Stewardship in Action Virtual Field Workshop

*This event has concluded. Thank you to all who attended! 

Virtual Workshop Recording Available

Included with purchase:
- 2-hour edited video archive with time stamps 
- Formatted chat archive
- Chat resources, shared by attendees and presenters
- Supplemental PDF with site descriptions, maps, and tools 
Cost:
Member: $29
Nonmember: $49


Sustainable Summits: Managing Public Access for the Protection of Rare Plant Communities 

The Natural Areas Association (NAA) and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (VDCR), Natural Heritage Program will host a VIRTUAL professional training on managing sensitive natural communities concurrently for biodiversity conservation and public access.

Filmed during an in-person event during September 2021, the virtual field workshop will feature unique case studies in Virginia, Buffalo Mountain Natural Area Preserve, Bull Run Mountain Natural Area Preserve, and The Channels Natural Area Preserve.

Virtual field workshop participants will consider how the VDCR Natural Heritage Program is addressing three ecologically significant and sites that are subject to high levels of public visitation. The workshop will include documented natural resource degradation, implemented strategies to reduce ecological damage due to recreation traffic, and approaches to monitoring restoration success. 

Sustainable Summits Managing Public Access for the Protection of Rare Plant Communities is a compact, interactive, virtual field workshop that will include expert-led discussions in connection to three high elevation sites with frequent public access in Virginia. Along with the natural history, the field workshop will explore innovative stewardship strategies for improving the sustainability of public access to rare plant communities on public lands.

Registered participants will also receive a downloadable PDF that contains information about each site, maps, and the specifications related to the implemented strategies such as hard and soft barriers, interpretive signs, and other relevant materials for your reference.


Agenda

TimeAgenda ItemContent
  12:00pm - 12:05pm EST
 
  Welcome & Opening Remarks
  •   Lisa Smith, Executive Director,  Natural Areas Association
    Background, Purpose and Format of the
    Workshop
  12:05pm - 12:20pm EST
 
  Stewarding Virginia's Natural Area Preserve System:
  25 Years of  Balancing Resource Protection with Public 
  Access
  • Rick Myers, Ph.D., Natural Areas Stewardship Manager, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation -Natural Heritage Program
    The mission of VDCR - Division of Natural     Heritage, areas managed, and scope of
    responsibilities.
  12:20pm - 12:50pm EST
 
  Public access management at Buffalo Mountain Natural
  Area Preserve: Balancing Sustainable Visitation   
  Biodiversity Conservation
  • Ryan Klopf, Ph.D., Natural Areas Association Board Member,        Regional Supervisor, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation - Natural Heritage Program
  • Wes Paulos, Natural Areas Public Access Coordinator, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation - Natural Heritage Program
  1. The Challenge & Approach
  2. The Entry/Parking/Access Management
  3. Switchbacks & Social Trails
  4. Barriers/Hard & Soft
  12:50pm - 1:15pm EST
 
  Restoration Challenges of a Mountaintop Natural
  Community at Bull Run Mountains Natural Area   
  Preserve in Northern Virginia
  • Michael Lott, Northern Region Steward / Regional Supervisor, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation - Natural Heritage Program
  •  Joe Villari, Preserve Manager, Virginia Outdoors Foundation
  1. The Challenge & Approach
  2. The Entry/Parking/Access Management
  3. Use of Cameras
  4. Restricting Access 

  1:15pm - 1:35pm EST
 
  Public Access Management of a Geologically Unique Heath Bald
  in the Southern Appalachians
  • Claiborne Woodall, Regional Supervisor /Western Fire Manager  Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation - Natural Heritage Program
  1. Background on The Channels
  2. The Entry/Parking/Access Management
  3. The Challenge of the Trails
  4. The Challenge of the Fire Tower
  5. The Challenge of the Channels Rock Formations
  1:35pm - 2:00pm EST
 Sustainable Summits: Practitioners Panel

Additional experiences from other practitioners managing public access on high biodiversity sites in the Appalachian Mountains.

  • Wendy Cass, Botanist, Shenandoah National Park
  • Joshua Albritton, Rare Plant Biologist, Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Conner McBane, Natural Resource Specialist, Appalachian Trail Conservancy
   
     
 2:00pm EST
 
  Conclusion
  • Lisa Smith, Executive Director,  Natural Areas Association


ryan klopf, Ph.D.

