Join the National Audubon Society, National Geographic, BirdLife International, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in a yearlong celebration of birds


2018 is it the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act—legislation that saves countless birds’ lives—but birds are facing many new and serious threats. Audubon has teamed up with National Geographic, BirdLife International, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to officially make 2018 the Year of the Bird.

Throughout the year, these partners, along with more than 100 other participating organizations, will be celebrating birds while raising awareness about their troubles across all of our channels—magazines, television, social media, and more—with new editorial, content, and programs.

Help build a better world for birds by taking a simple but meaningful action each month. Count Me In gives you options for learning about some ways to participate.

Check out the official Year of the Bird website for others.

Register for 14th annual Woods and Wildlife Conference, 24 February, Culpepper

The 14th Annual Woods & Wildlife Conference will be held on February 24, 2018 at the Daniel Technology Center, Germanna Community College, Culpeper.  On-line and mail-in registration are open.

Pre-registration is due by 14 February. $45/person. $80/couple


  • Scientific and social challenges of timber harvesting on private lands
  • Early successional habitat: Why and how?
  • Invasive species update
  • Forest pollinators
  • Case study: The Shenandoah National Park Fire
  • Selling timber: Panel of practitioners
  • Snags: Dead trees are good
  • Introduction to wild edibles
  • Pine savannahs: Where wildlife and pine production intersect
  • Habitat triage and congnitive mapping
  • Frogging by ear
  • Coyotes in Virginia: Here today and here to stay

View presentations from previous conference.

This conference counts toward continuing education credits for master naturalists.

Family friendly volunteer opportunities: Restore habitat in Oakton and Vienna, 27 January

The Invasive Management Area (IMA) Program is hosting habitat restoration service opportunities on Saturday, 27 January, in Wayland Street Park in Oakton, and Borges Street Park in Vienna . See calendar for details of timing and requirements.

  • The minimum age to volunteer is 11. Please contact the IMA Coordinator for details.
  • Volunteers 13 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Students who need community service hours, please bring the form to be signed to your workday.
  • IMA workday forms must be received by noon the day prior to the event for weekday workdays, and by noon on Friday for weekend workdays.

The IMA Volunteer Program is a community-based project designed to reduce invasive plants on our parklands. This program gives volunteers an opportunity to connect with like-minded people while taking care of natural resources. Through IMA, you’ll protect the plants and wildlife of Fairfax County’s forests while spending time outdoors, meeting new people and restoring natural habitats.

IMA is more than just pulling weeds. It’s also habitat restoration and a long-term commitment to parks. Invasive plant species are difficult to remove and control, but with the help of IMA volunteers, undesirable non-native, invasive plants are removed and native plants are returned to the habitat. Native plantings take place in the spring and fall.

The IMA project began in 2006 with 20 sites. Since then, more than 35 acres have come under IMA management, and there are 40 active IMA sites. More acres have been treated and restored by contractors and staff.

Apply for Earth Sangha plant grants for spring 2018. Due 28 February

The Earth Sangha Plant Grant supports small-scale, citizen-led restoration efforts across Fairfax County. Twice a year, they accept applications for restoration projects on public lands in need of local-ecotype native plants. They will then offer a matching grant on plants purchased (essentially a buy-one, get-one free offer) good for one season up to a certain dollar amount. No project is too small, whether it’s a community-led invasive pull, or a larger project with multiple partners, they support thoughtful restoration efforts on public lands.

To read The Acorn article outlining the Plant Grant see here.

To take advantage of the Plant Grant. See the criteria and application below.

Selection Criteria

Projects should have the following:

  • Ongoing conservation or restoration work occurring on public lands in Fairfax County (projects outside Fairfax County will be reviewed, but our current focus is to support public lands in our home jurisdiction)
  • Letter of support from a relevant public agency (whoever owns or administers the area in question), an email is fine
  • Proposed plant list for the site in question (we can help you refine this, if needed)
  • Timeline for the planting
  • Plan for maintenance of the planting site

Click here for the Plant Grant Application

How to Apply:

Fill out the pdf form (see below) and email it to Matt Bright, [email protected] along with a letter of support from your agency sponsor and 2-3 photos of the site.

