Virginia Working Landscapes

Researchers standing and looking across a foggy field

Virginia Working Landscapes scientists strive to protect Virginia’s rich biodiversity by conducting research and empowering local community members to take conservation action.

The program is based at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, and began in 2010 in response to grassroots demand for native plant and wildlife conservation from private landowners, conservation NGOs and local citizens.

Through research, education and community engagement, the program promotes the conservation of native biodiversity and sustainable land-use.

VWL researchers collaborate with citizen scientists, NGOs, universities, regional landowners and others to conduct research on private and public lands with a focus on biodiversity, ecosystem services and threatened species.

Current projects include:

  • Understanding how human activities influence the movement patterns of Virginia’s carnivores
  • Exploring how urban development impacts bumblebee populations
  • Identifying relationships between native plants, land management and wildlife

In addition to engaging and educating local landowners about biodiversity, these studies help delineate conservation priorities. Collected data can also guide land-use strategies by revealing how land-management decisions by private citizens, organizations and policymakers impact wildlife, water and landscapes.

Learn more about Virginia Working Landscapes.