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June 27, 2018

Bull Run conservancy launches dragonfly research

Contributed Photo
A Blue-faced Meadowhawk, one of 140 dragonfly species found in Virginia.
The Bull Run Mountains Conservancy has launched its summer 2018 research project, a survey of dragonfly and damselfly fauna on the range just east of The Plains.
 
The conservancy will work with the Virginia Division of Natural Heritage on the project.

“This is the first survey of this order done on the Bull Run Mountains, which is an important biodiversity corridor in Virginia,” said Anna Ritter, the conservancy’s research director.

A $20,000 grant from the Warrenton-based PATH Foundation will help fund the research.
 
Featured in the conservancy’s 2018-19 education program, the survey will have citizen science opportunities for students and adults, Ms. Ritter said.

“In addition, we will be giving out 200 dragonfly and damselfly identification pocket naturalist laminated field guides to program and research participants,” she said.
 
Virginia supports the “second-most diverse Odonate fauna in the United States, with a total of 196 species recorded, including 140 dragonflies and 56 damselflies,” VDNH Zoologist Steve Roble said. “These species are critical members of local ecosystems, predators of many smaller insects, including mosquitoes, and indicators of water quality and pollutants.”

Ms. Ritter noted: “Despite their importance, no survey has cataloged the Odonata species on the Bull Run Mountains. This information is necessary to make land management and conservation decisions that protect and conserve the beloved Piedmont feature that the Mountains are in our community.”
 
VDNH will be publish results of the survey and the conservancy will share that information on its website. A teaching collection will be created and used to complement various BRMC public workshops. The conservancy also will host free lectures on the survey results.

For more information about this project or other citizen science opportunities, contact BRMC at 703-753-2631 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
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