Ivy Talks

Hugh Carr

Hugh Carr


Ivy Talks are a monthly lecture series that examines both the natural and cultural history of Ivy Creek Natural Area and River View Farm. Some of these talks focus on subjects that relate to the history of the Carr/Greer family and African-American life in Albemarle County during the 1800s and 1900s. Other talks in this series focus on the flora and fauna of Ivy Creek Natural Area and environmental issues that we are facing today. These talks are currently being offered on Zoom. Many of these talks have been recorded; links to the videos on YouTube are found below. All talks are free.

Upcoming Ivy Talks

Black Agrarianism: Historical Lessons for the Present and Future (December 6, 6:30 PM)

Hugh CarrIt is easy to forget, and perhaps often intentionally ignored, that African Americans in the United States were first and foremost a people of the land, farmers. The life of Hugh Carr exemplifies how many black folks in the United States continued to live in the agrarian south. Hugh Carr was part of the Hydraulic Mills/Union Ridge community, and an examination of his life within this community provides essential insight into how the ancestors provided an oppositional consciousness-a way to think about life that could enable one to have positive self- esteem even amid harsh and brutal circumstances. Carr’s (as well as many of his contemporaries) legacy of self-determination and hard work continues to provide a living challenge to the enduring racist stereotype claiming that African Americans are lazy and unwilling to work independently without white supervision. However, an examination of the black agrarian lifestyle of individuals like Hugh Carr also illustrates a moral relationship with the land. This moral relationship resulted in the development of beloved communities where people looked out for each other and cared for one another. How did this form of blackagrarianism and beloved community develop? More  importantly, how can this framework previously designed by the ancestors assist currently and into the future? According to bell hooks working the land, nurturing life, caring for crops and animals, gave African Americans of the past a place to dream and hope beyond race and racism, beyond oppressive and cruel white power. What lessons can be learned from this past and how can they inform the present and future? More specifically, how does the study of black agrarianism inform us about our relationship to the land (sustainability), food systems, community development, and democracy?

Dr. Teresa E. Leslie is a scientist, community engagement specialist and educator. In addition to her published research investigating the interaction and delicate balance between people, the environment, animals, and pathogens, Dr. Leslie has authored books and articles that examine the inter-relationships between racism and classism, public/global health inequity and sustainable community development in both national and international contexts. From 2007-2013, she worked as a post doctorate fellow at the Naval Medical Research Center’s Viral and Rickettsial Disease Department, Infectious Disease Directorate in Silver Spring Maryland. Dr. Leslie worked for eight years as Director of the Eastern Caribbean Public Health Foundation and served for five years as President of the Board of (STENAPA), an environmental conservation organization. In both capacities she advised public health and agriculture agencies. Recently, she served as the Scientific and Educational Director of Baltimore VALUE (Vaccine Acceptance and Access Live in Unity, Education, And Engagement) at Johns Hopkins University.

She currently serves as the Director of Public Health Research at EcoRay, the senior education development specialist at Central Maryland AHEC, and a Public Health Associate at The Center for Religion and the City at Morgan State University.

Register for this Zoom program here: https://app.donorview.com/4POyb

Past Ivy Talks

The Second Virginia Bird Breeding Atlas: A Bird Conservation Tool for the 21st Century (October 18, 6:30 PM)

Pileated woodpecker feeding youngThe 2nd Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas is among the largest volunteer-based avian survey projects to take place in Virginia, with close to 1,500 people having contributed data between 2016 and 2020. Those data are currently being analyzed and will be published as a publicly-accessible website in the fall of 2025. This presentation will introduce you to the Atlas, share some preliminary results, provide a peek at some of the forthcoming Atlas products, and discuss how the Atlas will contribute to bird conservation in Virginia by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) and their partners.

Sergio Harding holds a Master’s Degree in Biology from Virginia Tech, where his thesis work focused on the federally endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker in North Carolina. Sergio has worked as a Nongame Bird Conservation Biologist with DWR since 2005. He oversees various avian projects and coordinates with other agencies on bird conservation issues. He is also the Virginia coordinator of the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), and regularly participates in avian surveys. These have included breeding land bird surveys of Wildlife Management Areas, as well as surveys of bald eagles, peregrine falcons, golden-winged warblers, loggerhead shrikes and breeding marsh birds. play button

Black Virginians in Blue: The Untold Stories of Albemarle County's US Colored Troops (September 17, 2 PM)

Company I of the 36th Colored RegimentJoin us for our September Ivy Talk as we host Dr. William Kurtz, Dr. Kurtz's talk "Black Virginians in Blue: The Untold Stories of Albemarle County's US Colored Troops" tells the story of more than 250 Black men from Albemarle County and Charlottesville, VA, who served in the Union army or navy during the American Civil War. The talk is the result of almost five years of research and writing conducted by a team of UVA students under Dr. Kurtz's direction. Dr. Kurtz will discuss the incredible sacrifices this group of men made to save the Union and end slavery.

