2. Sunset on the Dragon

The February meeting of the Northern Neck Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society (NNNPS) is Thursday, February 20, at noon at Wicomico Parish Church, 5191 Jesse Ball Dupont Hwy. (Route 200) in Wicomico Church and is free and open to the public.  

The scheduled presentation is on Dragon Run watershed located across the Rappahannock River on the Middle Peninsula. This 140 square mile watershed is an extensive swamp area that meanders through one of the most northern bald cypress swamp-forest in North America. A report by the Smithsonian Institution in 1974, ranked Dragon Run Swamp to be the second most significant ecological area in their study of 232 rivers and streams surrounding the Chesapeake Bay.  

Teta Kain, often called the “Empress of the Dragon” is known for her many decades of leading kayak trips for education and conservation on Dragon Run.  A self-taught naturalist, her Dragon Run wildlife library contains over 25,000 photographs of birds, butterflies, moths, plants and other natural things.  As she likes to say, “Nature study and photography have been governing forces in my life and have led me on incredible paths of adventure.” Her talk will be a travelogue though the natural history of this most unique Virginia region. Much of the region has been protected, in perpetuity, under conservation easements by several land trusts. Kayak trips for the public are led through the more pristine sections of the swamp annually in April, May and October.

“The region is largely undeveloped today and much of it is nearly the same as it was when discovered by John Smith in 1607 as he crossed the area to meet the Native American leader, Powhatan and his daughter Pocahontas,” said Ted Munns, President of the Northern Neck Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society.  

The program will also feature the Chapter’s Conservation and Horticulture Chair Betsy Washington’s introduction to the February Plant of the Month, the Black Willow, Salix nigra.  “This native plant is a fantastic butterfly host and wonderful edge plant for damp or wet areas,” said Washington. 

The Chapter invites the public to attend and feel free to bring a brown bag lunch; some snacks and beverages will be available.  There will be a social lunch and announcements for a short while before our featured presentation

The Northern Neck Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society is one of 11 chapters in the state. It is a volunteer non-profit 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.