Volunteers Plant More Natives for Wildlife at JK Black Oak
Volume 25 Issue 1, Winter 2020
by Michael Myers, Executive Director
While we haven’t yet taken ownership of the JK Black Oak Wildlife Sanctuary in Lucketts, we have already begun stewardship projects on it. Our largest, to date, was on November 2, when 92 Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy volunteers planted 260 native trees and shrubs there. The purpose of this project was to enhance the ecological value and habitat for amphibians and other wildlife by linking a vernal pool in an open field to the mature forest on the property.
It was a beautiful, cool, sunny morning that was perfect for planting trees and shrubs. It’s always great to see so many members and volunteers come together to actively participate in the conservation of healthy wildlife habitats.
The project was sponsored by Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, with assistance from Loudoun County, the Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Lucketts Ruritan Club, and was made possible by the help of volunteers from CarMax Cares, Leesburg Daybreak Rotary Club, Lucketts Elementary School Rudy Youth Service Club, Lucketts Ruritan Club, Northwest Federal Credit Union, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, and the general public. It was the first of many stewardship projects that we will manage within the JK Black Oak Wildlife Sanctuary.
We are currently in the process of purchasing JK Black Oak Wildlife Sanctuary from Chuck Kuhn of JK Moving Services. Last year, Chuck placed the property under a conservation easement that will be held by the Land Trust of Virginia, ensuring that the globally rare wetlands will be protected from development in perpetuity. Chuck is selling the property to us at a conserved value, making it possible for us to be stewards of this property.
Our vision is to preserve and enhance JK Black Oak Wildlife Sanctuary by protecting the property’s sensitive vernal pools, its unique geological setting, and the rich amphibian and wildlife populations. Additionally, the sanctuary will serve as a model and catalyst to conserve adjacent lands, and to create an ecologically significant sanctuary for the conservation and study of native wildlife.
We look forward to completing more stewardship projects like this volunteer tree planting to enhance the natural features of the property while engaging the public in habitat restoration efforts.
We also plan to work with local students and adults to conduct citizen science projects studying amphibians, birds, butterflies, and other species on the property — as we do elsewhere throughout the county. We are very excited at the prospect of completing the plethora of programs we have planned for the JK Black Oak Wildlife Sanctuary.
Funding for this property acquisition has been made possible by a grant agreement with The Nature Conservancy and generous individual donors. However, we still need assistance to ensure we have the necessary funding to complete future stewardship projects on the property. Please help us steward this beautiful and valuable property by making donations here.