Monitoring at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

This week I had the pleasure of traveling up and down the coast of Virginia and Maryland with the rest of the North Carolina Botanical Garden SOS East interns and our “fearless leader” Amanda. One spot in particular that caught my attention was Back Bay National Wildlife Reserve on the coast of Virginia just south of Virginia Beach. The land is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and encompasses 4,589 acres of protected area. Although birds are the main target as far as protection is concerned, there is a vast array of plant species, as well as some interesting animals. One such creature we encountered was this little guy:

Cool spider at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Back Bay offers stunning views along the marsh lands as well as great spots for fishing along the Atlantic side.

Sound side at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Sound side

We picked an incredible day to visit Back Bay. We started out around 8 AM and got to feel the cool breeze coming off the Atlantic before the heat of the day took over.

Sand dune communities at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Sand dune communities

We saw many species of plants that are on our list for seed collection, including, but certainly not limited to: Juncus effusus, Cakile edentula, Smilax rotundifolia, Typha angustifolia and Typha latifolia. Each of those listed will provide plenty of seed for us to collect in the coming months when they mature, especially the two Typha’s!

Sound at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge


I cannot blame the many families we saw out there for visiting the site. It is a gorgeous place for biking, hiking, picnicking, birding, you name it! I can’t wait to visit time and time again for both seed collection and leisure!

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