Explore the Discovery Trail through Fairfax County Parks this summer

The Fairfax County Park Authority’s Discovery Trail Map features 12 sites across the park system that give children and adults the chance to discover each park’s special features. There’s a game built into the activities, so prizes are a possible outcome (e.g., bicycles, mini-golf, a carousel, train, tour boat, pedal boat, camping, wagon ride, RECenters and a boat rental).

This year’s free summer activities highlight the rich diversity of wildlife you’ll see in Fairfax County parks.

  • Now in its fifth year, the map encourages children and adults to explore and learn interesting facts about the wildlife that lives in the parks. Discover which bird’s wings beat up to 53 times per second, which park serves as the perfect habitat for the great blue heron and which creature could be called a party animal!
  • Discovery Trail Maps ware available now at staffed FCPA locations, Fairfax County Public Libraries, and Board of Supervisors offices (while supply lasts).  Maps also will be available online at Download Discovery Trail Map during the promotional period, May 26 – Sept. 3, 2018.
  • Each featured site has a sticker with a unique image that reinforces the educational messages on the map.
  • Pick up a sticker for each park at the sticker location listed in the table above, and place it in the corresponding box (participant must be present to receive a sticker).
  • Participants who visit at least eight of the featured sites will receive tickets to more park fun valued at $93 and be entered in a drawing for one of four bicycles donated by Spokes, Etc. through the Fairfax County Park Foundation.
  • Qualifying maps can be redeemed at Burke Lake Park, Frying Pan Farm Park and Green Spring Gardens.

Learn more

Attend Butterfly Identification Workshop, with Dr. Leslie Ries, 25 June

The sight of butterflies fluttering around on a warm day is one of the most iconic signs of summer. These beautiful insects usually only live for a few weeks as adults, but they make quite an impression while they are in their full glory. There is a large variety of butterfly species in our area and we are going to census them on June 30 during the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia Butterfly Count in and around our Occoquan Bay Count Ciricle.  

In preparation, Dr. Leslie Ries will be teaching a butterfly workshop focusing on identifying butterflies in Northern Virginia. The classroom portion of the workshop is FREE and will be on Monday, 25 June.

The field trip portion will be in conjunction with the count on June 30.

Register

National Wildlife Federation
11100 Wildlife Center Drive Reston, VA
Monday, 25 June 2018
7:00 PM-9:00 PM

Stream monitoring at Lake Accotink Park

GET YOUR BRAIN WET! Attention adults and children who enjoy helping our parks and environment!  Join Audubon Naturalist Society, Friends of Lake Accotink Park and Friends of Accotink Creek (FOAC) as they catch stream critters (macro invertebrates) to document the health of the stream. This family-friendly event is a great opportunity to learn about what lives in the creek by finding, identifying and counting these creatures.

For more information and to register, please visit the FOAC CALENDAR and click on “Biological Stream Monitoring.”

Accotink Lake Park
7500 Accotink Park Rd, Springfield, VA 22150
Meet in the parking lot behind Lake Accotink Park Administrative building
Saturday, June 9, 2018
9:30 – 11:30 am

Join Matt Bright for a Conservation Walk at Marie Butler Leven Preserve

Marie Butler Leven Preserve offers 20 acres of rich woodlands and meadows that are being managed step-by-step into a virtual library of plants native to the greater Washington, D.C. area. This visit to the Preserve will be split between a walk through the preserve and helping with management of invasives and planting of natives. The walk will pass by a partially restored meadow with a mix of native forbs and grasses as well as remnant turf grasses, and down the wooded slopes towards Pimmit Run to a small seepage-fed wetland. Volunteers will be given a tour of restoration efforts of the park as well as native flora of note.  The group will be working on removing Vinca from an area where it threatens native populations of Phlox divaricata and Erythronium americanum.

Be prepared! Given the work, come with sturdy shoes, appropriate clothing for avoiding ticks, and gloves if you prefer. Also sunscreen, bug spray, and drinking water. Gloves and tools will be provided.

Matt Bright is Conservation Manager at the Earth Sangha, where he has worked full-time since 2011 on plant propagation, conservation, and restoration here in Northern Virginia and in the rural Dominican Republic. He lives on site at Marie Butler Leven Preserve with his wife Katherine Isaacson, who is the Outreach and Development Coordinator also at the Earth Sangha. Matt is a Certified Horticulturist with the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association, a member of the Virginia Native Plant Society (VNPS) and an instructor for the Arlington Regional Master Naturalists. Before joining the Sangha full-time, Matt attended Kenyon College in Ohio, where he also worked as a volunteer firefighter.

Sponsored by VNPS, this program is free and open to the public. However, space is limited so please click here to REGISTER.

To CANCEL your registration or ask a QUESTION, please email vnps.pot@gmail.com.

Marie Butler Leven Preserve

1501 Kirby Lane, McLean VA  22101

Saturday, May 26th

1.00 -3.00 pm

Grasses: the good, the bad, and the just plain ugly, 12 July

Botanist and grass enthusiast Sarah Chamberlain speaks on the grasses of the Mid-Atlantic region: natives useful for growing in your yard, naturalized non-natives, and the invasive exotics that pose a threat to native landscapes; how to tell who’s who, and what we know about how to get rid of the bad actors.

