Stream monitoring events in July: Plan now to attend

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Prince William County Stream Monitoring Session: Woodbridge
Time:   11 am – 1:30pm
Location: Off of Springwoods Dr, Woodbridge

Join certified volunteer monitor Janis Cook at her adopted site along Airport Creek in the Lakeridge neighborhood. For directions and to RSVP, please contact Janis at Jcook3910@aol.com.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Pohick Creek Monitoring Workshop: Springfield/LortonPohick
Time: 9 – 11:30 am
Location: Pohick Creek Stream Valley Park, Springfield
Help monitor big and beautiful Pohick Creek as it winds through its rocky valley just north of I-95 and Lorton. Please RSVP to Dan Schwartz at dan.schwartz@fairfaxcounty.gov or sign up through Fairfax County’s online Volunteer Management System (initial registration required).

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Prince William County Stream Monitoring Session: Haymarket
Time: 10 am – Noon
Location: James Long Park, 4603 James Madison Hwy, Haymarket. Park at the Old Library parking lot.
Join longtime certfied volunteer monitor Elaine Wilson at her beautiful adopted site on Catharpin Creek in the Gainesville area. This site has some outstanding and unique critters. Spots are limited. For information and to RSVP, contact Elaine at elaine.wilson@dcwater.com.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Reston Association Stream Monitoring Workshop: Reston
Time:  8 am
Location: Reston Association Property, exact stream to be determined
Join Will Peterson of the Reston Association and help monitor the health of one of the many beautiful streams on Reston Association common land. Please contact Will at wpeterson@reston.org for RSVP instructions and directions to the site.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Difficult Run Stream Monitoring Workshop: Great Falls
Time: 9:30 am
Location: Difficult Run Stream Valley Park near Leigh Mill Rd
Help monitor beautiful Difficult Run as it flows through leafy parkland just upstream of Great Falls National Park. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Dan Schwartz at dan.schwartz@fairfaxcounty.gov or use Fairfax County’s online Volunteer Management System (initial registration required).

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Stream Monitoring Session: South RunSouth
Time: 1:30 – 4 pm
Location: Parkland behind South Run Rec Center, 7550 Reservation Dr, Springfield
Join certified volunteer monitor Veronica Tangiri as she monitors her adopted site along beautiful and healthy South Run as it flows under a leafy canopy of trees between Burke Lake and Lake Mercer. Please RSVP to Veronica at vera.tangiri@gmail.com for directions.

Volunteer opportunities at Earth Sangha

Founded in 1997, the Earth Sangha is a nonprofit public charity based in the Washington, DC, region. Their mission is ecological restoration as a form of socially engaged Buddhism. Volunteers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and the work is secular and science-based.

In the DC area, they operate a volunteer-based program to propagate local native plants, restore native plant communities, and control invasive alien plants. The Wild Plant Nursery is the region’s most comprehensive effort to propagate native plants directly from local forests and meadows. Nursery and office addresses are different. Click here for directions to the Wild Plant Nursery.

The summer nursery workdays are Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9 AM to Noon.  Please be sure to bring a water bottle and stay hydrated.  There is no indoor space, air conditioning or even fans at the nursery.  Keep a close eye on the volunteer calendar.  For safety reasons, they may have to cancel volunteer workdays and nursery hours on short notice because of high temperatures, poor air quality, and thunderstorms.  Contact Matt Bright, Conservation Manager, to RSVP to volunteer or for questions or concerns at mbright@earthsangha.org or at his cell: 703-859-2951.

Volunteers can help with watering, weeding, pot preparation, transplanting, and sowing seed.  Gloves and tools will be provided.

In addition to environmental work, Earth Sangha hosts weekly meditation sessions in Alexandria, Virginia, along with discussions of what it means to live in a responsible way. These sessions are free and open to all.

Earn Stream Monitoring Service Hours at Holmes Run

Earn FMN service hours by volunteering as a stream monitor at Holmes Run in Annandale. Participants will collect live samples of benthic macroinvertebrates, then sort, count and report on their findings to determine the stream’s current health. No previous experience is required.

If you are interested, please contact Valeria Bertha at valerie.bertha@gmail.com for more details. For master naturalists: This ongoing project is listed in the service project catalog as: C020 – NVSWCD Biological Stream Monitoring.

Holmes Run, Annandale
Sunday, August 5
9.00AM-12.00PM

Check out new tools, partners, and opportunities for meaningful work

During the AAAS Community-Driven Citizen Science for Health and the Environment symposium on 14 June, the speakers roamed across themes addressing how to engage in citizen science, the importance of understanding the reasons and potential outcomes of the work (so that the outcomes are really, really valuable), and which tools are available to make the work easier to do and easier to share.

The potential for meaningful work and friendships is quite high.

Would you consider trying out these resources for yourself and your projects? and then reviewing them for Curated Resources? (Did we mention that service hour credit is available for FMN members?)

Water Reporter, platform and social network for monitoring water quality

Thriving Earth Exchange, community-centered consortium sponsored by AGU100 Advancing Earth and Space Science and source of projects for service hours

Anecdata.org, New Gen Citizen Science Platform so that we can diversify how we work and with whom

Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON), platform from US Geological Survey, allows you to download species occurrence and maps

ISeeChange, community climate and weather journal

Community Science Connect, community science consortium

ESRI ArcGIS, cloud-based mapping platform

Air Sensor Toolbox for Citizen Scientists, from EPA

Want to review a resource? We’d love to hear from you. Instructions for submission await your click and commitment.

Become part of Nature’s Notebook, a platform from the National Phenology Network

Are you looking for a meaningful project? Does becoming a citizen scientist intrigue you? Want to learn a 21st-century tool that connects naturalists?

Nature’s Notebook is the National Phenology Network’s (USA NPN) online program and platform through which amateur and professional naturalists regularly record observations of plants and animals to generate long-term data sets used for scientific discovery and decision-making. As a citizen scientist, you can become a part of the community of observers by downloading the app (IOS or Android) and signing up for a campaign, such as Flowers for Bats, Shady Invaders, and others relevant to naturalist work in Virginia.

You can also start your own project and become certified!

If you just want to get your feet wet, or find materials for your classroom, NPN offers free, sharable resources.

Take a systems view and broaden your understanding of the network effect

As naturalists, we know that phenology (the study of periodic plant and animal lifecycle events and how they are influenced by seasonal variations in climate and habitat factors) is nature’s calendar—when dogwood trees bloom, when an eagle builds its nest, and when leaves turn color in the fall.

Phenologists take a systems view of the natural world. According to the National Phenology Network (USA NPN): “Many birds time their nesting so that eggs hatch when insects are available to feed nestlings. Likewise, insect emergence is often synchronized with leaf out in host plants. For people, earlier flowering means earlier allergies. Farmers and gardeners need to know the schedule of plant and insect development to decide when to apply fertilizers and pesticides and when to plant to avoid frosts. Phenology influences the abundance and distribution of organisms, ecosystem services, food webs, and global cycles of water and carbon. In turn, phenology may be altered by changes in temperature and precipitation.”

Learn more

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 the weekend of 22-23 June. 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