Dr. William Kurtz was the former Managing Director and Digital Historian at the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History at UVA. He received his PhD in History at the UVA in 2012. He has published two books and many articles related to the American Civil War. A past employee of Virginia Humanities, he is a veteran of a number of digital history projects including "Black Virginians in Blue," "UVA Unionists," "Founders Online," and "People of the Founding Era."  play button

God's Acre: Learning from African American Cemeteries (June 14, 2023, 6:30 PM)

Carr-Greer cemeteryIn her talk and book, "Hidden History," Lynn Rainville travels through the overlooked African American cemeteries of central Virginia to recover information crucial to the stories of the Black families who lived and worked there for hundreds of years. This illustrated lecture will present information from these historic graveyards to reveal attitudes towards death, religion, and the family. The talk will conclude with suggestions for how to re-locate, preserve, and share information about these sacred sites.

Lynn Rainville received her B.A. from Dartmouth College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. She has spent the last two decades studying Virginia’s historic cemeteries, enslaved communities, segregated schools, poor farms, and its role in World War I. Her grant-funded research has produced numerous articles and books. After 15 years as a college professor, Dr. Rainville founded an institute for public history and historic preservation at Sweet Briar College and, later, served as the Dean and chief academic officer. In 2019 she moved to Lexington to begin a new chapter in her career as the Executive Director of Institutional History and the Museums at Washington and Lee University, where she is also a professor of Anthropology.  play button

What Is a Prescribed Burn 101 (April 19, 2023,6:30 PM)

prescribed burn being startedFire can be an important tool for natural resource managers. Learn about fire’s historic use in Virginia, its benefits to ecosystems, how it can be used safely, and how Ivy Creek is using prescribed fire to maintain open field conditions.

David Powell is a District Forester with the Virginia Department of Forestry, supervising a nine-county area in central Virginia. He has held a variety of positions with the department over the past 30 years. David has two forestry degrees, a B.S. from N. C. State University and M.S. from Virginia Tech. He lives in Albemarle County.  play button

MVFP: Connecting Communities with Local Farmers (March 22, 2023, 6:30 PM)

photo of Minority and Veteran FarmersOur March 2023 Ivy Talk is presented by Sarah Morton from the Minority and Veteran Farmers of the Piedmont. She discusses their work as farmers and the important work of connecting with local communities.  play button


History of Agriculture in America (February 19, 2023, 2:00 PM)

photo of Michael CarterMichael Carter of Carter Farms and Africulture will take you on a brief but thorough journey through a post civil war history of agriculture in Virginia through an African American lens. This engaging conversation will highlight the good, the bad, and the ugly of agriculture, through laws, trends and cultural practices but will offer solutions and positive ways and practices toward the future.  play button

African American Fiddlers in Albemarle County (February 15, 2023, 6:30 PM)

Robert Scott homeBased on his research as a 2020 Fellow of the International Center for Jefferson Studies, David McCormick leads occasional tours of downtown Charlottesville that illuminate the lives of the Scott and Hemings family fiddlers with stops at Maplewood Cemetery, the one-time sites of the Scott and Hemings family homes on Main Street, and a few other important landmarks like the Levy Opera House. In this online presentation, McCormick provides a virtual version of this tour, complete with a performance of fiddle tunes associated with the Scott and Hemings families.

Leading the charge for early music in the 21st century, David McCormick is a multi-instrumentalist, scholar, and educator recognized for curating imaginative performances, creating educational opportunities for students of all ages, and guiding prominent arts organizations through the challenges of our time. In 2021, David took the helm of Early Music America as its sixth executive director, with the ambition of creating a more inclusive, equitable space for all who engage with historical performance.

As artistic director of Early Music Access Project, David plays baroque violin and vielle (medieval fiddle) and transforms thoughtful research into dynamic programming. David is a founding member of Alkemie, a medieval ensemble based in New York City, with whom he has appeared at Indianapolis Early Music Festival, Music Before 1800, and Amherst Early Music Festival. He is a 2017 recipient of Shenandoah Conservatory’s Rising Stars Alumni Award. play button

Ivy Creek's Record of Deep Time (January 12, 2023, 6:30 PM)

rock with handThe geological history of the Charlottesville region stretches back more than a billion years into the ancient past. As this part of Earth has changed, new rocks and structures form. These rocks and structures interact with their predecessors, creating a composite record of past events. Taking a hike along the trails at Ivy Creek is an enjoyable way to get some exercise, but it’s also an opportunity to read a page in Earth’s autobiography. Geologist Callan Bentley will help translate that manuscript, teaching you to read Rock. Pairing Ivy Creek Natural Area’s outcrops with others in our region, a story emerges of the processes that built an ancient supercontinent, broke it apart, and then made another one in the same place! play button

