Those of you familiar with the Farm at Sunnyside know we actively maintain a conservation program to monitor and improve environmental health on the farm. Many of our neighbors and CSA members have expressed an interest in taking similar action on their own properties. Starting this month we will begin offering periodic workshops to teach people to do just that. Whether assessing water quality, establishing native grass meadows, building a vernal pool or identifying native or invasive plants, our goal is to provide you with the know-how and resources you need to better track and improve environmental conditions on your land.
The topic of our first workshop will be assessing stream health using bioindicators, namely salamanders and macroinvertebrates. This is an approach anyone can use to examine the health of their own streams without the need for expensive technology. After a general introduction to the topic, we’ll head out and examine two sites on the farm. We’ll sample for salamanders and other critters learning how to employ various techniques and equipment, identify the specimens we’ve collected and then interpret the results. Ensuring water quality is one of the most important things you can do as a Rappahannock landowner both for your benefit and for those living downstream. This workshop will help you achieve this goal while learning about the diverse, beautiful and seldom seen creatures that inhabit our local streams.
Spring salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus)