Don K of BRFAL leads Virginia Master Naturalists en-training on a field trip at Booker T Washington National Monument in Hardy Virginia
|Don K explains why the Fescue is a bully!|
|Rolls of hay are traditional feed for livestock in this part of Virginia|
|Booker T Washington born a slave in Franklin County Virginia, where he was Emancipated in 1863|
We learned from Don that those hay fields are faster producers than the traditional native grasses used years ago, because of this, the grassland birds that nest in the fields lay their eggs, hatch their young and then farmers harvest their hay (end of May) and the mortality rate for the chicks is close to 100%. The Fescue hay being brought up twice per annum versus once a year has a harsh impact on the future of the grassland birds.
There is a project going on near Appommattox VA where agricultural land is being restored to manage native grasslands. Grassland bird populations are declining rapidly as farmland has been converted for commercial and residential development, never again to go back to the birds natural and required habitat.