Negro Extension Work in the American South: A Quest for Independence (December 14, 2022, 6:30 PM)

a group of extension agentsWatch the December 2022 Ivy Talk, "Negro Extension Work in the American South: A Quest for Independence." Conly Greer, who built the iconic barn at Ivy Creek Natural Area and Historic River View Farm, was Albemarle County's first African-American extension agent. Our speaker is Dr. Carmen Harris. Dr. Harris is a professor of history who teaches African-American, U.S., Southern, and Latin American history. Her research and teaching interests include African-American, Southern and South Carolina history. Dr. Harris served a six-year term as a member of the Board of Directors of the South Carolina Humanities Council, and has served on the Membership Committee and Minority Committee of the Southern Historical Association. Dr. Harris has published several articles and book chapters on various subjects related to African Americans in agricultural extension programs. play button

Black Bears and Mange in Virginia (November 16, 2022, 6:30 PM)

three baby bearsDavid Kocka, a District Wildlife Biologist with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources for the past 32 years, will be giving a talk on Virginia’s black bears, with an emphasis on the DWR’s efforts to understand the infestation and spread of sarcoptic mange in this relatively new host. David's current job responsibilities are the implementation of agency wildlife habitat and population programs over five counties in northwestern Virginia. In this position, he has spent considerable time on deer and black bear management issues. From 2014-2017, he also served as an Adjunct Professor at James Madison University teaching a Wildlife Management course. David holds degrees in Wildlife Management from West Virginia University (B.S.) and the University of Tennessee (M.S.) and has been a certified wildlife biologist since 1992. He has over 35 technical and/or popular publications to date, most recently publishing the book “Bear With Me, My Deer: Tails of a Virginia Wildlife Biologist” in 2017. In 2021 he was invited to become a member of the IUCN North American Bear Expert Team, which was created, in part, to increase capacity of the Bear Specialist Group and thereby increase bear conservation worldwide. play button

What’s Up with Our Oaks? (October 16, 2022, 2:00 PM)

oak treeOak decline is prevalent today across Virginia’s forests and landscapes. This syndrome is caused by a combination of factors, leading to decreased vigor and eventual death of older oak trees. To make matters worse, the prevalence of oaks as a forest component is also decreasing, mostly as a result of human activities and decisions. Come and learn what’s happening to our oaks, and what you can do to help the genus Quercus in Virginia.

Our presenter, Ellen Powell, is the Conservation Education Coordinator for the Virginia Department of Forestry, based at the agency’s Charlottesville headquarters. play button

Albemarle's Black Classrooms (September 18, 2022, 1:00 PM)

advance mills school interiorFrom post-emancipation education, to the first students to desegregate Albemarle County Public Schools. An update of his successful documentary film of the same name, in this presentation, filmmaker and storyteller Lorenzo Dickerson will share the history of the African-American educational experience.  Pulling from local stories, research, as well as his own experience as a student in the county, Lorenzo will discuss one and two-room school houses, Rosenwald Schools, Brown v. Board, Jackson P. Burley High School, the Albemarle 26 and more.  Expect a historical experience filled with visuals including archival photography, as well as video clips of local community members sharing first-hand experiences.  

Lorenzo Dickerson is a filmmaker/photographer and founder of Maupintown Media with documentary films that focus on sharing stories of African-American history and culture in Virginia. Lorenzo's films have been shown in various film festivals, broadcast on PBS, and used as a teaching tool in K-12 and college classrooms throughout the country. His own Maupintown Film Festival is held annually at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A native of Charlottesville/Albemarle, Lorenzo earned a BBA in business management and MBA in marketing from Strayer University and got started as a filmmaker sharing the stories of his own family, including being enslaved at Castle Hill plantation, their participation in the Great Migration, attending an historic Rosenwald School, and desegregating Albemarle County Public Schools.  

His dedication to community work in the local area was awarded with the 2019 Community Leadership Award from the Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Charlottesville, and he is a 2022 Community Fellow In-Residence at the Equity Center at the University of Virginia. Lorenzo now serves on the board of directors at Charlottesville's Paramount Theater, Preservation Piedmont as well as VPM’s Community Advisory Board. play button

The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (August 24, 2022, 6:30 pm)

hemlock with woolly adelgidThe hemlock woolly adelgid is a non-native invasive species that threatens both eastern and Carolina hemlocks. This species was accidentally introduced from Japan in the 1950s and has since become established throughout much of the native range of both hemlock species. A small sapsucking insect, this pest feeds during the winter and depletes stored nutrient reserves within the tree, and can cause mortality in heavily infested trees. In this presentation, you will learn about the biology and control options available for hemlock woolly adelgid. Our presenter, Katlin DeWitt, is a Forest Health Specialist with the Virginia Department of Forestry. play button

