Animal caretaker needed, Riverbend Park

Photo: Barbara J. Saffir (c)

Riverbend Park

8700 Potomac Hills St.
Great Falls, VA 22066

Do you love animals? Riverbed Park is seeking volunteers to help care for their display animals at the Visitor Center and the Nature Center. Duties include feeding, watering, cleaning tanks/enclosures and monitoring the animals. Learn about the natural history of reptiles and amphibians. Volunteers younger than 16 may be able to participate with an adult upon approval from the Animal Care Manager. Training is provided.  Interested?

Check out science communications workshops at AGU Fall Meeting

Photo: Barbara J. Saffir (c)

We all know that science matters, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out exactly how, and with whom, to share it.

Sharpen your ability to share research with the world. Join the American Geophysical Union science communication sessions to learn how to tell good stories, become a science advocate, and explain science to any audience.

All events are in the Science Communication: A Sharing Science Room (Convention Center, 203 A/B) unless otherwise noted.

For high school teachers and students, registration is free

Highlights of the schedule

Sunday, 10 December

Communicating Science With Any Audience: Workshop at AGU18
Science Storytelling in Multimedia: Workshop at AGU18

Monday, 11 December

Sketch Your Science
How to Sketch (Your) Science
Luncheon: How to Become a Congressional Science Fellow or Mass Media Fellow
Sharing Science Mentoring Meet-up
Blogging and Social Media Forum 101
Blogging and Social Media Forum 201

Tuesday, 12 December

Sketch Your Science
ED21B: The Up-Goer Five Challenge: Tell Us About the Hard Things You Do in Ten Hundred Words I
Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know about Science-Art-Sustainability Collaborations (but were afraid to ask…)
Rhyme Your Research: Workshop
Sharing Science in Plain English (Panel & Lunch)
ED23B: The Up-Goer Five Challenge: Tell Us About the Hard Things You Do in Ten Hundred Words II
Live Third Pod from the Sun podcast recording with photographer James Balog
Dialogue with Religious Publics (AAAS DOSER event)
Open Mic Night

Wednesday, 13 December

Sketch Your Science
Communicating Your Science: Ask the Experts
Sprint workshop: SciComm via Multimedia
Film Making Crash Course

Thursday, 14 December

Sketch Your Science
Sustainable Futures: Short Films About Science
Tell me a story: Storytelling in SciComm
Voices for Science Panel
Sharing Science Mentoring Meetup
When Is Science Newsworthy?
Film Screening & Panel Q&A — Summiting the Solar System: Pluto & Beyond
(Science) Podcasting 101
AGU Story Collider

Friday, 15 December

Sketch Your Science
Summiting the Solar System: Pluto & Beyond: Film Screening

Service opportunity: Vernal pool monitor

Huntley Meadows Park

3701 Lockheed Blvd., Alexandria, VA 22306

Do you enjoy muddy boots, long off-trail walks, and learning about the life cycles of amphibians? Then this is the volunteer opportunity for you!

Purpose: To monitor vernal pools, including flora and fauna. To record pool data, record and identify species, and determine breeding cycles.

Duties: Complete survey protocol every 2-3 weeks year round. Record environmental data using monitoring equipment and identify and count faunal species including egg masses, in accordance with protocol. Follow safety procedures.

Qualifications: Must have a strong interest in nature and the stewardship of Fairfax County. Ability to work independently, off-trail over uneven terrain for up to 4 miles, in a variety of weather conditions. Willingness to learn faunal identification, including egg masses and tadpoles. Ability and willingness to enter vernal pools to complete survey. Must complete the training program. Weekday availability. Must attend site orientation and on-the-job training as required. Volunteer and Outdoor Safety Training will be provided.

ContactHalley Johnson
[email protected]

More about this and other Huntley Meadow opportunities here. 

Master Naturalists:  This opportunity falls under a pre-approved service project in the Service Project Catalog on the website.  Record your hours as C106-FCPA Citizen Science Programs. This project covers data collection on wildlife populations, native plants or other natural resources for Fairfax County Park Authority’s nature centers, such as Huntley Meadows Park, and Fairfax County Park Authority’s Resource Management Division.

2019 VMN Conference – 20-22 September

Photo credit: Massanetta Springs Camp & Conference Center

It’s time to mark your calendars for the 2019 Virginia Master Naturalist Statewide Volunteer Conference and Training!

The group will meet in Harrisonburg, Virginia on 20-22 September 2019 at Massanetta Spring Camp and Conference Center. The Conference Center has on-site lodging, dining, and meeting rooms, as well as trails and outdoor spaces.

Please check out the current information here:

Further information will be sent out in the spring. Fun and learning guaranteed!

Moonshine and Mayhem: Not Your Typical Hike in the Woods

Photo: Ana Ka’ahanui

You probably think about trees, trails and animals when you conjure up images of the parks in Fairfax County, but some of today’s beautiful public properties have a dicey past.

Get a little taste of that sketchy history (not literally, of course) on the “Moonshine and Mayhem Hike” at Riverbend Park on Saturday, November 3, 2018. On this 2.5-mile scenic hike, journey back in time to Riverbend’s secret past. As the trail winds through upland forest and hollows, enjoy stops along the way that reveal how the land was used as a hideout from local authorities during the days of prohibition.

