Christa has been a Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy member since 2016 and is a regular volunteer at monthly JK Black Oak Wildlife Sanctuary work days. She also assists with invasive plant removal at Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park.
Her favorite nature thing is “watching the natives [plants] spring back after the nonnative invasive plants that were out-competing them are removed. It’s become a passion, almost an addiction.” She adds, “It’s such a joy to watch the land respond. Also, knowing that the native plants will host more native insects and more variety, which will feed more birds and support a healthier ecosystem gives me hope.”
Christa feels that Ball’s Bluff, in Leesburg, has a treasure trove of native ephemeral plants and that our team has done a remarkable job of protecting them by pulling invasive Garlic Mustard. Recently, Christa worked to remove Japanese Hops and said, “The Spicebush at Ball’s Bluff was already starting to spread out again after the Japanese Hops that were smothering it were removed, and a little sapling that had been almost on the ground was starting to stand tall even before we finished.”
Christa also does invasive plant removal at the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club’s Janet Kohn Memorial Cabin in Bluemont and fondly shares her experience there: “The Privet thicket I took out in late winter filled in with Wingstem and mountain mint by summer. The area where lespedeza was reduced last year came back with American Germander this year.”
Christa is also particularly fond of the Box Turtles at the Janet Kohn Cabin where they have “documented eight individuals on the 50 acres so far. This little girl [shown in photo] is a favorite because she’s just a baby, which tells me they are happy enough there to be breeding. I think she’s beautiful.”