What It Means to Be a Descendant to Me (July 28, 2022, 6:30 pm)

Mariah PayneMariah Payne is a rising senior at Christopher Newport University and was an intern at the Ivy Creek Foundation. Many years ago, one of her family members discovered their relation to the Gillettes, an enslaved family at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Earlier this summer, Mariah also learned about her relation to Texie Mae Hawkins as her great great great aunt. In “What It Means to Be a Descendant to Me,” Mariah will share what she knows about each family and discuss her perspective as well as how it feels to learn about her own descendancy as an African American. She hopes to inspire others to research their family history and continue the dialogue on descendancy in central Virginia. play button

Getting Started with Birding (June 9, 2022, 6:30 pm)

CardinalCaroline Bertrand was recently introduced to birding and is happy to share tips to assist you in your journey to learn more about birds and how to identify them.  "Getting Started with Birding" covers "how-to" (by sight, by ear, by app...), "where to" (your backyard, Ivy Creek...), and about 10 common birds that are good to learn as beginners. Caroline says, "I have taken the PVCC bird class four times and I remember vividly standing in my yard, hearing 10 different things and only being able to identify two...I want to show the audience that it's possible to learn and that we now have super easy tools to do it."

Caroline was kind enough to share her slide deck with us, which you can view here. Watch the talk here: play button

Lucille Smith and the Albemarle Training School  (May 26, 2022, 6:30 pm)

Albemarle Training SchoolMrs. Lucille Smith, the author of the upcoming book, The Three Area Segregated High Schools of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, will be speaking on Albemarle Training School (ATS) and the one- and two-room schools that fed into it. Mary Carr Greer, who inherited River View Farm from her father Hugh Carr and lived there for many years, was a principal at ATS. 

Mrs. Smith's talk will draw from her book, which will highlight the educational system for African American children in Charlottesville and Albemarle County in 1926 to 1951, when Jackson P. Burley High School was built and the three area schools were closed. The schools were overcrowded, with as many as 244 students being taught in five or six rooms. Many of the schools of Albemarle County began as makeshift facilities, in need of repair, poorly heated, ventilated and the teachers and students only had access to worn, second-hand books for teaching and learning. Twelfth grade was not offered until Burley High School opened. The book will capture some of the story of brave parents, community and religious leaders who were on a mission to achieve a better education for their children. play button

Bringing Natives Home (April 20, 2022, 6:30 pm)

beech and broomsedgeJoin us for our April talk with Cathy Clary to learn about planting natives in your garden. Cathy lives in Afton, Virginia, where she writes a blog and consults on the home landscape (www.hollowgarden.com). She taught horticulture and landscape design for the University of Virginia's Personal Enrichment program (www.scps.virginia.edu) for 14 years, worked as Head Gardener at Albemarle House, Landscape Supervisor at Morven Estate, and Gardener at Monticello. As a freelance writer, her columns and articles have appeared in C-VILLE Weekly and Abode, Virginia Gardener, Virginia Living, Fine Gardening, and the Virginia Garden Guide. play button

Minnie Lee McGehee and the Rivanna River (March 24, 2022, 6:30 pm)

Minnie Lee McGeheeMinnie Lee McGehee, a native of Fluvanna County, played an important role in the effort to get the Rivanna River designated as a Virginia Scenic River. She served on the Rivanna Scenic River Advisory Committee and wrote Mr. Jefferson's River: The Rivanna, a book about the history of navigation, mills and communities along the Rivanna. She researched and wrote about Fluvanna County History for the Fluvanna County Historical Society for half a century and uncovered much lost knowledge of local history. In addition to history, she had a great love of the outdoors and plants of all kinds. Her book on the Rivanna ends with a plea for its preservation. play button

African American Farmers and the Challenges They Face (February 20, 2022, 2 pm)

John BoydDr. John W. Boyd will be speaking on the challenges that African American farmers have faced in the past as well as today. Dr. John W. Boyd Jr. is a fourth-generation farmer as well as one of America's most effective defenders of civil rights. He has been featured in The Washington Post, "60 Minutes," "Nightline," CNN, and as ABC News Tonight "Person of the Week." He is a past nominee for the NAACP's highest honor, The Springarn Award, and currently ranks as one of Ebony Magazine's most influential African-Americans.

