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Dunson Farm Tour: How to create a wildlife haven in the Blue Ridge

  • The Dunson Farm 577 State Shed Ln Galax, VA, 24333 United States (map)

Please join us for a unique opportunity to tour a wildlife-friendly farm with seasoned naturalist Bill and Margaret Dunson who have transformed a degraded farm into a vibrant year round wildlife community.  This is an opportunity to discover and explore the native and exotic plants that have the greatest local benefit to wildlife.  Plus, we will discuss the various other factors that have a powerful influence on biodiversity.

The Dunson Farm
577 State Shed Ln, Galax, VA 24333
(It is at the old white farmhouse 0.5 mile up State Shed Lane at the end; turn off US 58 at the Marathon Station).

When: July 16, 2015 9:00am (plan on 2-3 hours for tour)

 Topics of Tour include:

  • Creation/restoration of wildlife habitat:
  • Plants on the 107 acre Baywood farm have been managed since 2002/2004 almost entirely for wildlife; primarily birds, amphibians, reptiles, dragonflies and butterflies.  After 11-13 years, some striking results have been achieved in collaboration with NRCS.  It is important to remember that the wildlife habitat that is being created and restored is a simulation of natural communities and is not a manicured “garden” in any traditional sense.
  • Creation of eight small ponds with and without fish and restoration of wet meadows.
  • Creation of simulated prairies with grasses and wildflowers; three 1.5-5 acre parcels planted 6/14/06, 5/29/09 and 5/17/12
  • Planting of shrubs and trees to create wildlife corridors, food and nesting sites
  • Mowing of pre-existing cool season grass pasture/hayfields annually to allow warm season grasses to grow.
  • Creation and maintenance of forest openings for early successional bird species and limited tree selection within existing forested areas.
  • Attempted control of the most invasive exotics such as oriental bittersweet, multiflora rose, Canada thistle and virgin’s bower.
  • Surveys of birds, herps, insects and plants and their use of the different habitat types.  Monitoring of night hawk migration.
  • Placement of 25 nest boxes for bluebirds and tree swallows
  • Construction of two 50 foot square deer exclosures of two types in forested areas to determine impact of deer browse (in place for three years)
  • Creation of wildlife friendly flower and shrub gardens near the house
  • Maintenance of an extensive trail system for access and as linear wildlife habitat