Go Birding on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and Chincoteague Island

Enjoy special access to Wallops Island and other protected birding destinations, where you’ll learn from experts as you look for the region’s more than 400 species of birds. During the migratory season, millions of birds along the Atlantic Flyway “funnel” through a small area along Virginia’s Eastern Shore, where more than 400 species have been recorded. Explore the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge’s restricted back country on Chincoteague and Assateague islands with Chincoteague Bay Field Station.

The 6-day event costs $599. April and May are waitlisted; September and December are accepting applications.

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

Learn more

A Taste of Spring at Scott’s Run Nature Preserve

A Walk with Carrie Blair

Sunday, March 25th, 9.00 am to 12 noon

Scott’s Run Nature Preserve, Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA 22102

“Bud break” at Scott’s Run Nature Preserve shows that spring has come. Scan the tree tops to see the brown of the elms, the red of the maples, and the yellow of the willows. The American hazelnut is flowering with golden catkins and the red, silver and boxelder maples are flowering. These are joining the greens that made it through winter on the forest floor, including ground pine, white avens, and patridgeberry.

Carrie has led hundreds of tree identification walks and classes over the last 25 years of volunteering with the VNPS Piedmont Chapter and as a docent at the State Arboretum of Virginia, part of the  Blandy Experimental Farm in Boyce, Virginia. She is a Virginia Master Naturalist and has served as a Front Royal/Warren County Tree Steward since 2010. She has been a board member, including president, of the Virginia Native Plant Society Piedmont Chapter for many years. Carrie lives in the Marshall, Virginia, area and knows the land intimately by walking and riding horses.

Sponsored by the Potowmack Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society.

VNPS programs are free and open to the public, but space on walks is limited.

Please click here to REGISTER.

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

Save the Date: Next FMN Chapter Meeting is 19 March, at Hidden Oaks

FMN Chapter Meetings are informative, fun, good for networking, and count for 1 hour of continuing education credit! Come reconnect with friends and fellow naturalists.
Monday, 19 March 2018, 7.30-9 pm: Penny Firth (Director, Division of Environmental Biology, National Science Foundation) and Robin Firth present “What’s that mushroom?”, an overview of our area fungi and how to get into studying fungi in Virginia.
Hidden Oaks Nature Center, 7701 Royce St., Annandale. Open to the public.
Sunday, 20 May 2018, 4.30-6 pm: Chapter Meeting and Spring Class Graduation
St. Dustan’s Church, McLean. Open to the public.
17 Sept 2018: Hidden Oaks Nature Center, details TBD

Working to reduce plastics in our environment

The Fairfax County Federation invites the public to interact with three speakers:

Kris Unger, primary conservator of the Friends of Accotink Creek will talk about what happens to plastic as it traverses the environment.

Erica Carter, recycling coordinator for the Fairfax Solid Waste Management Program, will discuss recycling and the market for recycled plastic.

Don Cammerata, business manager for Virginia Facilities for Covanta, and Frank Capoblanco and Joe Walsh, will discuss how plastics are dealt with at the Lorton Waste to Energy Facility.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

7.30 pm

Main Community Room, Mason Government Center

6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA 22003

RSVP Flint Webb

Wood Frogs in Ellanor C. Lawrence Park

Ellanor C. Lawrence Park

Friday, 9 March, 7.00-8.30 pm

Wood frogs are breeding in vernal pools at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park.  Assist in collecting and releasing frogs and recording data for our amphibian survey.  Wear waterproof boots and bring flashlights.  Cost:  $7.00 per person.  Register with Fairfax County Park Authority Parktakes.

Protect and Preserve Trees in Yards and Neighborhoods

Braddock District Tree Forum 2018

Wednesday, 7 March, 7.30-9.30 pm

Kings Park Library, 9000 Burke Lake Road, Burke VA 22015

Join the Fairfax County Tree Commission to learn about the benefits of trees, current issues facing our trees, tree pests and diseases, and great native trees for homeowners.  Sponsor tables will have additional information on tree care.  Free and open to everyone.  More information.