In 1995, Boyd founded the National Black Farmers Association after encountering the US Department of Agriculture's discriminatory practices first-hand and meeting many more black farmers who shared this experience. Boyd soon led NBFA members in a march on the White House. He went on to meet with President Clinton and to testify before Congress. The plight of Black farmers had caught the nation's attention, but Boyd's pursuit of justice continues to this day. Boyd lives in Baskerville, Virginia where he continues to work his farm. play button

African American Farmers in Albemarle County (February 17, 2022, 7 pm)

Mr. Kenton Sheffield GardnerJoin us as we explore the lives of African American farmers in Albemarle County and the trials, tribulations, and triumphs that they faced. We will host descendants from three different African American farming families in Albemarle County. We will explore who these farmers were, how farming supported their livelihoods, and how they contributed to their communities. These farmers were Mr. James R. Butler, who served as the Extension Agent after Conly Greer retired, Mr. Willie Hudson, of Esmont, and Mr. Kenton Sheffield Gardner, of Esmont. play button

Efforts to Restore the American  Chestnut in Virginia, Setbacks, and Progress (January 23, 2022, 2 pm)

chestnut leavesTom Wild will be presenting our January talk on Chestnut Restoration in Virginia. Tom grew up in the Tidewater area of VA. His previous career was in geology, working for 25 years for Chevron, specializing in downhole sensing technology, interpretation, research and teaching. He and his wife Anne moved to Charlottesville in 2008, where he has worked as a consultant for oil, environmental firms, and the US Geologic Survey. Today he is fully retired and is involved with the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA and numerous nature organizations, including the Rivanna Master Naturalists, Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards, Ivy Creek Foundation and VA chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation. Tom has been working with the Chestnut Foundation since 2015 and is currently the chapter secretary. play button

Promoting Biodiversity at Ivy Creek: Fire, Deer, and Invasive Species Management (December 5, 2021, 2 pm)

North Field at ICNAMaximizing biodiversity in a place such as the Ivy Creek Natural Area requires active intervention. John Scrivani will discuss past and future biodiversity projects at Ivy Creek. John received his PhD in Forest Management from Oregon State University in 1985. After teaching forestry at Virginia Tech for four years, John took a Research Forester position with the Virginia Department of Forestry, where he managed field research, pine breeding, and forest inventory.  John joined the Ivy Creek Board of Directors in 1998 and served as President in 2000 and 2001.  John led the efforts to establish the warm-season grass fields and helped conduct the first prescribed burns at Ivy Creek.  John retired in 2017, to teach part-time at the University of Richmond, and to devote his volunteer efforts towards ecologic restoration, with both The American Chestnut Foundation and the Ivy Creek Foundation. play button

The History of the Monacan Nation and Town of Monasukapanough (November 7, 2021, 2 pm)

1609 map of Monacan NationIvy Creek Foundation was thrilled to host Edith Branham and Teresa Pollak of the Monacan Nation and Jeff Hantman, UVA Professor Emeritus, on November 7th, 2021.  The three discussed the history of the Monacan Nation and the Monacan town Monasukapanough, which was once located on the Rivanna River just down from where Ivy Creek Natural Area is now located. play button

Our Public Treasure:  An Update on Ivy Creek Foundation's Efforts to Preserve and Interpret River View Farm (April 11, 2021, 2 pm)

Mowing at the River View Farm farmhouseDid you know that River View Farm is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places? Local historical landscape architect, Liz Sargent, assisted by historic preservation architect, Jody Lahendro, will guide us through the research work of a dedicated group of volunteers who support the preservation and interpretation of RVF. This important and exciting work helps further the ICF mission of connecting people to the past and present by honoring the land, history, and community. Join us in learning more about the vision and how you might participate or contribute!

Liz Sargent is a historical landscape architect, and principal of Liz Sargent HLA, a historic preservation firm based in Charlottesville. Liz is a former Board Member of Ivy Creek Foundation and lead of the Farmhouse study group that took the lead on preparing a National Register of Historic Places nomination for River View Farm. The group included many dedicated supporters who conducted extensive research into the history of River View Farm and the Carr-Greer Farmhouse in order to guide appropriate preservation and interpretation strategies for the future. This work continues under the auspices of the Foundation's Education Committee. Liz continues to contribute to this process by sharing her experience working on similar projects throughout the country.

Jody Lahendro is the Supervisory Historic Preservation Architect at UVA's Office of Facilities Management. His advice has been critical in the stabilization work being performed on the Carr-Greer Farmhouse and its outbuildings.  play button

Bringing Back the Bluebird: How Can You Be Part of It?  (March 14, 2021, 2 pm)

Two male bluebirdsIn the 1970s the populations of Bluebirds plummeted and their future was in question. Please join us for this exciting talk about one of the greatest conservation stories in America with the comeback of the Eastern Bluebird. Mike Bishop, native Virginian and master naturalist, will recount how the grassroots campaign that established trails of housing for the birds has brought back their numbers dramatically through the help of volunteers.

