Volunteers Needed for the Great American Campout

Mason Neck State Park will be hosting 15 to 20 children from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington next weekend.   The campout gives children a wonderful  opportunity to spend time outdoors fishing, canoeing, hiking and learning about nature.
The Park needs people to help set up tents on Friday evening, June 22 and to help cook meals on Saturday, June 23.  Can you help?  If you can, please contact the Park at 703-339-2385.  You’ll be glad you did!

Caterpillars Count! Join new citizen science project

Caterpillars Count! is a citizen science project sponsored by the National Science Foundation for measuring the seasonal variation and abundance of arthropods like caterpillars, beetles, and spiders found on the foliage of trees and shrubs. Arthropods are an important food source for birds and other wildlife.

Climate change is affecting the timing of spring leaf out, insect activity, and bird migration and breeding. But are the plants, insects and birds all responding to the same degree? If either insects or birds are not keeping up with the shifts of the other organisms that they depend on, then further climate change may have negative consequences for their populations.

Caterpillars Count is part of a multi-university study of phenological mismatch across three trophic levels in eastern North America. The lead universities are University of North Carolina, Georgetown University, and University of Connecticut, with co-investigators from University of Florida, Institute for Bird Populations, Penn State, Evergreen State College, and Ontario Forest Research Institute.

Participants will monitor a site at the Walker Nature Center in Reston for Georgetown University. We will examine 50 leaves on each of 10 trees weeklyor bi-weekly thoughout the spring and summer.  We will count and classify the arthropods we observe. Each monitoring session will take about one hour. There will be approximately 16 monitoring sessions. Volunteeers are not required to participate in every session and the timing is up to the volunteers who are participating. Volunteers must sign-up in advance for training and schedule coordination.

This project is eligible for credit for master naturalists under code C-254.

Learn more

Find new opportunities with Plant NOVA Natives

Label native plants in garden centers
Three nursery companies (Greenstreet Gardens, Meadows Farms Nurseries, and Merrifield Garden Center) have kindly agreed to allow volunteers to put Plant NOVA Natives stickers on their plant signs at a total of 12 garden centers. This will make it immensely easier for shoppers to recognize native plants. Plant NOVA Natives is looking for more volunteers to put on these stickers, so email plantnovanatives@gmail.com if you are interested in adopting a nursery. Experience is not needed, although the more familiar you are with Northern Virginia natives, the less time it will take you to do the job.

Sign up to be tapped as a volunteer
Whatever your experience or skills, the organization needs your help! If you tell them which county you live in and a bit about your background, then when opportunities arise, they will know whom to contact. You incur no obligation at all by signing up. Please fill out this form to get on their roster. They currently are seeking more help for their website from someone experienced in web design.

Volunteer for Earth Sangha Nursery workdays

Join Earth Sangha on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9.00 am to 2.00 pm for regular nursery workdays. Volunteers can help with the whole range of native plant propagation activities  from weeding, watering and transplanting.

Please wear shoes that can get muddy and bring your own water.

Please email Matt Bright if you’re interested in attending.

The nursery is in Springfield, Virginia, in Franconia Park, which lies just south of the Beltway, and just east of the Beltway’s intersection with Routes 95 and 395. Access is from Franconia Road (644). From Franconia, turn north on Thomas Drive, less than half a mile east of the 395/95 intersection. There is a traffic light at Thomas. From Thomas, turn right onto Meriwether Lane. Turn left onto Cloud Drive. Please park in the parking lot at the bottom of the entrance road, then walk down the dirt road along the community gardens. Our nursery lies beyond the community gardens.

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

Look for grants from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

State and federal grants are available for these conservation projects:

Learn more

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

Get involved in Audubon’s Climate Watch citizen science work

Audubon’s Birds and Climate Change Report predicts that over half of North American bird species will lose more than 50 percent of their current climatic range by 2080.

To test these predictions, Audubon has been running a new community science project, Climate Watch, since January. Climate Watch aims to document species’ responses to climate change by having volunteer community scientists in the field look for birds where Audubon’s climate models project they should be in the 2020’s, giving us an understanding on how birds respond to a changing climate.

There’s still time to get involved. If you would like to find out more about being a volunteer or how to coordinate in 

your area, please contact the Audubon Climate Watch Team at climatewatch@audubon.org

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

Join the Clean Water Challenge

The Izaak Walton Leage of America, the national organization that oversees the Fairfax County Stream Monitoring Program, hopes to monitor 100,000 additional stream sites nationwide by 2022. This effort–The Clean Water Challenge–will not succeed without massive volunteer support. If you are a new stream monitoring volunteer, consider taking the certification test and adopting your own stream site. If you are already certified, think about adding a new stream site to your existing one. Information about the Clean Water Challenge is available on the Izaak Walton League’s website. To learn more about becomming a certified monitor, contact Dan Schwartz.