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Hello, all, a couple of really excellent local field botanists have offered to do a re-survey of a local park for new vascular plants, working with the local Master Naturalist chapter.  The most recent update was in 1995. There has been a really nice response to this project, and we wonder if any of you  who have done a similar survey have suggestions for how to proceed. Mainly I am trying to think of ways to make this project a “teachable moment’ for volunteers to become more knowledgeable about using keys, and getting comfortable with scientific names. We might also give some information about plant families to help them put their findings in perspective, and also slip in some information about the habitats, and how all that influences what plants grow where. It may be overly ambitious to fold all that into a project with a goal of identifying plants, but we’d like to at least consider some of those possibilities. The Master Naturalists range from people who know a great deal about one or two topics, but have had only a brief introduction to other topics, to people who love nature and want to learn more about natural history, but don’t have much knowledge about it. They have all gone through our basic training.

I would welcome any suggestions and resources you may have that could help shape this project.

I should have mentioned that this is going to occur over the course of a year so we will have some time to provide information to people as they are interested.

 Ruth Douglas,  cvilleruth@embarqmail.com

Charlottesville, VA

August 31, 2009
In February, 1971, USDA-NRCS issued "Handbook No. 389, 100 Native Forage Grasses in 11 Southern States", a definitive guide to identification, adaptation and use of 100 Southern native grass species.  This work was the effort of Horace Leithead, Lewis Yarlett and Thomas Shiflett, Service range conservationists.  This handbook has been out of print for many years.
On the occasion of the 6th Eastern Native Grass Symposium (Oct. 7 - 10, 2008), the South Carolina Native Plant Society (co-host of the Symposium) re-printed this handbook, (and updated the taxonomy listings). It contains excellent line-drawn illustrations, including enlargements of key ID characteristics, along with distribution maps. The re-issued Handbook has a sturdy color cover (varnished for wear) with oversized spiral binding for ease of use in the field.
This handbook is available from the SC Native Plant Society. The price is $15, which includes shipping costs. The order form is here.

August 31, 2009
"Good Neighbor Handbook: Tips and Tools for River-Friendly Living in the Middle Potomac Region" from thePotomac Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy, 2005 can be viewed here.

August 31, 2009
More invasive insects: Laurel Wilt
October 13, 2008
Stream Buffer Zone revision
October 30, 2008