Mike is a native Virginian that has been interested in all wildlife since an early age. Since 1982 Mike has been involved with Bluebirds and Purple Martins where he established trails and colonies on his parent's property in Spotsylvania County, VA.Mike retired after 37 years in public safety, several years as a professional firefighter and then serving 21 years with the Fairfax County Police Dept. Retaining his lifelong love for the environment and native animals, he became a Virginia Master Naturalist in 2013 and was hired as a part time naturalist for the Fairfax County Park Authority, instructing school students in stream and watershed ecology.  He is also a Board member of the Virginia Bluebird Society. In 2015 he founded the Northern Virginia Purple Martin Initiative that has a mission statement of "Saving our native wildlife through direct action." To date it has established 23 Martin colonies, 4 Bluebird trails, a Wood Duck Trail and a Kestrel project on public lands.  play button

Bird's Eye View: Exploring the Historical Landscape of Ivy Creek Natural Area from Above (February 14, 2021, 2 pm)

Map of 1940s black-owned parcelsJoin us for a virtual tour of historic River View Farm and the surrounding Union Ridge area. Did you know that ICNA was part of a vibrant African American community? Illustrated with vintage maps and numerous aerial photographs spanning from the 1930s to 1970s, local Geographic Information Systems Analyst, Erik Irtenkauf will explore Ivy Creek's past and present. play button

Odonata:  Dragonflies and Damselflies! (March 8, 2020, 2 pm)

Our presentation will focus on dragonflies and damselflies with a particular emphasis on the species observed in Albemarle County.  Through a presentation of photos, we will discuss their natural history and ecology including their fascinating life cycles, role as predators and prey, preferred habitats, and some basic anatomy and tips for ID. After the presentation, specimens of adults, larvae, and exuviae will be available for viewing. 

Jim Childress and Emily Luebke, two local amateur naturalists, will present the program.  Mr. Childress has been doing fieldwork in this area for about 15 years, and published an article on the subject in Banisteria, the journal of the Virginia Natural History Society.  Ms. Luebke works as a field tech and wildlife photographer for Center for Urban Habitats and is also a member of the Rivanna Master Naturalists. 

Why Are Snakes So Cool? (February 9, 2020, 2 pm)

Whether your reaction is adoration or fear, there is no denying that everyone is fascinated by snakes. We will explore a few of the unique aspects of snake biology that generate their appeal, from how they lost their legs, to how they deliver venom, to their resistance to deadly poisons. We will also delve into the diversity of snakes in Virginia and beyond, with special attention to the biology of some of the species that are likely to be encountered at Ivy Creek.

Butch Brodie is the BFD Runk Professor of Biology at the University of Virginia, and is the Director of Mountain Lake Biological Station. He is an evolutionary biologist who studies how natural selection generates biodiversity, and how arms-races between species play out in nature. His research has taken him throughout Central and North America, studying mostly reptiles, amphibians, and insects.

The Nature of Art: Seeing and Sketching Ivy Creek (November 10, 2019, 2 pm)

Virginia Greene, a local nature illustrator, will discuss the relationship between art and the natural sciences in the context of her own life as a biologist and artist. We’ll then discuss the value of sketching from nature and the basics of “seeing” nature with an artist’s intent, followed by a few optional drawing exercises, using both specimens indoors and plants and animals outdoors. Materials and light refreshments will be provided. Come learn another way to appreciate the natural world around us!

Ahead of Its Time: The (Unlikely) Creation of the Ivy Creek Natural Area (October 13, 2019, 2 pm)

Dede will discuss how one woman's dream to save a beloved landscape from development, fueled a movement to protect the Riverview Farm homestead as an natural oasis in a growing county. Come learn more about the movers and shakers of the 1970s who made Ivy Creek Natural Area a reality, and what we've learned since about the value of conservation and preservation.

Dede Smith served as the Director of the Ivy Creek Foundation from 1993-2007. During her tenure, the Education Center was built, Ragged Mountain Natural Area was created, and Ivy Creek was honored as an African American Heritage site. Dede volunteers as a nature guide in the Schools Tour Program and sits on the Carr-Greer farmhouse preservation committee.

Our Wild Neighbors: How Can We Help Them? (September 8, 2019, 2 pm)

Sarah Cooperman, from Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary, will share her experience as a wildlife rehabilitator and discuss the many challenges that wildlife face in urban areas like Charlottesville.  Sarah will be bringing some live scaly, feathered and fuzzy educational ambassadors so you can get a close look at some of our wild neighbors!   Children are especially welcomed to this Ivy Talk. 

All About Food: Ivy Creek Farm, Hugh Carr to Mary and Conly Greer (April 7, 2019, 2 pm)

Alice Cannon, local artist and historian, will share River View Farm through the lens of food, from the first agricultural census that recorded Hugh Carr's crops, through the meals his daughter Mary Carr Greer cooked with her students at Albemarle Training School, to the county-wide efforts to improve farms that her husband Conly Greer brought to African American farmers as Albemarle's first black Agricultural Extension agent.

