This part of website under construction – we will be adding technical reports at end of this section

Bryan Park Nature Center and Educational programs temporary closed! No classes until the Fall.
However, Nature Center native Plant and Pollinator Garden and several trails in the Nature Preserve are open and accessible to the public. Follow Park signs to Nature Center (west of Shelter # 1)

Nature Center Native Plant and Pollinator Garden

The Virginia Master Naturalists (Riverine Chapter) has been working for years to create an educational and environmental resource adjacent to the Nature Center. In 6-8 garden plots, they have cultivated typical and unusual native plants, which are labeled clearly; with a concentration on pollinator plants, which are critically important to attract, feed, and host insects and some birds. Most are attracted to showy flowers, but some are…

Note that in the vicinity of the nature center and the garden, shrubs and trees have been planted that also attract and sustain a significant number of native birds and insect. In the older trees there, hawks and owls are regular residents – the are sometimes hard to spot but you can hear their distinctive calls. Note too, that many of the damaged trees and the standing trunks of the dead trees are retained, for the homes and shelter they provide, and a rich source of bugs and grubs, which are next wasted visitors and the

The Riverine Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists (covering the north half of Richmond; the covering the south half of Richmond ) has adopted three important environmental projects in Bryan Park:

  1. Cultivating the native plants and pollinator gardens.
  2. Reducing and removing invasive species
  3. Regularly cleaning Bryan parks floodplains.

The Riverine volunteers generally meet at the Bryan Park Nature Center on Friday mornings, to tend the plants, and water and weed as needed. You are invited to come and meet some of them, and learn first-hand about environmental restoration, the relationship between native plants, insects, and birds, the problems with non-native species and the curse of invasives, and MORE!

For additional information, see the VMN website for info about weekly work sessions or special tours, contact by email.

Native American Bees and their relatives

Our preliminary plans were to install honeybee hives colonies in this area, because our pollinating insects play such an important rolé in perpetuating flowers, and fertilizing fruit and nut trees.

However, new research suggests that European honeybees may out-compete native bees, which would make them lose access to flowers and nectar, diminish their habitat and populations, and push them toward regional extinction. Native bees, such as bumblebees, do not produce much marketable honey, but their role in fertilizing native plants is profound. Did you know that they specialize in fertilizing pumpkins, blueberries and tomatoes?

For that reason, Friends of Bryan Park and the Riverine volunteers have elected to concentrate on providing Native Bee homes for Bryan Park, You can see them, somewhat like bird-houses, attached to trees, facing east. Feel free to examine them closely, but please do not disturb them. To help you create better native bee habitats in your backyards, we will hold regular Bee Hotel workshops.