Cinnamon Fern, Osmunda cinnamomea, photo by Jan Newton








Current Conservation

Issues and Events



Christmas Fern, Polystichum acrostichoides

photo courtesy of the VNPS

The Virginia Native Plant Society is dedicated to the protection and preservation of the native plants of Virginia and their habitats,  in order to sustain for generations to come the integrity of the Commonwealth's rich natural heritage of ecosystems and biodiversity for purposes of enjoyment, enlightenment, sustainable use, and our own very survival.  Our Chapter works to achieve these goals in the Tidewater area and assists the Society with conservation projects at the state level.

Site Registry Program 


The Virginia Native Plant Society has many activities in native plant conservation.  One of the most important is the Site Registry Program.  The registry is a voluntary program designed by the VNPS to protect the plant treasures residing in natural communities throughout Virginia.  Landowners who agree to register their properties as Virginia Native Plant Sites take an important step towards preserving the natural features of the land.


Beautyberry, Callicarpa americana

photo by Phillip Merritt

The John Clayton Chapter has registered two properties to the Site Registry Program:  Greenhaven and Grove Creek.  Both properties are in James City County and are in the communities of Norge and Grove, respectively.


For more about the VNPS Site Registry Program click here (under "Conservation").                      Back to Top


 Learn about Invasive Plants


Help conserve our native plants and habitats by learning about invasive plants.



Seeds of Success: A global conservation program


    Last August John Clayton Chapter president Helen Hamilton attended a training session at Mt. Cuba, Delaware for the Seeds of Success (SOS) Program under the Millennium Seed Bank Project (MSBP).  The project is a global conservation program, conceived, developed, and managed by the Seed Conservation Department at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England. The aims of the Project are to:

    Seeds of Success is a conservation and native plant program coordinated by the Plant Conservation Alliance.  Currently 29% of the US flora is threatened, and native plant communities are at continuing risk.  High quality seed samples are urgently needed for restoration purposes and this is a key focus for the Seeds of Success Program.

    The Program brings together a number of partners working in different parts of the country under the umbrella of the Plant Conservation Alliance.  Here in tidewater Virginia the John Clayton chapter is working with Andrew Walker, Herbarium Curator, University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.  We will be sending our collections to him for final processing before delivery to Kew, England.

    For specifics about this project, go to:  Over the past two years VNPS members have collected seeds of Baccharis halimifolia, Mertensia virginica, and six others.  Note that Claytonia virginica is on the list to be collected.  

     Only persons with SOS training should gather seeds!   Those interested in helping can be paired with SOS trained members.        

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Seeds of Success Workshop:


    Thursday, February 8, 2007 at 10:00 am:  Seeds of Success Workshop was held at the York County Library on Rt. 17 and Battle Rd. in Yorktown to train John Clayton members and visitors in proper seed collecting techniques.  The workshop was led by chapter president and Master Gardener Helen Hamilton and the SOS National Collections Data Manager, Mary Byrne, who brought training materials from the Bureau of Land Management office in Washington, D.C.  The event was free and open to the public.  For more info visit or call Helen Hamilton at (757) 564-4494.



Important News about Mulch:  saving cypress trees


Compiled by Helen Hamilton, president of John Clayton Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society



Current Conservation Issues and Events:


The John Clayton Chapter is in need of Conservation Chair.  If you are interested, please contact the chapter president.

On-Going:  New Japanese Stiltgrass Website

Angie Shelton at Indiana University has created a new website on predicting the spread of invasive species, with a focus on her research on Japanese stiltgrass.  The information will be of interest to both land managers and researchers.  Take a look at

To hear Angie's talk on the topic from the Stiltgrass Summit, hosted by River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area last summer, visit


On-Going:  Free Emerald Ash Borer Online Course

Dr. Eric Wiseman, a Virginia Tech professor of Urban Forestry, has developed a free, asynchronous online course about Emerald Ash Borer monitoring and management.  The course targets green space enthusiasts and green industry professionals with the intention

of increasing our collective capacity to detect and manage Emerald Ash Borer in Virginia.  Learning how to identify this destructive insect and learning to control it is necessary for survival of all Fraxinus species.  The course is eligible for CEUs from an assortment of professional organizations.


Click here for Course>



Older Conservation Issues and Events:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008:  Deadline for submitting written comments to let the Air Quality Control Board (DEQ) know that we oppose the air pollution permit for the Wise County coal-fired power plant

It is SO important that the Air Quality Control Board of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)  hears from as many people as possible who oppose the coal-fired power plant that Dominion Power is proposing to build in Wise County Virginia (Southwest VA in the Appalachia region). Let the DEQ know that you want them to deny the air-pollution permit for the Wise County coal-fired power plant on the grounds of air pollution and its effects on the environment and the health of its inhabitants.  Dominion is already clearing the land for this plant!  We must act quickly.


JC member Jan Newton writes about a recent public comment hearing in Richmond.  There was a good show of support for clean/green energy, health issues, pollution issues, habitat and wildlife protection and in opposition to the building of the Wise County coal plant.  Of course, the elected officials that spoke were all in support of the coal-fired plant for $$$ reasons and they and Dominion Power retirees and staff stated that Virginians “NEED” this energy and that coal is a proven form of energy whereas renewable energy alternatives are not yet proven and viable.  Hello!  Supporters for the plant kept touting that this was a “clean-coal plant” and that they trusted Dominion to do what was right for the environment and the health of the citizens of Virginia.  Humm....let’s see, is releasing 5.4 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere yearly, blowing up mountains, destroying valley streams, etc. good for the environment and the health of the planet and all that live on it?  We need to show that renewable energy can also provide jobs, economic growth and the “needed” energy of the future.  We need to show that the citizens of Virginia want to do better than “clean coal” and that we are ready to make changes to reduce our energy needs and set higher goals for a cleaner and safer environment. 


The DEQ is accepting written comments until March 12th, 2008 about the Wise County coal-fired power plant air pollution permit.  Get those emails and letters sent in, if you haven’t already done so.  Urge the DEQ to deny the air pollution permit for this power plant on the grounds of air pollution and its effects on the environment and the health of its inhabitants.


Click link below to email a letter to the DEQ: Deadline for written comments is 3/12/08


Click here to read Jan Newton's testimony at the DEQ public comment hearing - opposing the air pollution permit.  February 19th, Richmond, Virginia.  The above link also contains more links to learn more about mountaintop removal and the hazards of burning coal.


New in 2008:  Rain Barrel Rebate for  JCSA Water Customers 

Starting the first of the New Year, James City Service Authority (JCSA) will refund the purchase price of up to four rain barrels or materials to build them, with a maximum of $25 per rain barrel.  A rain barrel collects and stores rainwater from your roof so it can be used during periods of limited rainfall to water your lawn, garden, or indoor plants, fill your birdbaths, and wash your car, boat, dog, or muddy shoes. By conserving municipal water, you can save money, ensure water availability for emergencies like firefighting especially during summer, reduce stormwater runoff to protect our waterways, and promote a conscientious culture of wise water use and conservation. You must be a JCSA water customer to apply, which includes James City County residents who are not on wells or Newport News Waterworks water.


For more information, visit Be Water Smart Program and click on Rebates at the bottom of the page, e-mail or call 757-253-6859.




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John Clayton Chapter of the VNPS, P.O. Box 1128, Williamsburg, VA 23187,

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