Front Royal community helps restore ecosystem

The Town of Front Royal’s Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee, local community groups, and volunteers came together to plant a 200 meter section of Happy Creek’s riparian buffer in November.

Volunteers planted 450 young seedlings of seven different varieties of native shrub species that were approved by the Department of Environmental Quality.

The section of Happy Creek between South and Short Street was selected as a high priority area due to the abundance of invasive and undesirable vegetation that had begun to take over.

ESAC member and local conservation biologist Justin Proctor spoke on the value of these native plants reminding us that they “are adapted to handle our local climate and soils… build back our beneficial insects and pollinators, provide food for wildlife… stabilize riverbanks and help clean out pollutants.”

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Winchester helps bring back native thistle

The City of Winchester’s Arborist Jordan Herring and retired Shenandoah University professor and wetlands expert Woody Bousquet are assisting the US Fish and Wildlife Service with a new project.

They are working together to help bring back native thistles.

Native thistles are an important part of the ecosystem, especially for pollinators and birds.

They have been disappearing rapidly due to habitat loss and indiscriminate weed control efforts.

Native thistles are often mistaken for the invasive Canada thistle which also leads to their removal.

Three native thistle seeds are being collected for the project including pasture, field, and swamp.

Abrams Creek in Winchester is a great source for swamp thistle but the project is still in need of pasture thistle.

If you are interested in learning more about this project or would like to submit native pasture thistle seeds, contact Kathleen Patnode at 814-357-1735.

To learn more about the importance of native thistle, click here.

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Gardening in the Valley Symposium

The Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardeners Association is hosting the Gardening in the Valley Educational Symposium at Shenandoah University’s Henkel Hall today from 8 am to 4 pm.

The symposium will feature guest speakers on topics like attracting pollinators,natural remedies in pet health care, educational public gardens, and more.

Tickets are still available for purchase and all proceeds benefit their scholarship fund.

For more information or to purchase your ticket, head to

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