Northwood Environmental Science Classes Take to the Well Fields.

On a beautiful day in April Science teacher, Mrs. Rebecca Wilkinson-Smith, took her three Environmental Classes on a walking field trip to the Well Fields for community-based instruction. During the walking field trip, students had to identify three different plants and three different animals as part of their assignment.
Saltville is the perfect place for such an assignment.  According to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources website, "The Saltville Well Fields offer a unique habitat for the mountain region of Virginia. The waters of these wetlands are brackish, providing the only inland saline marshes in Virginia. It is a popular venue for fisherman, who can be found fishing along the grassy banks around the lakes. This site is one of the best places to find migratory shorebirds and waterfowl in mountains of Virginia. Snow and Ross’s geese, grebes, northern pintail, American black duck, American wigeon, and green-winged teal are regular visitors. The surrounding woodlands can produce migratory warblers, thrushes, and vireos. Canada geese take permanent residence here, as do other feral ducks and geese.

Due to the unusual hydrology of this area and the dispersion of coastal plant species by migratory waterfowl, vegetation of this area is inclusive of both freshwater and saltwater communities. In addition to cattail, swamp rose mallow, swamp milkweed, and duckweed typical of freshwater marshes, halophytic vegetation such as sedge or saltmarsh bulrush, black-grass, and spearscale can also be found here. In addition to having tremendous historical significance, this saltlick is the site of summer paleo-archaological digs. Fossils from the Ice Age have been found here, including mastodon, woolly mammoth, giant ground sloth, musk ox, and stag moose. Over thirty species of spring wildflowers can be seen near the Palmer Mill Springs, including the infrequent wood poppy." Source: Virginia DWR: Saltville Well Fields