by Area Forester Lisa Deaton Valentine’s Day seems like an appropriate time to share these images of “kissing” trees.  A tree, bark first, will slowly grow over stationary objects it encounters, such as nails, signs nailed to the tree, or ropes or chains.   I am guessing that these formations started when the branch of one tree encountered the trunk of the other tree. A sweetgum and a loblolly... Read More

Field Notes: What’s in the Woods Today ? December 21, 2018

December 21, 2018 - by Forester Lisa Deaton Surprises We expect to see Christmas trees at Christmas tree farms, but this decorated eastern red cedar is located on the edge of a 2-year old pine plantation. On a recent rainy day, the bald eagle below appeared to be hunting in a clearcut. One of my favorite things about this time of year on the Middle Peninsula is hearing the tundra swans fly overhead.   A... Read More

Field Notes: Whats in the Woods Today? November 27, 2018

November 27, 2018 - It’s Deer Time Again by Area Forester Lisa Deaton It is autumn in Virginia, so white-tailed deer are on the move again.  You may have noticed buck rubs on small trees similar to the one above and below. Bucks rub against trees to remove the velvet from their antlers when the antlers finish growing in September.  They continue to rub against trees and shrubs to mark their territory with scent... Read More

Field Notes: How Old is that Tree?

November 2, 2018 - by NOVA Area Forester Sarah Long The answer may surprise you. There is a common misperception that there is a direct correlation between a tree’s size and a tree’s age 100 percent of the time. The truth is, it is not usually possible to tell the age of tree just by looking at it (the exception is Eastern white pine which grows a new ring of branches for every year... Read More

Field Notes: What’s in the Woods Today? Sept. 5, 2018

September 5, 2018 - by Forester Lisa Deaton Fruit Every August, our agency assists the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries with their Mast Survey.  Mast is not just a word to describe the tall post on ships; it is also a term used to describe the fruit of trees and plants that provide food sources for wildlife. Trees do not bear the same amount of fruit (i.e. nuts) reliably from year to... Read More

Field Notes: Quail on the Comeback?

August 21, 2018 - by Forester Travis Tindell All photos courtesy of Dwight Dyle, DGIF Imagine a quiet morning. You stop and listen, the trees swaying gently as a breeze rolls through. The birds have been calling since before you woke up. The birdsong continues as you tune in, and then you hear it: the three-part whistle of the northern bobwhite. This bird is elusive and more often heard than seen. They call to... Read More

Field Notes: Castles in the Field

August 13, 2018 - by Senior Area Forester Scott Bachman In my youth I spent hours playing in the creeks around my home.  I grew up in an area where streams were full of rocks and fast-flowing, cool water.  Back in the day we would turn over the rocks and try to catch the crayfish lurking underneath.  The plan was to wait for the water to flush out the stirred up silt and then... Read More