June, 2013 Update
With financial support from Third Winchester Supporters, removal of invasive plants to make way for planting of native warm season grasses has begun….
March, 2013 Update
Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation Executive Director Denman Zirkle and Stewardship Manager Chase Milner accept funds from Ahyayha Supporters…
$1300 Awarded (February, 2013)
Va. Battlefield and Wildlife Restoration is partially funded by Ahyayha Supporters. Funds go to the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation to pay for this program, described below. The project funding period closed on January 1, 2013.
Restoring Wildlife Habitat to a Civil War Battlefield
In September of 1864, the bloodiest battle of the Civil War’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign, was fought in a field along a stream outside Winchester, Virginia. Today, that field is overgrown with invasive plants and trees, inhospitable to people and the native wildlife once plentiful throughout the Shenandoah Valley.
Blending preservation with quail restoration, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation wants to return this once bloody battlefield to a meadow of native warm season grasses providing a home to the plants and wildlife once found in this portion of the Great Appalachian Valley stretching from Georgia to New York.
Through years of effort, in the face of encroaching development, this beautiful and historic piece of land was purchased by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to preserving historic open space land for the benefit of future generations and making it available to the public. By 2009, the Foundation and its partners were able to piece together and set aside 575 acres of fields and woodlands at the core of the historic battlefield site. Our goal now is to rehabilitate the property to the way it was in the mid-19th century, the way it was on that day in 1864.
We’ve already cleaned up large portions of the land, removing private dumps and junk cars, fenced off the stream to stop pollution from livestock, and installed stream crossings that allow for the movement of fish. With your help we can do more.
It’s a beautiful piece of property. Redbud Run gushes from cold water springs at one end and courses through the valley between two ridges, home to Beaver and wild ducks, geese and trout. Hawks, deer, wild turkey and foxes live in the upland forests.
But through generations of modern agricultural methods, followed by decades of neglect, the former woodland meadows have become overgrown with non-native plants. The combination of hybrid pasture grasses and invasive species make an inhospitable environment for native plants and wildlife. Northern Bobwhite Quail, for instance, have all but disappeared.
With the proceeds of your purchase of a Kudos package we can clear the non-native vegetation and replant with grasses and shrubs that can support native wildlife. We’ll also plant scattered food plots for Quail, Deer, Wild Turkey and migratory birds. Finally, we’ll add low impact walking paths to provide access through the fields and forests, with historic markers to describe for visitors what happened on that day in 1864. Two public schools border the Third Winchester Battlefield property, so with proper access it can serve as an ideal living classroom for both history and biology.
We are grateful for every contribution toward this $32,000 project. Have a look at the Kudos we offer through the support of local businesses, as well as those we offer personally, such as guided tours of the property by staff well versed in both its history and wildlife.