Pollinator Habitat! (March 17, 2019)

Nancy Adamson of the Xerces Society and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service will discuss benefits of pollinators to humans and wildlife. Learn about the importance of native bees in local food production, and their connections to native plants, wildlife, and watersheds. Nancy will share resources for supporting diverse pollinators and other beneficial insects (many reduce garden pest problems!) by providing pollen, nectar, and shelter through the year.

Visions of River View Farm: The Carr-Greer Farmhouse at Ivy Creek (February 10, 2019)

Liz Sargent, historical landscape architect, and Steve Thompson, archeologist, shared updated information about ongoing renovation and rehabilitation planning for the historic River View Farmhouse at Ivy Creek. Efforts are intended to preserve this important local landmark and to integrate it more fully into the ICNA visitor experience. Learn about the house, its evolution, and its owners and occupants for nearly a century.

Lifting the Veil: A Hidden World of Plant-Fungal Interactions (November 11, 2018)

Get a glimpse into the little-known world of plant-fungal relationships with Mary Jane Epps, Assistant Professor of Biology at Mary Baldwin University. Based on a range of recent studies in the scientific literature, we explored how tiny fungal symbionts shape much of how plants interact with other organisms and their environment, often in surprising ways!

We Are All Downstream, restoring water quality for future generations (October 14, 2018)

Learn about current threats to water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed with Robert Jennings of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation on October 14 at 2 pm. Nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment have caused many of our Bay water quality issues. How do nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment harm water quality and aquatic life? What can we do and can we solve the problems we have created? The Bay restoration is the largest scale watershed restoration in worldwide history. If successful, it could be a model for many other major watersheds across the nation and globe to emulate and improve upon, including the Mississippi River, Puget Sound, the Great Lakes, and more.

Endangered Species Act (September 30, 2018)

Of Mussels, Eagles, and the Pit Bull of Environmental Laws

Extinction is forever. Join us as Jon Cannon, distinguished UVA Environmental Law professor, discusses the Endangered Species Act. Sometimes called the pit bull of environmental laws, this Act helps preserve the balance of nature that serves Earth, our Ivy Creek resources, and all of humanity. Limited financial resources and recent actions by federal officials have reduced the Act’s reach and effectiveness. Proposed Congressional reform initiatives could further weaken protections for endangered species, as could litigation now pending before the Supreme Court.

Despite strong resistance from some states, developers, and anti-regulatory activists, the Act has worked to keep important species from extinction and promote their recovery. Endangered species we encounter locally, like the Bald Eagle (no longer on the endangered species list) and the James River Spiny Mussel, have benefitted from the its protections.

Jonathan Cannon is the Blaine T. Phillips Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law at the University of Virginia School of Law, where he also serves as director of the law school’s environmental and land use law program. He joined the law school faculty in 1998 from the Environmental Protection Agency, where he served as general counsel (1995-98) and assistant administrator for administration and resources management (1992-95). Cannon teaches environmental and energy law, land use law, and conservation planning and law. He has written on institutional design for programs as diverse as Chesapeake Bay Restoration and Superfund; the Supreme Court’s environmental decisions; and the future of the environmental movement. He is the author of “Environment in the Balance: The Green Movement and the Supreme Court,” published in 2015 by Harvard University Press. Cannon serves on the Board of Directors of the Environmental Law Institute and on the Advisory Board of Policy Integrity Institute.

Albemarle’s History Story Mapping (April 8, 2018)

Local Geographic Information Systems analyst, Erik Irtenkauf, will present the history of Albemarle County, specifically Ivy Creek Natural Area and the Hollymead vicinity using story maps. Story maps create an interpretative narrative of the history of these areas using digital maps, texts, photos and other records. We will explore the Carr-Greer families as well as other earlier landowners who shaped ICNA and learn how the presence of early inhabitants can still be seen today and the transformation from quiet rural farms to the bustling neighborhoods and commercial centers of today. See more here: https://ivycreek.maps.arcgis.com/home/index.html

Wings Of Wonder: Birds of Prey (March 11, 2018)

Come see “Wings Of Wonder: Birds of Prey” an interactive, award-winning program delivered by Wendy and Ron Perrone, of the Three Rivers Avian Center, featuring live birds of prey including owls, falcons, hawks, and Regis, the Bald Eagle! Come see these birds up close, get to know about their habitats, and collect tips about what you can do to help wild birds around you. Bring your family and friends, and don’t forget your camera! This is a great interactive program for all ages. Three Rivers Avian Center is a West Virginia private, non-profit organization dedicated to providing veterinary and rehabilitative care to injured non-game wild birds and to educating and involving the public in ecosystem stewardship.

