Meadowview Biological Research Station: Preserving Ecosystems for Unique Plants in Virginia and Maryland

 Meadowview Biological Research Station held an open house in March to inform the public about their preservation projects to restore bogs and associated ecosystems in Virginia and Maryland. I had recently learned about Meadowview being a hotspot for birds in Caroline County, Virginia. I was curious about the spot, but knew that you needed permission to bird at Meadowview.

Curious to learn what Meadowview was researching, I went online and found their Facebook page. I learned that Meadowview is a non-profit organization focused on preserving and restoring rare wetland plants, habitats, and associated ecosystems. They specialize in an endangered habitat known as pitcher plant bogs or seepage wetlands. These unique areas are endangered, because many of them have been drained for development. The plants found in these wetlands are threatened with extinction, unless conservation efforts are successful.  Meadowview’s goal is to return Yellow Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia flava) and Purple Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia purpurea) to their historic ranges in Virginia and Maryland. They are also planting longleaf pines.  Meadowview advertised their open house through Facebook. I am glad I was able to make it to the event, where the staff and volunteers did a great job organizing and hosting.  Attendees toured the greenhouses and open planting areas to see the plants that are propagated there for eventual reintroduction into the wild. We also toured the back woods where their plants are growing. My tour was led by a long-time volunteer, who shared stories of Meadowview’s goals and pointed out plants as we walked and learned about the rare gravel bog located there.  While at Meadowview, I learned that that there is another site they maintain in Sussex County, Virginia. This preserve is known as Joseph Pines Preserve and is 232 acres of land where Meadowview is restoring the longleaf pine/pitcher plant ecosystem. This preserve is unique and quite special as it contains the last remaining yellow pitcher plant populations in Virginia.

Meadowview hopes to attract the rare Red-Cockaded Woodpecker to Joseph Pines Preserve. This species of woodpecker lives in longleaf pine stands and its population has declined drastically with the loss of this habitat. Meadowview also hopes that the preserve will attract Bachman’s Sparrow, an enigmatic resident of mature pine woods and open habitat.

Meadowview’s headquarters in Caroline County is a bird hotspot for both local and migratory birds. When I was there, I looked across the road to Meadow Creek and saw a Bald Eagle perched in a tree. The research station is home to a variety of wetland birds. During migration season, it is a stopover spot. There is a pond on site that was full of birds, and I was told that owls can be found in the woods behind the station. Meadowview welcomes birders to their headquarters in Woodford, VA. Please call them ahead of your visit to make arrangements.

Meadowview sells plants to the public through an online catalog.   Meadowview is located in Woodford, VA. It is supported by membership donations and volunteers. They conduct research, preserve and restore wetlands, and promote the preservation of our natural heritage through education. 

To learn more visit their website: http://www.pitcherplant.org

  

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