Exploring Big Meadows

An Island in the Sky: The Ecology of a Big Meadows

Join Blue Ridge Discovery Center Co-founder and Guide, Devin Floyd, for an expedition to a globally rare ecosystem just off of Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park. Participants will enjoy Devin’s “time-travel” style of teaching while exploring an ancient landscape. It is estimated that the wetlands at this site, called mafic fens, have been accumulating peat for nearly 10,000 years! He will share stories about the events of the deep past (and future) and how they influence landforms and plant communities over time. Expect to see a number of rare high elevation species at this site, some of which are the southernmost occurrences of their species. Of particular interest will be the plants that occupy the mafic fens, butterfly diversity, birds and prehistoric peoples and megafauna.

Topics covered: Blue Ridge natural history, microclimate plant communities, ice age relic species, ecological change over time, fen and bog ecology, Catoctin formation geologic history, correlations between elevation, latitude and aspect, survey methodology for classifying ecosystems.

RSVP and feel free to contact Devin with questions: devin.floyd@gmail.com or 434-882-7772

Audience: general public; youth 18 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

Date: September 19, 2015

Time: 10am-12:30pm (pack a lunch if you wish to stick around for some follow up conversation)

Cost: FREE

Location: Directions from Charlottesville: take US-29 north for 12 miles. In Ruckersville, take US-33 west, and go 15 miles to Skyline Drive. Take Skyline drive north 15 miles. Small parking lot on the right hand side at the Rapidan Fire Road (just before the Visitor’s Center). Carpool if possible. 1hr 10min drive from Charlottesville.

Difficulty level: Easy. Flat terrain. NOTE: We will be going off trail for about ¼ of the hike. (Total hike is 1-1.5miles). Wear appropriate attire.

Bring plenty of water and sunscreen.