Mason Neck State Park Eagle Fest–Live Animal Presentations

Saturday, May 12th
10.00 am to 6.00 pm (8.00 am for a pre-opening bird walk)
Mason Neck State Park, 7301 High Point Rd, Lorton, VA 22079

See shows and talks in two tents, including live animal presentations by Reptiles Alive, Secret Garden Birds and Bees, and Wildlife Center of Virginia; and, with luck, there will be a visit from Buddy the Bald Eagle.  In addition, there will be hay rides, pony rides, food for purchase, two live bands, walks to view nesting bald eagles and (hopefully) their young, a live Bald Eagle Cam, and mini-clinics by REI, Inc. Check out the booths set up by environmentally-oriented groups such as the Fairfax Master Naturalists, Audubon Society of Northern Virginia, Dogue Hollow Wildlife Sanctuary, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Potomac Riverkeepers, and the Virginia Sierra Club.

Weather permitting, we’ll also have a Boating Bonanza, where you can try out canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards.  Presented by Friends of Mason Neck State Park. Learn more or volunteer to help at the event.

Join the fun at Riverbend Park Bluebell Festival

Saturday, April 14th, 10.00 am to 3.00 pm

Riverbend Park, 8700 Potomac Hills St., Great Falls, VA

See the first signs of spring’s arrival, the carpet of Virginia Bluebells throughout the forest!  These breathtaking beauties usher in springtime by carpeting the park’s floodplain with their magnificent blooms. The bluebells are so abundant in some areas you can’t see an end! Enjoy wildflower walks, face painting, live animals, moonbounce, and music. There will also be food vendors, crafts, the longhouse to explore, puppet shows and wagon rides. The cost is $7 per person in advance; $9 at the door. For more information, call 703-759-9018 or learn more here.

Volunteers are also needed!

Come hear Robert K. Musil speak about Rachel Carson’s legacy, 8 May

Tuesday, 8 May, 7.30 – 9.00 pm
Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria VA

Dr. Robert K. Musil discusses his book Rachel Carson and Her Sisters: Extraordinary Women Who Have Shaped America’s Environment and his explorations of nature throughout the nation’s capital, which resulted in his latest book, Washington in Spring: A Nature Journal for a Changing Climate.

Musil followed in the footsteps of nature writers and explorers from Captain John Smith through John Burroughs, Elliott Coues, Louis Halle and Rachel Carson — carefully noting the gradual shift in phenology and species with the progression of global warming in greater Washington. Musil will also sign copies of his books available for sale immediately after his talk.

Dr. Musil is President and CEO of the Rachel Carson Council, Inc. and former Executive Director and CEO, Physicians for Social Responsibility, 1985 Nobel Peace Prize organization.

Brought to you by the Virginia Native Plant Society, Potowmack Chapter.  Learn more.

Help Plant NoVa Natives with outreach events, earn service hours

Plant NoVa Natives needs many people to staff various tables and other events. Springtime is crazy for environmentalists! Please sign up here. No experience is necessary.

Events for kids:
·   4/10 School Environmental Showcase at GMU
·   4/19 Hayfield ES Math and Science Night
·   4/21 Lord of Life Preschool Earth Day Carnival

Events for adults and families:
·   4/12 Fairlington Presbyterian environmental event. (Details and registration here.)
·   4/26 Northern Virginia Community College Green Festival (Annandale)
·   5/6 Huntley Meadows Wetlands Awareness Day

Help tend healing gardens at Crisis Care Center in Annandale, 14 April

The Crisis Care Center in Annandale is looking for volunteers to tend to its healing gardens (right next to the parking lot at Fairfax Hospital). You may remove debris (fallen branches, trash, leaves) and invasive plants, place mulch, add plant, harvest produce from a vegetable garden, and water. The Center will provide lunch.

No prior experience is necessary. Bring a hat, work gloves, sunscreen, bug spray, and water. Organizers suggest that you wear pants, long sleeved shirt, and sturdy shoes. Bring garden clippers and a digger if you have them. Since the CCC is a community treatment facility, volunteers will need to complete required paperwork when they arrive on-site. This will include an application gathering some basic information, criminal/cps history disclosure form (self report), role description, and confidentiality statement, as well as handouts to read. Volunteers can register on site when they arrive

Crisis Care Center

3300 Woodburn Rd

Annandale, VA, 22003

Saturday 14 April 2018

9 am-1 pm

For Fairfax Master Naturalists, this work counts toward Service Project S257

The healing gardens are a joint venture between Green Springs Gardens Master Gardeners and the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board. The gardens serve the residents of the CCC as a place to practice mindfulness and to find peace. Learn more

Find service opportunities with the Fairfax County Parks

New education, stewardship, and citizen science projects for Fairfax Master Naturalists have just been added to the Service Project Calendar. (If you are reading this and are not yet a naturalist, please consider applying for basic training.) You can also find opportunities by contacting the parks directly: Hidden Oaks, Huntley Meadows, Riverbend, Ellanor C. Lawrence, Frying Pan, Green Spring Gardens, Hidden Pond, and Cub Run RECenter all have opportunities for FMN members. Here’s a small sampling:

