Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Kudzu and bamboo and privet! Oh my! New list identifies invasive plants in Virginia

National Invasive Species Awareness Week runs through Saturday
Can you identify an invasive species?
PR 02.25.15 RICHMOND — Virginians considering adding English ivy, golden bamboo or Japanese barberry to their yards may want to reconsider. These plants — and 87 others — are on the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s new list of non-native invasive plants of the state
While the list is helpful to land managers and conservationists, home gardeners can use it to make wise decisions about landscaping. The list is for educational purposes only and has no regulatory authority.
“Planting anything on this list could affect adjacent natural areas,” said Kevin Heffernan, DCR Natural Heritage stewardship biologist. “Gardeners should think twice about planting anything that might be aggressive in their yard, especially if they live near a park or a forest.”
Invasive plants can displace native plant species, reduce wildlife habitat and alter ecosystems. They threaten natural areas, parks and forests. In the United States, they cost an estimated $34 billion annually in economic loss.
Invasive, non-native plant species typically:
•    Grow and mature rapidly.
•    Produce seed prolifically.
•    Are highly successful at germination and colonization.
•    Outcompete native species.
•    Are expensive to remove or control.
DCR Natural Heritage scientists used a risk-assessment protocol to determine an invasiveness rank for each species listed. Species were assigned a high, medium or low level of invasiveness in Virginia.
The list also includes species that may not be established in Virginia but are known to be invasive in habitats similar to those found here. These are referred to as “early-detection” species. If they are discovered in Virginia, the goal for these species is eradication to prevent their establishment and spread. People who spot these in Virginia should notify DCR.
One example of an early-detection species is wavyleaf grass (Oplismenus hirtellus subspecies undulatifolius). It’s been seen in nine Northern Virginia counties and has the potential to become widespread. A native of southern Europe and Southeast Asia, wavyleaf was first discovered in the United States in 1996 in Maryland. It ranks as highly invasive on DCR’s list.
Monitoring and preventing the spread of invasive plants is a major focus for DCR scientists and land managers. This work is often conducted with the help of volunteers. The Virginia Invasive Species Management Plan outlines challenges and strategies associated with combating invasive plants and animals. 
Many invasive plant species arrived as packing material or seed contaminants and became established. The spread of plants such as Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum), kudzu (Pueraria montana variety lobata) and common reed (Phragmites australis subspecies australis) has wreaked havoc on Virginia natural areas.
Links to more information

Thursday, February 12, 2015

VMN Presentation at Booker T. Washington National Monument March 12, 2015

Virginia Master Naturalist Presentation at Booker T. Washington National Monument

 The Blue Ridge Foothills and Lakes Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists is very pleased to announce the first in a series of guest speakers to present an interesting topic concerning nature which is open to the public.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

How Waterwise is your landscape?


Mark your calendars now and plan to attend “Your Waterwise Landscape” a community education event from 1 to 4PM on Sunday, April 12 at the W.E. Skelton 4-H Center.
How Waterwise is your landscape?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

2015 Spring Basic Training Application

UPDATE: Due to a lack of applicants we are unable to hold the Spring 2015 basic training. Thank you to those who showed interest, we hope we can fill minimum for a class next time!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Do you DRBA?

Now's your chance!
DRBA First Saturday Outing Hike and Tour at Reynolds Homestead 

Feb 7, 2014
Reynolds Homestead
463 Homestead Lane, Critz, VA 24082
(GPS 36.640596, -80.146542)

Free and open to the public

Meet at Reynolds Homestead in Critz, Virginia for a one-mile loop hike and tours of the historic house and grounds. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

2nd Thursday Science Talk at VMNH

2nd Thursday Science Talk at VMNH

December 11, 2014
Virginia Museum of Natural History
21 Starling Avenue, Martinsville, VA 24112 

This event is free and open to the public

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wood Duck Box Inspection at Smith Mountain Lake State Park

On December 3rd a crack team of wood duck box specialists from the BRFAL Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists was dispatched to the beautiful Smith Mountain Lake State Park with the mission of inspecting as many wood duck boxes as possible for any signs of wood duck residency (or any other critters), effect any minor repairs to the boxes and reconfirm GPS locations of the boxes.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Birds of a Feather Flock Together!

We are thrilled to see that the BRFAL "Christmas for the Critters" tree not only got our vote in the Parade of Trees at Mariners Landing, but it inspired a family to follow suit!
They wrote:
After visiting and voting for the "BRFAL Christmas for Critters Tree" at the parade of trees our family came immediately home and decorated a tree right outside the dining room window.  We were quickly rewarded with a winter flock coming to dine."
Thank you Desnise P for sharing these photos and info with us, as it has made our day.
Please VOTE for our tree -  the birds will thank you, and we thank you!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Christmas for the Critters Part 2 & something that might shock you!

More photos from the day of decorating the Christmas for the Critters Tree for the Parade of Trees at Mariners Landing.
What started out as a simple chopped down invasive species became a beautiful "Christmas for the Critters" Tree!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Christmas for the Critters!

No, really it is!
VOTE FOR OUR TREE IN THE PARADE OF TREES at Mariners Landing in Huddleston Virginia!
The BRFAL TEAM (Shhhh Don't let anyone know that Jolly Old St Nick lent a hand in the process - around here he goes by Carl)