This program is designed for participants age 13 to adult. It runs from 9 to 11 a.m., and the cost is $10 per person.

Register to claim one of the 14 open spots.

See your feathered friends prepare for winter

Photo by Ana Ka’ahanui

Bring the kids to Green Spring Gardens for the “Family Fun: Bird Walk” on Saturday, November 10, 2018.

Wander through the autumn gardens where birds are making their preparations for the cold winter ahead. Bring field glasses, if you have them, and Green Spring will provide a bird search sheet. Warm up with some hot cider and talk with your guide about the birds you see and hear.

This event runs from 9 to 10:30 a.m., and the cost is $10 per person. The program is designed for family members age five to adult, and children must be accompanied by a registered adult. Register here

Green Spring Gardens is located at 4603 Green Spring Rd., Alexandria, VA. For more information, call 703-642-5173 or visit Green Spring Gardens.

Saving the Earth one person at a time: Volunteer to staff a table for Plant NOVA Natives

Photo by Barbara J. Saffir (c)

Please sign up here to talk about the value of planting native plants with visitors to the Mount Vernon District Environment Expo: Saving the Earth One Person at a Time.

November 10, 2018
7:15 – 11:15 am

Post this lovely flyer where people might see it: enviroexpoposter-flyer-final

Mark Your Ballot: Goldenrods or Asters?

0.jpgWhile humans are bustling about on election campaigns, the rest of the world’s citizens are frenetically preparing for winter. Bees, butterflies, and other pollinators seek out the last of the flowering plants. In the Mid-Atlantic area, goldenrods and asters provide that critical food source (just as red maples fill that need at the other end of the growing season, when bees start to emerge in the spring before anything else is blooming.)

If you pause for a minute in front of blooming goldenrods and asters, you will be astonished at the number of bees foraging for nectar and pollen, including many of the hundreds of species of native bees and the non-native honeybees. If the sun is shining and the temperature is high enough, you will also be treated to the sight of butterflies and skippers flitting from flower to flower. Look very closely at the goldenrod flowers and you will find a whole world of tiny beetles and other creatures hiding between the blossoms.


There are many species of goldenrods and asters, all very easy to grow. They come in different sizes, and asters come in different colors. Some self-seed exuberantly, some are more contained. You can find out the details by consulting the Plant NOVA Natives online search app. Late autumn is not too late to plant, as the roots will continue to grow even as the tops die back.

Cast your ballot on our Bloom Time Table page by clicking here to choose your favorite. Or vote instead on the Plant NOVA Natives Facebook page. Polls close at 7 pm on November 6, of course! We know who the insects are voting for: there is nothing elective for them about native plants, upon which they are completely dependent. To help you choose, check out the “campaign ads” on this short video.

Marion Lobstein presents the Flora of Virginia App

Photo: Barbara J. Saffir (c)

Sunday, November 11, 2018
1 – 4 PM

Green Spring Gardens
4603 Green Spring Road
Alexandria, VA 22312

Everything wonderful from the print version of Flora of Virginia can now fit in your pocket and make you feel like a pro in the woods. The app, for Android and iOS devices, features an easy-to-use Graphic Key, in addition to the traditional dichotomous keys. Species descriptions include photographs, and many include a botanical illustration.

Marion Blois Lobstein is Professor Emeritus of NVCC, where she taught botany, general biology, microbiology, and other courses over her thirty-seven-year teaching career.  For many years she conducted tours and taught classes for the Smithsonian Resident Associates Program.  Her academic degrees Include a BSEd (Biology) from W. Carolina Univ., MAT from UNC-Chapel Hill, and MS in Biology from George Mason Univ.  She is co-author of Finding Wildflowers in the Washington-Baltimore Area.  Marion serves on the Board of Directors of the Foundation of the Flora of Virginia Project and is a former Board Member of the Foundation of the State Arboretum. Marion is a founding and active member of the Virginia Native Plant Society.

Virginia Native Plant Society  programs are free and open to the public. Prior to the talk, VPNS will conduct the business of their annual meeting, voting for chapter officers and approving the 2019 budget.



Clifton Institute hikes: Birds and mosses, 27 and 28 October

Photo by Barbara J. Saffir (c)

Fourth Saturday Bird Walk

Saturday, October 27 at 8:00AM

Novice and experienced birders will enjoy these guided 1-2 mile hikes to look for the many species of birds that can be found on the field station. As fall migration proceeds, we’ll see different species of birds every week. Help us find that Bicknell’s Thrush that must be passing through!

Moss Identification and Biology

Sunday, October 28, 2:00PM – 4:00PM

The Clifton Institute is home to a diverse community of mosses and liverworts. Join moss expert Dr. Ralph Pope as we explore the field station and learn about these often overlooked plants. Ralph is the author of Mosses, Liverworts, and Hornworts: A Field Guide to Common Bryophytes of the Northeast and he is an experienced field trip leader. Bring your hand lens!