Places We Protect

Fernbrook Natural Area

Virginia

A low angle view from the forest floor looking up at the underside of a large pinkish mushroom.  The ground is covered in leaves. Thick tree trunks are seen in the background.
Fernbrook mushroom Fernbrook Preserve is excellent example of a southern Piedmont forest in varying stages of succession. © Nancy Carey

An excellent example of a southern Piedmont forest in varying stages of succession.

Overview

Description

George and Jacintha Paschal donated the 63-acre tract in 1963 as a land gift and requested that it be preserved in its natural state.

Prior to 1963, Fernbrook was used for agriculture, cattle and timber. For the first time since the original virgin timber was cut, the forest is being allowed to "complete" succession into a mature stand, paralleling the Shenandoah National Park, where the woodland is evolving to resemble pre-Colonial forest.

Upland hardwoods include red oak, yellow poplar, hickory, black gum, red maple, American beech, and other species with scattered shortleaf and Virginia pine. 

Bottomland hardwoods include sycamore, ash, hackberry, red maple, black walnut and yellow poplar.

The small streams and springs that run through the natural area support a variety of plant species. Spotted loe-pye-weed, Virginia knotweed, partridge pea, dwarf Saint-John's-wort, blue phlox and a host of other wildflowers may be found blooming at Fernbrook at various times of the year. There are also several uncommon species, such as the southern adder's tongue. 

Birds sighted here include the pileated woodpecker, ovenbird, scarlet tanager, ruby-throated hummingbird, and the red-tailed hawk. Bobcats have been known to wander through the area.

Fernbrook is a part of the Old Growth Forest Network, a national network dedicated to protecting old-growth and mature native forests in the US for the benefits they provide to people and nature.

Fernbrook is intended to be used as a true “natural area” for study and observation, rather than a recreational destination. It is accessible to the public with prior permission. Contact TNC at 434-951-0579 for information about visiting the preserve.

Access

Limited Access

Contact TNC at 434-951-0579 for information about visiting this preserve.

Location

Albemarle County, VA

Map with marker: Hybrid road and topographical map showing an orange pointer centered north-east of Charlottesville, VA.

Highlights

Fernbrook Natural Area is a part of the Old Growth Forest Network.

Size

63 acres

Explore our work in Virginia

Fernbrook Flora and Fungi

Fernbrook supports a variety of plant species. Spotted loe-pye-weed, Virginia knotweed, partridge pea, dwarf Saint-John's-wort, blue phlox and a host of other wildflowers may be found at various times of the year. There are also several uncommon species, such as the southern adder's tongue.

Nine delicate purple flowers bloom on thin stems growing from a slender central stalk.
A large fan shaped mushroom with multiple fanned lobes striped in striking shades of brown and purple.
View looking up under the gilled caps of a cluster of six white mushrooms.
A small green and cream colored snail with an intricately marked shell creeps next to an open mouth, yellow mushroom.
Two round green leaves shelter a small numb that will grow into a vertical stalk with a small white flower.
A thicket of black vines with long, curved thorns creates a barrier in a forest.
Small white flowers with delicate paddle shaped petals.
A row of open mouthed urn shaped mushrooms grow underneath a fallen log in a forest.
View looking down into the open "mouths" of a cluster of brown urn shaped mushrooms.
The end of a green fern curves into a ball. The tops of other curved head ferns are just visible at the bottom of the photo.
A bright orange newt with five black ringed red spots.
Red Eft (Notophthalmus viridescens) the juvenile form of the Eastern newt. Fernbrook Preserve. © Nancy Carney

Get Involved

Preserve Volunteer Program

Virginia's Preserve Volunteer Community Program provides a vital service to help us maintain and monitor our public preserves across the state.

How can you get involved?

  • Community Members—become involved with a preserve without committing time to stewardship work. Receive periodic updates about the preserve and special events.
  • Preserve Stewards—visit Fernbrook at least 4 times a year to assess trail and preserve conditions and perform basic trail maintenance by removing fallen branches and overgrown vegetation.
  • ...

Virginia's Preserve Volunteer Community Program provides a vital service to help us maintain and monitor our public preserves across the state.

How can you get involved?

  • Community Members—become involved with a preserve without committing time to stewardship work. Receive periodic updates about the preserve and special events.
  • Preserve Stewards—visit Fernbrook at least 4 times a year to assess trail and preserve conditions and perform basic trail maintenance by removing fallen branches and overgrown vegetation.
  • Preserve Leaders—demonstrated commitment to the preserve and willingness to take on additional responsibilities like managing communication & scheduling, leading workdays and guiding naturalist hikes.

Please contact Jen Dalke, volunteer coordinator, at 434-951-0572 or jdalke@tnc.org to receive further information.

Download the Fernbrook Natural Area Preserve Volunteer Program handbook to learn more.

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