top of page

Home Page

Park Activities

   Calendar of Events
Volunteer Programs

   Park Regulations

Sky Meadows Park
   Visiting Park

   Virtual Tours

Crooked Run Valley

   Historic District

   Architecture Sites

   Mt. Bleak

   Historical Events

   Park History


Special Projects

   Blue Bird

   Biodiversity Survey



A variety of databases are used in the Nature Guide. The following

represent the primary (although not exclusive) sources of informa-

tion. Click on the anchor link to go to the appropriate database; for

each, their respective purpose or mission statement is reproduced.


ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System)
PLANTS Database
USDA Forest Service
FEIS (Fire Effects Information System)
VDGIF (Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries)
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
VDF (Virginia Department of Forestry)


ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System)

The White House Subcommittee on Biodiversity and Ecosystem

Dynamics has identified systematics as a research priority that is

fundamental to ecosystem management and biodiversity conserva-

tion. This primary need identified by the Subcommittee requires

improvements in the organization of, and access to, standardized

nomenclature. ITIS (originally referred to as the Interagency Taxon-

omic Information System) was designed to fulfill these requirements.

In the future, the ITIS will provide taxonomic data and a directory

of taxonomic expertise that will support the system.

The ITIS is the result of a partnership of federal agencies formed to

satisfy their mutual needs for scientifically credible taxonomic inform-

ation. Since its inception, ITIS has gained valuable new partners and

undergone a name change; ITIS now stands for the Integrated Taxon-

omic Information System.

The goal is to create an easily accessible database with reliable inform-

ation on species names and their hierarchical classification.The database

will be reviewed periodically to ensure high quality with valid classifica-

tions, revisions, and additions of newly describedspecies. The ITIS

includes documented taxonomic information of flora and fauna from

both aquatic and terrestrial habitats.

The PLANTS Database

The PLANTS Database provides standardized information about the vas-

cular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its

territories. It includes names, plant symbols, checklists, distributional data,

species abstracts, characteristics, images, crop information, automated tools,

onward Web links, and references. This information primarily promotes

land conservation in the United States and its territories, but academic,

educational, and general use is encouraged. PLANTS reduces government

spending by minimizing duplication and making information exchange

possible across agencies and disciplines.

PLANTS is a collaborative effort of the USDA NRCS National Plant Data

Center (NPDC), the USDA NRCS Information Technology Center (ITC),

The USDA National Information Technology Center (NITC), and many

other partners. Much of the PLANTS data and design is developed at

NPDC, and the Web application is programmed at ITC and NITC and

served through the USDA Web Farm. Here’s more information about who

does what on the PLANTS Team, our Partners, and our Data Contributors.

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service

The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity,

and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs

of present and future generations.

Motto: Caring for the Land and Serving People



captures the Forest Service mission. As set forth in law, the mission is to

achieve quality land management under the sustainable multiple-use man-

agement concept to meet the diverse needs of people: It includes:

  • Advocating a conservation ethic in promoting the health, productivity,                 diversity, and beauty of forests and associated lands.

  • Listening to people and responding to their diverse needs in making                  decisions.

  • Protecting and managing the National Forests and Grasslands so they                           best demonstrate the sustainable multiple-use management concept.                     Providing technical and financial assistance to State and private forest              landowners, encouraging them to practice good stewardship and quality                      land management in meeting their specific objectives.

  • Providing technical and financial assistance to cities and communities to             improve their natural environment by planting trees and caring for their                  forests.

  • Providing international technical assistance and scientific exchanges to                    sustain and enhance global resources and to encourage quality land man-            agement.

  • Helping States and communities to wisely use the forests to promote                           rural economic development and a quality rural environment.

  • Developing and providing scientific and technical knowledge aimed at              improving our capability to protect, manage, and use forests and range-                    lands.

  • Providing work, training, and education to the unemployed,underem-                   ployed, elderly, youth, and disadvantaged in pursuit of our mission.


FEIS (Fire Effects Information System)

FEIS provides up-to-date information about fire effects on plants, lichens,

and animals. It was developed at the United States Department of Agri-

culture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences

Laboratory in Missoula, Montana.

The FEIS database contains literature reviews, taken from current English-

language literature of about 900 plant species, 7 lichen species, about 100

wildlife species, 17 Research Project Summaries, and 16 Kuchler plant

communities of North America. The emphasis of each review and summary

is fire and how it affects species. Background information on taxonomy,

distribution, basic biology, and ecology of each species is also included.

