A Noah’s Ark amid combat training in coastal Virginia

GVC

From wetlands to old-growth forests, Fort A.P. Hill holds some of the most unique landscapes in the Coastal Plain of Virginia. Photo courtesy of Fort A.P. Hill

Between the sprawl of the Northern Virginia beltway and the Richmond capital lies a window to the rich natural heritage of Virginia’s Coastal Plain: 76,000 acres of old-growth forests, swamps, bogs, wetlands and pine savannas.

There’s a catch, though.

The nature of the area is occasionally interrupted by artillery fire and helicopters, and the other sounds of live training under combat-like conditions.

Mortar Check

Live fire training at Fort A.P. Hill. Credit: Sgt. Steven Galimore

Yet the wildlife at Virginia’s largest military reservation don’t seem to mind.

In fact, the Army’s Fort A.P. Hill in Caroline County seems to attract some of the rarest plants and animals in the eastern U.S.: Threatened and endangered bats. The rarest orchid east of the Mississippi. A stunning pink wetland flower and a grass-like herb that survive in just a few states. There’s even some rare underground crustaceans.

 

 

We interviewed the biologists who oversee these species, including a biologist who made a rare discovery here, stumbling upon a critter that had never been documented in the state before. Check out the story here.

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