Spring Grant Period: For projects to be planted in Spring 2018. Applications due by February 28, 2018.

Support local farmers at Frying Pan Park events in February and March

Meet local farmers in the Fairfax County area to hear their stories about growing food to feed our communities.  Learn ways we can support each other and enjoy a sample of their harvests as we gather together.

February 11, 2018:  Jessie and Sean Baker, Day Spring Farms

March 11, 2018:  Allyson Gibson, Pocket Farms

Each program is from 2-3:30 PM at the Frying Pan Visitor Center, 2739 West Ox Road, Herndon VA  20171, (703) 437-9101

Cost: $10/person


Learning opportunity on climate change, sponsored by Sierra Club

Scientists have been researching and studying climate change for over 100 years and have come to a near-unanimous consensus that the burning of fossil fuels is the major contributor.  The Climate Reality Project presents Climate Reality Leader Paula Clements, whose slide show presentation will depict the urgency for climate action but is really a message of hope.

When:  Tuesday, January 30, 7:00-8:30 PM (snacks 6:30 PM)

Where:  Oakton Library, 10304 Lynnhaven Place, Oakton VA

Contact and RSVP:  Susan Weltz at [email protected]

Sponsored by:  Sierra Club/Great Falls Group, Fairfax, Herndon Environmental Network, FACS, UUCF Climate Action Group

Attend Shenandoah Valley Plant Symposium 2018

Waynesboro Parks and Recreation presents A Gardener’s Palette, a learning opportunity for everyone from garden hobbyist to experienced landscape architect.

Proceeds from the event support our horticulture department’s Bloom Program.

Friday, March 16, 2018 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Best Western Inn & Conference Center, Waynesboro, VA

Learn more and register.


Attend Winter Waterfowl Workshop at Mason Neck

Saturday, January 27, 2018

9:00 AM 12:00 PM

Join the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia in preparation for their annual Winter Waterfowl Count. This field workshop will help hone your identification skills. Meet up at the Woodmarsh Trail parking lot, Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge. After a short hike to the observation deck, we’ll head back to our cars and drive to Mason Neck State Park Visitor’s Center.

This workshop is free, but there is a fee to enter the park. Larry Cartwright leads.

Volunteer opportunity: Help the Invasive Management Area program

The Fairfax County Park Authority has a volunteer program that battles invasive species, by removing them and replacing them with native species.  The Invasive Management Area (IMA) program is more than just pulling weeds. It’s also habitat restoration and a long-term commitment to parks.

Get involved! Even a few hours on a single day will help.  The IMA calendar is your opportunity to volunteer. To join a workday, click on the IMA Calendar or contact Erin Stockschlaeder at 703-324-8681 or Lindsay Edwards at 703-324-2598.

Learning opportunity: Identify Trees at Riverbend Park

A Field Trip with Emily Ferguson
Sunday, January 28, 2018
1:00 to 3:00 pm

Riverbend Park
8700 Potomac Hills St.
Great Falls, VA 22066

VNPS programs are free and open to the public, but space on field trips is strictly  limited.  Registration for field trips is required.

Emily Ferguson will lead a beginner winter tree walk providing easy tips to help identify native tree species.
Emily developed her interest in Virginia’s flora and fauna while living in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Charlottesville.  When a career move relocated her to Northern Virginia, she struggled to maintain a connection with the natural world.  Emily completed the Arlington Regional Master Naturalist course in 2010, the Tree Steward course in 2011, and a bee-keeping class in 2012. Since then, she continues to provide support for activities involving trees and enjoys sharing her knowledge about them.
Potowmack Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society
PO Box 5311
Arlington, VA  22205\potowmack