Native grasslands have suffered the most intense impact by humans of any of North America’s terrestrial ecosystems, resulting in grassland birds experiencing steeper declines than any other guild of birds. In Virginia, most open land is now used for agriculture—a surrogate habitat that presents a unique opportunity for grassland bird conservation. Research has demonstrated that implementing a specific suite of best management practices on agricultural land can benefit grassland birds, restore ecosystem functionality, and protect farmer livelihoods. The Virginia Grassland Bird Initiative (VGBI) draws on locally-derived research, partner expertise, and a growing network of collaborating farmers to help landowners and producers overcome obstacles to adopting beneficial conservation practices onto their lands. The initiative uses a multi-faceted approach to maximize conservation output, including collaborating with regional practitioners to identify priority BMPs and landscapes, providing new and flexible funding opportunities, engaging farmers through a diverse outreach strategy, and increasing on-the-ground conservation capacity.
Location: Woodstock Presbyterian Church 142 E. Court Street
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