Spring-Fest at Historic Sully, 21 April, 9:45am–4pm – assist with interactive nature experiences at FCPA table

Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences, Hidden Oaks, 3, 4, 5, 6, 27 April; 1, 2, 3, 4 May 9:15am -1pm – assist at stations including stream studies, stewardship, benthic macroinvertebrate study or live animal exhibits for 7th grade classes

My Sky Tonight Campfire, 7 April, 7-9:30 pm, Hidden Oaks – assist with family campfire program about constellations

Touch this Fox, 28 April, 12-2:30, Hidden Oaks – assist with family program where participants can touch real specimens and bones, educate about taxidermy and specimen care, dissect an owl pellet

Habitat and Parkland Management, dates & times flexible – perform maintenance of trails and other natural resource protection projects, such as with native wildflower garden or storm damage cleanup

Animal care, dates & times flexible – feed and care for animals on exhibit.  Animal care volunteers are needed at Hidden Oaks, Hidden Pond, Ellanor C. Lawrence and Riverbend.

To volunteer for Hidden Oaks programs, contact Suzanne Holland, Suzanne.Holland@fairfaxcounty.gov or 703-941-1065.  For other locations, contact the nature center or park.

Did you miss the FMN March chapter meeting? Gotcha covered

The crowd at the 19 March chapter meeting at Hidden Oaks asked and got the answer to an important question: Can you eat the

mushroom called Amanita bisporigera (Destroying Angel)? The answer: Only once.

We can’t help with the voice track for the rest of the Q&A, but Penny Firth and Robin Firth have graciously allowed us to share their presentation, What’s That Mushroom?

Enjoy the fungi pix, and be sure not to miss the next FMN chapter meeting: Sunday, 20 May, 4.30-6 pm, St. Dustan’s Episcopal Church, 1830 Kirby Road, McLean. We’ll congratulate the spring 2018 graduates and hear from our community.

Lead a Pull of Invasive Garlic Mustard, 14 April, 10 am-2 pm, Riverbend 

Come enjoy Riverbend Bluebell Festival, which draws 300-500 people historically. While you’re there, get service hours by removing garlic mustard. Email Rita Peralta or call 703 759-9018 to volunteer

14 April 2018

10 am-2 pm

Riverbend Park, 8700 Potomac Hills St., Great Falls, VA

This activity counts toward service hours

Springtime Treasures at Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park

With biologist Marion Lobstein

Saturday, April 7
11.00 am to 1.00 pm

This event has LIMITED SPACE, and you must register to attend.

Please click here to REGISTER.

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

Balls Bluff, like much of piedmont Northern Virginia, is underlain by limestone deposits and topped by Ball’s Bluff siltstone deposits that date back 308 to 345 million years. The brick-red siltstone bluffs are more than 100 feet high in places and parallel the floodplain on the banks of the Potomac. The basic to neutral pH of the soils from the siltstone parent rock provide a rich habitat for less common to rarer species of native plants such as twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla), blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides), green violet (Hybanthus concolor), white trout lily (Erythronium albidum), Eastern shooting star (Primula meadia, formerly Dodecatheon meadia), and walking fern (Asplenium rhizophyllum). Masses of Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) carpet the floodplain along with spicebush (Lindera benzoin) and pawpaw (Asimina triloba).

Marion Blois Lobstein is Professor Emeritus of NVCC, where she taught botany, general biology, microbiology, and other courses over her thirty-seven-year teaching career. She also taught Field Botany for thirteen summers at UVA’s Blandy Experimental Farm. For twenty-six years she conducted tours and taught classes for the Smithsonian Resident Associates Program. Her academic degrees include a BSEd (Biology) from W. Carolina Univ., MAT from UNC-Chapel Hill, and MS in Biology from George Mason Univ. She is co-author of Finding Wildflowers in the Washington-Baltimore Area. Marion serves on the Board of Directors of the Foundation of the Flora of Virginia Project and is a former Board Member of the Foundation of the State Arboretum at Blandy Experimental Farm. Marion is a founding and active member of the Virginia Native Plant Society. She currently lives in Warrenton, VA.

Other: Dogs are not permitted on Virginia Native Plant Society field trips.

What to wear: Dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes.

Bring binoculars and hand lens if desired.

Join Alonso Abugattas at Thompson Wildlife Management Area for Trillium Walk, 28 April

The Virginia Native Plant Society is sponsoring Alonso Abugattas, noted naturalist, ethno-botanist, and host of the Capital Naturalist blog as he leads a Trillium Walk at Thompson Wildlife Management Area on the east slope of the Shenandoahs, east of Front Royal. This site is recognized for the abundance of spring ephemerals, especially the native trilliums.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

9 am – 2 pm

If you are a Fairfax Master Naturalist, this activity counts toward continuing education credits

Learn more