Virginia Outdoors Foundation

Virginia Outdoors Foundation The Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve (BRMNAP) is a 2,283 acre property owned and operated by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF).

BRMNAP is actively managed to protect its unique ecology, while maximizing its scientific/educational potential.

Operating as usual

At VOF we protect places that connect people to the outdoors. And, as we are finding at our Bull Run Mountains Preserve ...
10/12/2021

At VOF we protect places that connect people to the outdoors. And, as we are finding at our Bull Run Mountains Preserve in the post below, sometimes we are connecting people of the past to people of the present through the outdoors.

Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!

To celebrate, our Preserve Manager, Joe, wanted to share with you all the story behind an interesting piece of chert (aka flint) in our collections that was just discovered this past year 😊

While it may look at first to be "just a stone" - upon closer inspection, one would begin to notice clear clues that it is actually a significant artifact. It displays a long, finely worked edge that was created intentionally through an artful process known as stone "knapping".

This stone was modified into a type of scraper tool, most likely used to prepare animal hides over an estimated 2,000 years ago by the First Nation's people who called Bull Run Mountains home!

Interestingly, this chert is a type of stone not naturally found here, but probably arrived via an ancient trade route that passed right through Thoroughfare Gap (which is still an important regional travel corridor today). Our experts believe that this particular chert most likely hailed from a deposit in the lower Shenandoah Valley (over 100 miles away!).

One of our objectives here at VOF's Preserve at Bull Run Mountains is to continue the tradition of Virginia's first geologists - the Native Americans who were the first people to discover, study, and utilize our region's natural resources. We aim to continue to learn more about this landscape, through many different lenses and ways of knowing - and share this beauty, wonder, and knowledge with our communities and world.

To reach this goal and honor this history, we are currently working to develop a dedicated space to ensure that we can safely keep and share such historic artifacts that speak of this diversely peopled past.

Note: This stone tool was found in March of 2021 by Archeological Society of Virginia (ASV) Volunteer, Jackie Cuyler during an Archaeological Survey in our South Section.

📸: Joe Villari

#indigenouspeoplesday
#diverselypeopledpast #makinghistoryourstory #firstnations #archeology #archeologicalsocietyofvirginia

Thanks to our partners at The Conservation Fund and Fort A.P. Hill, we continue to protect precious farmland in a fast-d...
10/08/2021
Farm Protected Near Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia | The Conservation Fund

Thanks to our partners at The Conservation Fund and Fort A.P. Hill, we continue to protect precious farmland in a fast-developing part of Virginia and keep our military bases safe from encroachment.

Farmland Protected Near Fort A.P. Hill Supports Military Readiness Preventing development of the working farmland was a top priority for environmental protection and nearby Army installation operations CAROLINE COUNTY, Va. — Today, The Conservation...

The Town of Blacksburg Government recently accepted 190 acres on Brush Mountain from the New River Land Trust, adding 6 ...
10/04/2021
Brush Mountain land adds to Blacksburg's recreational amenities

The Town of Blacksburg Government recently accepted 190 acres on Brush Mountain from the New River Land Trust, adding 6 miles of multi-use trails for the community. The property was purchased with a grant to NRLT from VOF, and will be protected with a VOF easement. Said Town Manager Marc Verniel, “This is really a partnership between the community, local nonprofits, town and county governments and just volunteers in the community to make this happen. No one entity could have done it on their own. It’s just a good example of a good community project.”

Those associated lauded the cooperation of numerous groups and volunteers to get the project to where it's at relatively quickly.

09/25/2021

We are officially going cuckoo over these beautiful early-fall weekends 🐦

Though sometimes challenging to get a visual of this species, the song of the yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) should strike most as both familiar and sublime.

This interesting, if somewhat cryptic, species has certainly captured our human imaginations. As they are colloquially known in much of the South as a rain crow or storm crow - such names and folklore attributed to this cryptic bird due to the fact that people tend to hear their song during the "dog days of summer" when big storms are common and because the cuckoo has a tendency to call out in reaction to loud noises, such as thunder.

