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!

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.

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

Service opportunity: Help monitor beautiful Holmes Run Creek, in Annandale, 22 April

Valerie Bertha, a certified stream monitor, is looking for naturalists to help her observe the health of Holmes Run Creek, in Annandale.

Date and time: 22 April, Sunday, 9 am-noon. The group will meet at the end of Hockett Street, off of Annandale Road. If you have trouble finding the site, please call Valerie at 703-473-2789.

Please also RSVP to valerie.bertha@gmail.com by 15 April so that she knows how much equipment to borrow. Wear rain boots because you will be in the creek.

This service project receives credit for C020: NVSWCD Biological Stream Monitoring.

Join the Fight Against Invasive Wisteria!

Accotink Gorge Workday

Friday, March 16th, 9.00 am – 12.00 pm

Meet in the parking lot of the Springfield Costco, 7373 Boston Boulevard, Springfield, VA.  FACC will be in the back area of the parking lot, by the trees, between the Costco and the Boston Market.

The Friends of Accotink Creek (FACC) will lead an invasive removal workday and educational tour of Accotink Gorge, an area of significant biodiversity and natural beauty that is threatened by a severe infestation of invasive wisteria. They will be clipping vines in a selected area, in order to free up the canopy. For more information and a history of the invasive management work in this imperiled biological gem, click here.

What to bring:  FACC will provide tools, but bring your own clippers, pruners, loppers and pruning saws if you have them.  Some of the vines are quite thick!

What to wear:  Sturdy shoes, long pants and sleeves, bug spray and garden gloves.  Workday will go on in light rain.

Caution:  There are ticks and poison ivy, and access is down a very steep slope.  Bushwhacking skill is needed.

Remove Invasive Plants from Fairfax County’s Natural Areas

Invasive invaders such as kudzu, wisteria and stilt grass are pushing out important native flora and diminishing the health of our parks.  Help turn the tide against these exotic invaders by joining the Invasive Management Area (IMA) volunteers and pulling these weeds out by their roots!  Several workdays are scheduled in March and April.  The IMA calendar can be found online.

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.