Reviews are thoroughly documented, and each contains a complete biblio-

graphy. Managers from several land management agencies (United States

Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, and United States Department

of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Fish

and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service) choose the species includ-

ed in the database. Those agencies funded the original work and continue

to support maintenance and updating of the database.

FEIS staff accessions current English-language literature for FEIS literature

reviews by searching scientific abstracts, literature databases, and tables of

content from refereed scientific journals and government publication lists.

Minor revisions are sometimes made to species reviews, so a few biblio-

graphic references may postdate the time a species review was originally

written. FEIS reviews are fully updated when complete revisions are funded.

Complete revisions involve searching for and  accessioning new literature

on the species and revising species reviews to include any new information

on fire and other topics covered in FEIS reviews.

VDGIF (Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries)

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' mission is:

  • To manage Virginia's wildlife and inland fish to maintain optimum                populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth;

  • To provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating                             and related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the                        rights of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in                              the Constitution of Virginia;

  • To promote safety for persons and property in connection with boating,                 hunting and fishing;

  • To provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an                awareness of and appreciation for Virginia's fish and wildlife resources,                      their habitats, and hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities.

VDGIF is responsible for the management of inland fisheries, wildlife, and

recreational boating for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

Since its establishment in 1936 as the nation's first wildlife experiment sta-

tion, the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center has been a leading international

research institute for wildlife and applied environmental research, for trans-

mitting research findings to those responsible for managing our nation's

natural resources, and for providing technical assistance in implementing

research findings so as to improve natural resource management.

Patuxent's scientists have been responsible for many important advances in

natural resource conservation, especially in such areas as migratory birds,

wildlife population analysis, waterfowl harvest, habitat management, wet-

lands, coastal zone and flood plain management, contaminants, endangered

species, urban wildlife, ecosystem management, and management of nation-

al parks and national wildlife refuges.

The Center develops and manages national inventory and monitoring pro-

grams and is responsible for the North American Bird Banding Program

and leadership of other national bird monitoring programs. The Center's

scientific and technical assistance publications, wildlife data bases, and

electronic media are used nationally and worldwide in managing biological


The focus of the Center's mission and vision for the future is to continue its

dynamic international, national, and regional leadership in wildlife research.

The Center will enhance its accomplishments in generating, interpreting,

evaluating, and transmitting the scientific information needed to better ad-

dress the pressing problems of managing our nation's biological resources,

especially those under the stewardship of the Department of the Interior,

other Federal and non-Federal partners. Today's challenges in natural re-

source management involve new approaches such as adaptive management,

landscape and ecosystem scale management, partnerships among multiple

stakeholders, and transfer and use of the huge store of existing information

using modern technology.

The Center is a Federal research facility directed by the Federal government

to conduct research necessary to fulfill Federal responsibilities, primarily,

those of the Department of the Interior. The U.S. Geological Survey Bio-

logical Resources Division, of which the Center is a part, works with others

to provide the information needed to manage our Nation's biological re-

sources. Thus, scientific information needs of partner agencies strongly

influence much of the Center's scientific agenda.

The Center also receives funds directly from agencies benefitting from our

research and from other partner organizations, such as those co-located at

its Laurel headquarters. Such support provides critical resources that en-

hance the scope and value of the Center's activities, within the mission of

the Division.

Science conducted at the Center, like any scientific enterprise, ultimately,

is driven by the pressing public natural resource needs coupled with  intel-

lectual creativity and motivation of its scientists and technical staff.

No research program will succeed unless it flows from the creative ener-

gies of its scientists. The research of Center scientists must be engaged at

the cutting edge of scientific understanding to assure the long term success

of natural resources management.

VDF (Virginia Department of Forestry)

Our mission: We protect and develop healthy, sustainable forestresources

for Virginians.

The Virginia Department of Forestry:

  • protects 15.8 million acres of forest land from fire, insects and disease.

  • manages 19 State Forests and other state lands totaling 57,553acres                               for timber, recreation, water, research, wildlife and biodiversity.

  • assists non-industrial private forest landowners through professional                       forestry advice and technical management programs.



Wikipedia is a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia

project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its name is a

portmanteau of the words wiki (a technology for creating collaborative

websites, from the Hawaiian word wiki, meaning "quick") and encyclo-

pedia. Wikipedia's 14 million articles (3.1 million in English) have been

written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and almost all of

its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site. It was launched

in 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger and is currently the largest and

most popular general reference work on the Internet.



Back to Homepage

Forest Service

Home Page

Nature Guide






















bottom of page