Coming Soon: The City Nature Challenge! 27-30 April

Citizen scientists throughout the Washington DC metro area will be participating in the 2018 City Nature Challenge, a competition among 60 cities around the world to find and document the diversity of species. No experience required—just a mobile device and a love for nature. Participants will make observations of wild plants and animals using the free iNaturalist app (for Android or Apple).

Why get involved? By participating, you’ll not only get out and see some great urban nature, you’ll help scientists collect data on the biodiversity of our region (and the planet). City Nature Challenge contributors are invited to join the species ID event at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum on Monday, 30.

To sign up for an event, create an event, and learn more, click here.

To download the flyer, click here.

 

Explore, Learn, and Record with iNaturalist

Reviewed by Ana Ka’Ahanui

As naturalists, we have many tools out there to help us record, learn and share information about the nature we love. One of my favorite tools is a free app called iNaturalist, aka iNat, available for iPhone and Android. Easy to navigate and with a simple interface, the app makes recording my nature observations on hikes and other outings fast and painless. After snapping a few photos and entering some basic information, I can share my findings on iNaturalist and its community of over 575,000 users worldwide.

You don’t have to be an expert to use it because one of iNat’s nifty features is crowdsourcing identifications. Not sure of that bird you just posted about? No problem! iNat bird lovers and ornithologists can see your post and help you out by suggesting an ID. The more people that validate your finding, “Yes, that’s an Eastern Bluebird!,” the faster your observation becomes “research grade.” So why not become a citizen scientist and share info about the kinds of critters you love? Your findings can be added to almost 7.7 million observations and over 140,000 observed species. Not only will you be contributing to science, you’ll be helping to map out our region’s biodiversity.

While I enjoy using iNat to keep track of my personal observations, I also love using it for local bioblitzes and events such as the City Nature Challenge, a friendly annual contest among cities to record the most nature over a 4-day period. I encourage you to download the app and practice making observations before the next City Nature Challenge, which runs from Friday, 27 April through Monday, 30 April. The national capital area is competing against over 60 other cities around the country and the world to make the most observations, identify the most species, and recruit the most volunteers. With your help, we can put the DC metro area, including 15 counties in Northern Virginia, at the top of the leader board!

2018 Virginia Working Landscape survey season activities kicking off

Virginia Working Landscapes, a program of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, hosts citizen science service projects for master naturalists and other members of the public.

Joe Guthrie, the new field coordinator, is a local conservation biologist with extensive experience in designing and implementing ecological surveys and brings with him a strong passion for biodiversity conservation and research. He and his team have set dates for spring  trainings:

Grassland Bird Training: Saturday, 14 April, 9 am-1 pm at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, in Front Royal. Led by Joe Guthrie and Amy Johnson.

Grassland Plant Training: Saturday, 28 April, 9 am-1 pm at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, in Front Royal. Led by Sally Anderson and Joe Guthrie

Pollinator Training: Sunday, 13 May, 9 am-noon at Blandy Experimental Farm, in Front Royal. Led by T’ai Roulston, Alex Newhart and Joe Guthrie.

If you are a current citizen scientist, please send a note to Charlotte Lorick (LorickC@si.edu) with your name and survey interest. VWL will put your name down as confirmed for 2018 surveys, and Joe will be in touch with more specific details later this spring.

If you are not yet a volunteer, but are interested, please sign up here.

The VWL events page hosts additional learning and service opportunities.

Dr. Leslie Reis to speak on butterflies and climate change at Huntley Meadows

Join Fairfax Master Naturalists and Friends of Dyke Marsh for a talk by Georgetown University biologist Dr. Leslie Reis. She will discuss butterflies, their host plants, and how both are responding to climate change.

Summarizing her work with the monarch, the Baltimore checkerspot, and the silver-spotted skipper, Dr. Reis will show how she builds on work by citizen scientists such as Jim Waggener, who has contributed 25 years of data on behalf of the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia at the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

9 May 2018

7.30 pm

Huntley Meadows Park Visitor Center

3701 Lockheed Blvd., Alexandria, VA 22306