The Center for Biodiversity at Joseph Pines Preserve?
From Fall 2013 Newsletter
In February 2013 Meadowview signed a contract to purchase the 51 acre Schwartz tract (Fig. 1), adjacent to the 232 acre* Joseph Pines Preserve, as our education and biodiversity center. The purchase price is $449,000 and the $1000 earnest money was provided by Meadowview member John Mentis. The Schwartz tract in-cludes a 4300 sq. ft. house, built in 1996 of high quality materials, that provides ideal facilities for a visitor and education center at the Joseph Pines Preserve. The first floor provides a large room for educational workshops with side rooms for storage and intern/guest/staff lodging. The second floor has a great room for conferences and seminars with wing rooms for staff offices and lodging, in addition to the usual necessities of kitchen and bathrooms. A 30 x 60 aluminum carport is also included and will give us ample storage for equipment and supplies. The house will also provide sorely needed lodging for Meadowview staff and volunteers. The grounds will allow us to build an on-site nursery producing a minimum of 18 indigenous rare plants for reintroduction to the preserve. The property is largely in pasture and we plan on converting this to a native Virginia longleaf pine seed orchard to assist the Virginia Dept. of Forestry in regional conservation efforts. A stocked fish pond is just a short walk from the house. We hope to provide significant water quality benefits by converting the pasture to forest, revegetating the pond border with native pitcher plants and associates, and installing a 300 ft. wetland buffer on Joseph Swamp. The purchase is also one step closer to realizing our goal of a longleaf pine/pitcher plant preserve of over 2000 acres (Fig. 2, page 2).
The purchase of the Schwartz tract is contingent on grant funding and we can be kicked out if another purchaser shows up with a cash deal. Therefore, we have been working extremely hard writing grants to several foundations in the hope we can obtain the necessary funding. Of course, there is always the possibility that a Meadowview member will step forward and facilitate the transaction. This member help could come in the form of a pledge, outright donation, or alerting other philanthropists or foundations to help close the deal.
Fig. 1. Proposed use of Schwartz tract as education and biodiversity center and project location.
Fig. 2. Grand preserve plan for Joseph Pines Preserve, Sussex County, VA.
Central VA Preserve Updates
We’ve finished the draft of the conservation easement for the Sheridan and Wilson tracts and will be submit-ting this document soon to the Caroline County Board of Supervisors for review and acceptance. Appraisals and title searches are complete. We will settle on the purchase of the Wilson tract by the end of the year thanks to a matching grant from the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation. We raised over $20,000 as part of the match in acquiring and paying off the Sheridan tract. Dr. Ernest Wilson will be the note holder for the balance of the match and we will continue fund raising to pay off this note. Fourteen flowers were produced by the native pitcher plants on the Hall tract and we are about to harvest those seeds for propagation.
Two Grants Awarded for Meadowview Intern Program
Meadowview received two grants that funded the intern program in 2013: $2500 from the Virginia Horticul-tural Foundation and $5000 from the National Nursing Centers Consortium for an Environmental Education Project. These grants allowed three interns to focus on propagation of the National Sarracenia Collection at Meadowview, educational outreach at the Caroline County headquarters, and restoration and scientific efforts at both of our preserves.
Repairs Needed at Meadowview Headquarters
Dr. Sheridan stipulated three match categories for his 2009 house and land donation (see 2009 newsletter). The house is used as corporate headquarters, museum, and guest and intern lodging. To date, the $40,000 conservation match (largely member donations) has been met but no one has donated the $22,000 required for house repairs. The deterioration of the north side of Meadowview has gotten so dire that we are now forced to hire a contractor to install vinyl siding to prevent further damage. While this is not our desired quality repair to Meadowview house, it will provide a reasonably good fix to the problem. The quote for installation of vinyl siding and window wrap is $1280. One board member has recently donated $500 toward repair. We need the remaining funds to hire the contractor this fall. Meadowview staff will then paint roof and siding.
Educational Activities in 2013
- Plant conservation lecture at Green Springs Garden Park, Alexandria, VA for the 2013 EcoSavvy Symposium.
- Two workshops for the Math Science Innovation Center “Let’s Innovate! Student Conference”
- Graduate student John McLeod successfully defends his MS thesis at Old Dominion University: Hydrogeologic analysis of factors that influence pitcher plant bog viability at the Joseph Pines Preserve, Sussex County, Virginia.
- Two talks given to the 26th Annual Master Gardener College in Blacksburg, VA on wetland gardening and rare plant conservation.
- Joseph Pines tours - two tours of the preserve were given to the public: one for the Virginia Association of Wetland Professionals and the other to K-12 educators from Paul D. Camp Community College.
- Carnivorous Plants of Western Australia - public lecture at Meadowview by Christian Dietz and Claus-Juergen Lenz about their research.
- Crossfest 2013! - a public seminar by Australian scientist Adam Cross on the ecology of the globally rare waterwheel plant, Aldrovanda vesiculosa L. Adam spent two weeks at Meadowview conducting research with Meadowview staff on Aldrovanda.
- Fredericksburg Regional Governor’s School visits - two