🔊 and 📸 beautifully captured on the Preserve by @smithsoniannmnh Ornithologist, and VOF Research Associate, Jacob Saucier.

#cuckoo #yellowbilledcuckoo #birdsofinstagram #birdsofvirginia #naturalsound #birdcall #birdsong

Thanks to our friends and partners over at Chesapeake Bay Program  for featuring our beloved VOF Cultural History Interp...
09/25/2021
Black history lives on in a mountain region just outside Washington D.C. | Chesapeake Bay Program

Thanks to our friends and partners over at Chesapeake Bay Program for featuring our beloved VOF Cultural History Interpreter, Barinaale Dube, and her VIVID tours that bring our Bull Run Mountains' Black history to life!

Read more here!

https://www.chesapeakebay.net/news/blog/black_history_lives_on_in_a_mountain_region_just_outside_washington_d.c

#localhistory #ushistory #naacp #howarduniversity #blackhistory #africanamerican #blackstoriesmatter #blackhistoryisamericanhistory

History interpreter gives a tour of the Bull Run Mountains

One of our pumpkin spiders, or orange marbled orb weavers (Araneus marmoreus), wanted to be sure that we wished everyone...
09/22/2021

One of our pumpkin spiders, or orange marbled orb weavers (Araneus marmoreus), wanted to be sure that we wished everyone a pleasant autumnal equinox 🍂

This harmless, absolutely BEAUTIFUL spider offers us a great (totally free!) pest management service - and looks good while doing it 😍

As this species matures, their abdomens orange coloration becomes more pronounced and peaks in the month of October. So be sure to keep an eye out this fall while leaf viewing and try to also spot one of these friendly little living jewels 😊

📸: Joe Villari

#autumnalequinox #fall #autumn #fallleaves #pumpkin #jackolantern #seasons

One of our pumpkin spiders, or orange marbled orb weavers (Araneus marmoreus), wanted to be sure that we wished everyone a pleasant autumnal equinox 🍂

This harmless, absolutely BEAUTIFUL spider offers us a great (totally free!) pest management service - and looks good while doing it 😍

As this species matures, their abdomens orange coloration becomes more pronounced and peaks in the month of October. So be sure to keep an eye out this fall while leaf viewing and try to also spot one of these friendly little living jewels 😊

📸: Joe Villari

#autumnalequinox #fall #autumn #fallleaves #pumpkin #jackolantern #seasons

"Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. ...
09/21/2021

"Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager."
–Susan Sontag

Our Preserve holds a diversely peopled past. Clues of this past envelope and reward the observant, as they explore a trail system now surrounded by 2,500 acres of wilderness.

Autumn is the perfect time to connect with this history and become immersed in the poetically ephemeral landscape of the fall season. We are completely free and open to the public Friday-Sunday, year-round.

Watch this space for upcoming guided hikes.

📸: Joe Villari

#observation #payattention #diverselypeopledpast #makinghistoryourstory #bullrunmountains #vof #connect

"Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager."
–Susan Sontag

Our Preserve holds a diversely peopled past. Clues of this past envelope and reward the observant, as they explore a trail system now surrounded by 2,500 acres of wilderness.

Autumn is the perfect time to connect with this history and become immersed in the poetically ephemeral landscape of the fall season. We are completely free and open to the public Friday-Sunday, year-round.

Watch this space for upcoming guided hikes.

📸: Joe Villari

#observation #payattention #diverselypeopledpast #makinghistoryourstory #bullrunmountains #vof #connect

“I have found that Bioblitzes capture the public’s imagination,” said Joe. ”By their very definition, Bioblitzes are bot...
09/11/2021
Oak Spring Garden Foundation - A Snapshot of Biodiversity

“I have found that Bioblitzes capture the public’s imagination,” said Joe. ”By their very definition, Bioblitzes are both very hopeful and ambitious.”

