Here are resources on a variety of nature topics specifically related to the Northern Virginia.
Nature Blogs from ARMN’s partners that provide useful and engaging information. Consider subscribing to them to learn more about our local natural environment:
- Natural Arlington Blog, the source to learn about our urban environment inside the beltway.
- The Capital Naturalist, nature notes by Alonso Abugattas, a well-known local naturalist, environmental educator, and storyteller in the Washington, DC area, using his own photography.
E.O. Wilson coined the term “Biophilia” to describe the extent to which humans evolved to be in concert with and are innately attuned to nature. Globally, over 54% of the population lives in cities and densely populated areas, and the trend toward increased urbanization is expected to continue. The Biophilic Cities movement is an effort to integrate cities and nature, and in so doing connect humans with nature and create more resilient and sustainable urban communities. By increasing the awareness of nature, and striving to protect, restore, and increase access to nature we become more Biophilic. The movement builds on the large and growing body of research that links time spent in nature with a myriad of benefits such as improved physical, psychological, and emotional health, increased academic performance, and reduced aggression and crime. Integrating nature into our urban environments also yields enormous economic and environmental services benefits.
On September 18, 2016, Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation hosted Tim Beatley, Professor of Sustainable Communities at the University of Virginia School of Architecture, and Stella Tarnay, Urban Planner and co-founder of Biophilic DC. The presentation focused on the Biophic Cities movement, internationally and locally. Both speakers noted that master naturalists can play an important role in helping communities connect with nearby nature. Efforts are underway to help our area become a more Biophilic community. More information can be found at: http://biophiliccities.org/.
Flora (and Geology) of Virginia
The Flora of Virginia project was undertaken in 2001 to create the first comprehensive reference work on the native and naturalized plants of Virginia. The over 1,500 page volume, Flora of Virginia, was published November 2012, and describes 3,164 plant species or lower taxa in nearly 200 families, along with 1,400 original, captioned, scaled, and botanically accurate illustrations.
Complementary to the Virginia Flora are the recently revised and greatly improved Native Vascular Flora of the City of Alexandria, Virginia and the Geologic Atlas of the City of Alexandria, Virginia and Vicinity.
Native Vascular Flora of Alexandria
The City of Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities’ Horticulture and Natural Resources Section surveyed the vascular flora of Alexandria from 2002–2009 as well as historical collections for taxa native to the City. The findings included more than 800 native vascular plants. The current Flora Project is only in pdf form, called “Vanishing Flora of Washington and Vicinity”. The Flora of Alexandria Project will eventually include a searchable database of the 800 native plant species found in Alexandria, to be called the Native Vascular Flora of the City of Alexandria, Virginia.
Geologic Atlas of Alexandria
The City of Alexandria is situated in one of the most diverse landscapes in the mid-Atlantic region. Its varied geology creates both scenic landscapes as well as geologic perils such as earthquakes, landslides, and high shrink-swell soils.
The Geologic Atlas of the City of Alexandria, Virginia and Vicinity was published in 2016. It contains maps, expanded explanations, and databases of previously-collected geological and historical data as well as new geologic and engineering data collected specifically for the atlas.