Arlington Central Library
1015 N Quincy St, Arlington, VA 22201
Thursday, 12 July 2018
7.30-9.00 pm

Sponsored by the Virginia Native Plant Society. This program is free and open to the public.

Cranberry Lake Film and Talk

Cranberry Lake is a 17-minute documentary about forest ecology students taking immersive field courses in the Adirondacks.  The film explores the connection between experiential learning and environmental stewardship.

After the feature presentation Virginia Native Plant Society (VNPS) Potowmack Chapter president Alan Ford will moderate a Question and Answer session about the challenges, issues, and solutions to native forest, streams, wetlands, and wildlife conservation in the greater D.C. region.

Zoya Baker is an award-winning filmmaker and animator based in New York City. Her work includes films, documentaries, commercials, and television shows. Zoya received a BFA in Film & Television at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and is currently pursuing an MFA at Hunter College Integrated Media Arts program.

Green Spring Gardens
4603 Green Spring Road
Alexandria, VA 22312
Thursday, 14 June 2018
7.30 pm – 9.00 pm

Sponsored by the Virginia Native Plant Society (VNPS).  VNPS programs are free and open to the public.

Join NVCT’s Alexandria Kayak/Canoe Cleanup on June 2nd

Please join the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT) for its annual Kayak/Canoe Cleanup of the tidal estuary of Cameron Run at Hunting Creek in Alexandria. NVCT will have a limited number of boats available for volunteer use, but if you have your own, please bring it to support the cause! This is a beautiful landscape and precious wildlife habitat, so it is a great opportunity to help nearby nature while enjoying a morning on the water.

Park at the Porto Vecchio condo building where the group will put in.

1250 S Washington St, Alexandria, VA 22314

Saturday, 2 June 2018

9.30 am – 1.00 pm

Join or volunteer for the 2018 Sustainable Garden Tour, 10 June

The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District’s 2018 Sustainable Garden Tour  features rain gardens, green roofs, native plant landscaping, rain barrels, backyard wildlife habitat, composting, and more. Local residents open their gardens and share their experiences landscaping with natural resources in mind. Visitors on the tour are allowed to visit each garden at their own pace, and may visit as many or as few as they like. There is no RSVP required, and the tour is free and open to all: Sunday, June 10,  1-5 pm at sites throughout the Fairfax-Falls Church-Annandale area,

NVSWCD needs volunteers to assist garden hosts. Volunteers will welcome and guide visitors and provide information. Each volunteer will be assigned to one of nine sites:

  1. Booker Residence, 3442 Surrey Lane, Falls Church VA
  2. Sawhney Residence, 4212 Saint Jerome Dr, Annandale, VA 22003
  3. King Residence, 4023 Roberts Road, Fairfax VA 22032
  4. Belvedere Elementary School, 6540 Columbia Pike, Falls Church VA 22041
  5. Chesterfield Mews Community Association, BEHIND 3170 Readsborough Ct, Fairfax VA 22031
  6. Daniels Run Peace Church, 3729 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22030
  7. Carosella Residence, 2903 Rosemary Lane, Falls Church, VA 22042
  8. Meara Residence, 7211  Arthur Drive, Falls Church, VA 22046
  9. Jones Residence, 3517 Queen Anne Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030

You can sign up to volunteer for the whole time (12:30 – 5 pm) or one of two shifts (12:30 – 3 or 2:30 – 5).

Please contact Ashley Palmer: Ashley.Palmer@fairfaxcounty.gov

Take advantage of native plant sale season!

Are you looking for plants that will beautify your yard while requiring a minimum of maintenance? The plants that evolved here are the ones for you! The more local the origin of a plant, the more likely it is to be adapted to our particular soils and climate. There could be a big difference between an Eastern Red Columbine that evolved in Virginia and one that evolved in Saskatchewan, even if they do look alike!

We are fortunate in Northern Virginia to have many sources of native plants. In addition to the native-only nurseries – some of which propagate plants themselves from local seed sources – there are numerous vendors who set up shop at special plant sales in the spring and fall.  Find a list  on the Plant NOVA Natives website. The homepage of the site has the free, downloadable Guide to Native Plants of Northern Virginia.   If you are looking for particular plants, you can contact vendors in advance and ask them to bring them for you. Traditional commercial nurseries are selling more and more native plants as well (but don’t expect to find natives at big box stores).

In addition, the Virginia Native Plant Society sells plants from its propagation beds at Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Rd., Alexandria VA the first Wednesday of the month from 10.00 am to 12.00 pm from April to October.  The Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy is also having its sale on May 19th.

Our local wildlife agree that native plants are the best. In fact, the ecosystem is entirely dependent on the plants that evolved with our bees, butterflies, birds, etc. Why not give them a home on your property?

Participate in Reston Bioblitz, 2 June

A bioblitz is a quick but intense biotic survey completed within a 24 hour period. It provides a snapshot in time of what plants and wildlife are found in a certain place.

Reston’s 2018 bioblitz is looking for volunteers, scientists, and naturalists to participate, whether you’re a Reston residents or not. Please contact Patricia Greenberg for more information: pgreenberg@reston.org, 703-435-6552.

Saturday, 2 June 2018