While the report is currently being written, Oak Spring Garden Foundation (OSGF) penned a wonderful peek into our joint VOF/OSGF Bioblitz that set out to document OSGF's native biota on their gorgeous and delightfully botanically-minded 800+ acres 🌿

www.osgf.org/blog/2021/8/20/48dgrwolur7vzgu1tcixewy3pq715x

Read about Oak Spring’s first Bioblitz - an event in which dauntless naturalists identified as many species as possible on our 700-acre property in a (long!) day.

09/10/2021

Possibly our cutest addition to the Preserve's Natural Sounds Archive, here we present the small but mighty ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)!

These adorably squeaky zippity-zoomers are currently migrating, so remember to be kind to them on their journey and enjoy them while they're here!

🔊 and 📸 beautifully captured on the Preserve by hummingbird whisperer, Smithsonian Ornithologist, and VOF Research Associate, Jacob Saucier.

#smallbutmighty #rubythroatedhummingbird #hummingbirds #birdsofvirginia #naturalsound #birdcall #birdsong

We are proud of the role VOF is playing in efforts to return land to Virginia’s tribes. We look forward to more partners...
09/09/2021
Va. Native American tribes acquiring more lands for cultural and environmental preservation - Virginia Mercury

We are proud of the role VOF is playing in efforts to return land to Virginia’s tribes. We look forward to more partnership on this front in the years ahead.

Over the past three years, the Chickahominy Tribe in Charles City County received nearly $7 million in state funding to acquire and preserve tribal lands, staving off development and improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The current plan for the $3.5 million provided by the Genera...

🍄🎃🍄🎃🍄🎃🍄A team of our staff and volunteers recently found a patch of Eastern jack-O-lantern mushrooms (Omphalotus oleariu...
09/07/2021

🍄🎃🍄🎃🍄🎃🍄

A team of our staff and volunteers recently found a patch of Eastern jack-O-lantern mushrooms (Omphalotus olearius) while out performing trail work (kudos to PATC's Mike C and his eagle eyes for the spot!) 👀

Jack-O-lantern mushrooms are aptly named for their near fall arrival, bright orange appearance, and the fact that their gills GLOW-IN-THE-DARK!

After reading this somewhat disputed claim, Joe decided that he clearly had to mount an impromptu night expedition, a few nights later, to test whether this species of 🍄's gills really could glow at night (otherwise known as possessing bioluminescent properties 🤓)...

SWIPE THROUGH THE PHOTOS TO SEE THE RESULT!

The first photo was taken when our staff 1st came across these shrooms. The 2nd photo was taken by VOF Volunteer, Sarah Causey, at night with a flash. Photo 3 was taken by Sarah in the exact same position, but in complete darkness to reveal the GLOWING GILLS!

This fungal bioluminescence has a long and storied place in mountain folklore throughput the Appalachians ⛰, known as "foxfire".

Stay curious and keep those eyes peeled this September and October while out hiking, as you will be sure to discover and observe your own fungal surprises!

📷 1: Joe Villari
📷 2 & 3: Sarah Causey

We dedicate this Labor Day to our diverse volunteers of all ages and inclinations 😊 From trail maintenance, to community...
09/06/2021

We dedicate this Labor Day to our diverse volunteers of all ages and inclinations 😊

From trail maintenance, to community science, to stream restorations, to inavsive ant removal, to archival research, to infrastructural improvements, to archaeology, and so much more - EACH ONE OF MAKES WHAT WE DO HERE AT THE PRESERVE POSSIBLE!

So proud, and grateful, for our community here at VOF's Preserve at Bull Run Mountains. It is this human ecology that keeps this region so beautiful and pristine!

#volunteer #community #laborsday #preserve #together #humanecology #thankyou #grateful

Happy #fungifriday from all of us here at VOF's Preserve at Bull Run Mountains 🍄Come out this weekend and see some BIG b...
09/03/2021

Happy #fungifriday from all of us here at VOF's Preserve at Bull Run Mountains 🍄

Come out this weekend and see some BIG bolete mushrooms for yourself!