Tapes in the Attic and the Stories They Tell (February 11, 2018)

Come celebrate Black History Month with Ivy Creek!  Learn about the treasured tapes found in a 2015 cleanup of the Ivy Creek Education Building.  Ivy Creek historians, Dede Smith and Alice Cannon, will lead us through samples of recordings made in the 1980s that detail memories of the River View Farm property owned by Hugh Carr, an emancipated slave, and the Carr-Greer family.  Grandsons, Benjamin and Charles Whitten, recall their childhood visits to the farm and extended family in the 1920s and 30s.  The tapes of James Butler, extension agent for the African American farming community in the 50s who succeeded Conly Greer, take us on a tour through the barn and his recollections of it during the Greer time.  The information contained in these tapes led to changes in the interpretation of the barn and a better understanding of the life at River View Farm and the people connected to it.

Leaf, Blossom, Seed: A Brush With Nature (November 12, 2017)

Botanical artist, Lara Call Gastinger, will seek to inspire you with a presentation of her field journals, illustrations for the Flora of Virginia, and her recent botanical watercolor paintings. We will examine how the native flora of this area changes through the seasons and how an artist documents plants with watercolors.

Genius of Birds (October 8, 2017)

Acclaimed science and nature writer Jennifer Ackerman delves into cutting-edge research on the newly discovered brilliance of birds, revealing the science of their brains and behaviors. Jennifer's illustrated talk will explore how birds make and use their own sophisticated tools, solve complex problems, navigate to places they've never been, demonstrate astonishing feats of memory, craft artistic creations, negotiate their social world, and communicate in ways that resemble language.

Virginia's Bears: Forest, Field, and Front Porch (Sept. 10, 2017)

Bear on couchDavid Kocka discusses the management, habits and behaviors of black bears in Virginia. Topics of interest to homeowners and naturalists include how we can safely interact with bears and how to prevent bears from intruding upon human living spaces. Mr. Kocka is a District Wildlife Biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. play button

Bees and Beekeeping in Today's World (March 12, 2017)

Bee covered with pollenKaren and Ken Hall of the Central Virginia Beekeepers Association discuss the role of honeybees and beekeeping in modern society, and how we can enhance and protect them as a valuable resource. Their talk addresses such questions as, "Why do honeybees swarm?", "Are they taking pollen and nectar that would otherwise go to native bees?" and "Will honeybees survive?" play button

Bound to the Fire: Slavery, Race and Food in 18th and 19th Century Virginia (Nov. 13, 2016)

Bound to the FireThis talk focuses on enslaved cooks at Virginia plantations including Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and George Washington's Mount Vernon, revealing how these enslaved persons were literally "bound to the fire," and yet, in these sweltering and often fetid conditions, produced delicious, complex, labor-intensive dishes which have influenced modern American cuisine. Dr. Deetz's book, "Bound to the Fire" is available for sale. play button

Waterworks: A History of the Local Water Supply, 1819-2016: A Drama Unfolding in Two Acts (Sept. 11, 2016)

Sugar Hollow Reservoir - mid 1900sIn the first part, Steve Thompson, local archaeologist, principal at Rivanna Archaeological Services and ICF Board Member, focuses on water supply at the University of Virginia from its founding to its collaborative venture to create the first publicly-owned municipal waterworks. In the talk's second part, long-time Charlottesville resident, former director of ICF and founder of Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan, Dede Smith, chronicles the growth and evolution of the public supply system from the first Ragged Mountain Reservoir in 1886 through the recently completed dam reconstruction.

It Will Take Care of You: Farming in Albemarle County, VA in the 1930s to 1950s (May 22, 2016)

Molasses makingThis talk focuses on an interview with John Crickenberger and William Garrison, farmers near Charlottesville, about various farming techniques used in Albemarle County, VA from the 1930s through 1950s, especially dairy farming. Included is a discussion of River View Farm, purchased by Hugh Carr soon after Emancipation, and his son-in-law, Conly Greer, African Americans who farmed successfully in the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras in Virginia. By the end of the 1970s River View Farm had become the Ivy Creek Natural Area, a wildlife protection area managed by the Ivy Creek Foundation. play button

African American Heritage Trail Map: Union Ridge (Feb. 14, 2016)

Hugh CarrAfter the Civil War, the ridge crossed by the present-day roads of Hydraulic, Georgetown, and Woodburn was settled by emancipated African American families who created a vibrant farming community. Today the African American Heritage Trail Map: Union Ridge explores this area. Ivy Creek Natural Area is the first stop on the tour, as it is situated on the former River View Farm, once the largest African American-owned farm in the area. This talk goes into more depth about the untold African American history of this area. play button