Natural Areas Association Board Member
Regional Supervisor
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation - Natural Heritage Program

Ryan Klopf is the Regional Supervisor for the Mountain and Shenandoah Valley Regions of the Virginia Natural Heritage Program; he has worked for this Program since 2011. Ryan works to protect and restore rare species and natural communities within the Ridge and Valley, Blue Ridge, and Piedmont regions of Virginia. He earned a B.S. in Biology at William and Mary, and M.S. and Ph.D. in Plant Biology from Southern Illinois University.
MICHAEL LOTT
Northern Region Steward / Regional Supervisor

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation - Natural Heritage Program

Michael Lott is the Regional Supervisor for the Northern Region of the Virginia Natural Heritage Program which he joined in 2012.  Michael works to protect rare species, natural communities and monitor ecological resources at the preserves in the Northern Region, particularly those found at Crow‘s Nest Natural Area Preserve.  Prior to moving to Virginia, Michael spent 8 years working on a variety of research projects in the Greater Everglades Ecosystem. He has a B.A in Geography/Ecosystems from the University of California, Los Angeles and a M.S. in Environmental Science from Florida Atlantic University.

RICK MYERS, PH.D.

Natural Areas Stewardship Manager 
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation - Natural Heritage Program

Natural Areas Stewardship Manager with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation's Natural Heritage Program; 1998 to present. Rick earned his BS, Masters and PhD in Forestry and Forest Ecology from Clemson University. His doctoral research focused on the ecological roles of fire and hurricanes in the southeastern U.S. He has worked as Extension/Research Forester at Purdue University and as Consulting Fire Ecologist with The Nature Conservancy. For the last 24 years with DCR in Virginia he has overseen all aspects of managing the State Natural Area Preserve System, which currently consists of 66 preserves protecting nearly 60,000 acres of the Commonwealth's most biologically diverse lands. He supervises 20 full-time positions, located in seven field offices statewide, whose primary duties are to maintain habitats for rare species, restore natural communities and provide compatible opportunities for public recreation. Outside of work, Rick's interests include acoustic music & guitars, dogs, fishing, boating, gardening and parenting boy-girl twins born in August 2001.

WES PAULOS

Natural Areas Public Access Coordinator
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation - Natural Heritage Program

Wes Paulos has worked with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage for 10 years as the Mountain Region Operations Steward.  Duties for this position include prescribed fire management, invasive plant management, recreation planning and development and overall site management.  Prior to working in Virginia, Wes was a park ranger and assistant park manager  in Colorado and Florida State Parks.  Wes obtained degrees from Augusta University and the University of Georgia in Criminal Justice and Recreation.  He also has graduate credits from the University of Florida in Natural Resource Recreation.

CLAIBORNE WOODALL

Regional Supervisor / Western Fire Manager
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation - Natural Heritage Program

Claiborne Woodall has worked managing state Natural Area Preserves for the Virginia Natural Heritage Program since 1999.  He specializes in habitat restoration, prescribed fire planning and implementation, invasive species control, conservation planning, and public access management.  Prior to Virginia Natural Heritage, he worked for The Nature Conservancy in New Jersey and Florida.  He earned a B.S. in Natural Resources from Sewanee: The University of The South and a M.S. in Forestry from The University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

JOE VILLARI

Preserve Manager
Virginia Outdoors Foundation

Joe Villari currently manages VOF’s Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve in Northern Virginia, which is VOF’s largest and most-visited reserve. His focus there is on implementing science-based management practices that balance the conservation needs of the property, while maximizing its scientific and educational potential. Before coming to VOF, Joe received his MS in Environmental Science and Public Policy from George Mason University and worked for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. He is a passionate advocate for habitat conservation, field and specimen-based scientific research, and making science more accessible to the general public.

This Natural Areas Association (NAA) Stewardship in Action Virtual Workshop is being offered in partnership with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation - Natural Heritage Program

This Natural Areas Association (NAA) Stewardship in Action Virtual Workshop has been underwritten by the National Park Service and the United States Forest Service

Special thanks to Aspire Marketing Agency for filming this 2021 Stewardship in Action Field Workshop. 
Special thanks to Somewhere in the Woods Productions for editing this 2022 Stewardship in Action Virtual Field Workshop. 

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