📷: Joe Villari

Happy #fungifriday from all of us here at VOF's Preserve at Bull Run Mountains 🍄

Come out this weekend and see some BIG bolete mushrooms for yourself!

📷: Joe Villari

We are so proud to be supporting this project in Richmond's Oak Grove-Bellemeade community with a Preservation Trust Fun...
09/03/2021
How Mr. Bob helped transform Bellmeade into 'the most beautiful park in Richmond'

We are so proud to be supporting this project in Richmond's Oak Grove-Bellemeade community with a Preservation Trust Fund grant. Friends of Bellemeade Park and Bob Argabright have done a tremendous job working with Richmond VA Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities turning this space into an amazing learning environment and beautiful park. It's the kind of community-driven conservation VOF is all about.

Bob Argabright saw through the weeds and garbage and saw great potential.

While this most recent 🌀 has caused havoc throughout the southeast of the US, we seem to have gotten off relatively easy...
09/01/2021
A note from new Preserve Specialist, Taryn - Virginia Outdoors Foundation

While this most recent 🌀 has caused havoc throughout the southeast of the US, we seem to have gotten off relatively easy in our immediate region.

With blessings counted, rainy days are great for contemplation - and setting up with a ☕ and something to 📚!

With that in mind, consider heading on over to our websites blog to read our talented Preserve Specialist, Taryn's musings on one of her recent adventures through the Preserve's trail system!

https://www.vof.org/2021/08/27/a-note-from-new-preserve-specialist-taryn/

📷: Taryn Bromser-Kloeden

#bullrunmountains #preserve #vof #blog #musings #naturephotography #discover #adventure #nature

When I got the call that I was the top choice to take over as Preserve Specialist at Bull Run Mountains, I’m not embarrassed to tell you there was a lot of happy dancing involved. This job is the lifelong dream for creek-wading, animal-loving overgrown kid like myself. And though I’ve had many a...

Exposing kids early to the fun of cycling can lead to a lifetime of healthy choices. The Roanoke Outside Foundation has ...
09/01/2021
Morningside Bike Park, City of Roanoke - Virginia Outdoors Foundation

Exposing kids early to the fun of cycling can lead to a lifetime of healthy choices. The Roanoke Outside Foundation has been awarded a Get Outdoors Grant to build trails that can get kids started and that experienced bikers can enjoy. Read more about it here:

Exposing kids early to the fun of cycling can lead to a lifetime of healthy choices. The Roanoke Outside Foundation has been awarded a Get Outdoors Grant to build trails that can get kids started and that experienced bikers can enjoy.

08/30/2021

🐝 🐝 🐝

While infamous for its impressively defensive nature, the eastern yellowjacket (Vespula maculifrons) is a largely beneficial wasp, when left alone, that keep down other crop and home pest insects in check.

This species most typically nests within abandoned burrows and other holes in the ground, but will also nest in tree cavities. Unfortunately, they also occassionally get confused and find their way into a cavity that is located within a home or building's walls.

The yellowjacket gets a bad rap, but we hopeknowledge can lead to a little empathy. As being ground nesters that live in large, otherwise vulnerable colonies, their only survival strategy they can utilize is their tactical response - as they are regularly (which may be surprising to some!) preyed upon by a large variety of mammals. Chief among these mammals out searching for tasty, abundant, and nutritious yellowjacket larvae are skunks and bears, but also moles, shrews, and badgers (where ranges allow).

When out searching for yellow jacket nests, these mammalian hunters will be listening for this sound here, which is yellowjacket's creating and caring for their nests.

VOLUME UP and headphones in for the most spinetingling effect 😆

Sound and photos were beautifully, carefully, and BRAVELY recorded by VOF Research Associate and Smithsonian Zoologist, Jacob Saucier!

#hymenoptera #bullrunmountains #preserve #naturesounds #animalrecordings #insectsounds #soundsofthehive #soundscience #yellowjackets #empathy #insectbehavior

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20137

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