Happy Earth Month!

We are so excited to celebrate!!! I’m sure you could already tell from our recent posts. This week, we’re focusing our celebrations on wildlife– one of our very favorite reasons we work to conserve land. 

As you may have seen it in our last post, Virginia is home to over “10,000 species of birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and different forms of invertebrates.” TEN THOUSAND! 

The Endangered Species Coalition has a great list of “10 Easy Things You Can Do To Save Endangered Species,” but the actions help keep all species safe. We used this top 10 to create a list of…

5 Ways to Protect Virginia Wildlife

  1. Learn about species in your area.

Learning about any species is a great idea, endangered or not! Whether becoming more informed on an endangered species like the Carolina Northern Flying Squirrel or the commonly found (and not threatened) Eastern Cottontail, knowing the role these animals play in the ecosystem and interact with the land is beneficial. 

  1. Make your home wildlife friendly.

Our friends at The Wildlife Center of Virginia have great ideas and instructions on crafting backyard habitats including a backyard brushpile and habitat rockpile that creates shelter from weather and predators as well as a place for ground nesters to nest.  There are also plenty of species that can be housed in nest boxes, from a Chickadee to an Eastern Screech-Owl.

  1. Plant native species.

Native plants have “[evolved] over geologic time in response to physical and biotic processes characteristic of a region: the climate, soils, timing of rainfall, drought, and frost; and interaction with the other species inhabiting the local community.” The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation defines native plants in a way that shows why they can be a sanctuary for wildlife. They also have thorough brochures on plants native to specific regions of Virginia.

  1. Recycle and buy sustainable products.

How do sustainable products affect wildlife? Products that are not sustainably sourced directly contribute to habitat loss. Think about the 8 different species of woodpeckers found in Virginia that need trees to call home. Their habitats are destroyed when forests are unsustainably logged for paper and wood products. Additionally, the products that we have already harvested from the earth means that less habitats are taken away from wildlife. 

  1. Protect wildlife habitat.

You can do this with our help by putting your land into a conservation easement. 

The land that we have helped put into easements has created wonderful habitats for many of these species, along with peace of mind knowing that these creatures will have these lands as havens forever. The Ellingtons’ land easement in Highland County is home to a wide variety of wildlife including deer and bear families, soaring Bald and Golden Eagles and waddling wild turkeys, and native trout thriving in the Potomac River that runs through the property. 

However, if you aren’t a landowner, you can still contribute to wildlife habitat preservation through land conservation by purchasing conservation easement tax credits. Contact us for more details!

All wildlife photos are captured by the wonderful Lois Cole.