Guiding plant community change: Management of invasive plants in urban woodlands

You’re invited to the Annual Invasive Management Appreciation Event

Cabells Mill, 5235 Walney Road, Chantilly, VA 20151

Saturday, February 16, 9 am-11.30 am

Talk by Lea Johnson (see flyer for bio)

RSVP to [email protected] or call 703-324-8681


Programs at Green Spring Gardens, Feb. 14th and 16th

The Balanced Garden: How to meld beautiful and sustainable native plants with favorites from around the world
Saturday, Feb 16, 2019 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Green Spring Gardens 4603 Green Spring Road Alexandria VA
Registration: (703) 642-5173 or online at Code: 986.B59A

Butterflies and Blossoms, or Larval Host Plants and the Lepidoptera that Eat Them
Thursday, February 14, 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria VA

No reservations are necessary for this talk.
Virginia Native Plant Society programs are free and open to the public.

Margaret Chatham will discuss butterflies, caterpillars, and larval host plants.

Beautiful butterflies and lovely blossoms are all the result of trying to make a living. The plants need someone to pollinate them, but at the same time need to limit the number of caterpillars and other insects that can eat them. The butterflies and caterpillars need to avoid being eaten long enough to lay eggs for the next generation. Learn which natives to plant to nurture more than just monarchs.

2010 was a good year for butterfly photographs in our area. Margaret Chatham took a lot of pictures that year. Then she wanted to know who they were and what they ate. No year since has offered her quite as many butterflies, but every season brings something new, so now she wants to share them.

Margaret is a devoted Fraser Preserve Volunteer Visitation Committee Member who removes invasive barberry shrubs in winter and wavyleaf grass in summer and knows the preserve intimately. She is also editor of the VNPS Potowmack News newsletter, a volunteer at the VNPS propagation beds at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, and an Arlington Regional Master Naturalist.

Regional Native Plant Guides Available Online

The Virginia Native Plant Society now offers online ordering of three Virginia Regional Native Plant Guides on their website and more guides will be available soon. Print versions are available for Northern Virginia, Virginia’s Capital Region, and the Piedmont Region. PDF versions are available for all but the Piedmont Natives guide. Read more about all the Virginia Native Plant Guides.

Earth Sangha February Workdays

Earth Sangha is extending its seed cleaning sessions to February. If weather co-operates, they’d also like to include some outdoor activity of removing invasive vines in a park. It is possible that they might end up cleaning all the seeds ahead of the schedule mentioned below. Check out the website before showing up!

Monday, January 28th, from 10 am to 1 pm, at Long Branch Nature Center in Arlington: 625 South Carlin Spring Road, Arlington.

Mondays, February 4th and 11th, from 10 am to 1 pm, at Long Branch Nature Center in Arlington. Address above.

Sundays, February 3rd, February 10th, from 10 am to 1 pm, at Arlington Village: 1400 South Edgewood Street, Arlington. This is the community room of Arlington Village and is located on the lowest point of the street. Please look for the brown street sign that says “1400 South Edgewood Street.” The community Room is through basement door at the corner of the building. If you can’t find it, please call Rodney at 703-216-4855 for directions.

Saturdays February 16th & 23rd, Sunday February 24th, 10 am to 1 pm at Rutherford Park, 4743 Guinea Road, Fairfax: It’s a relatively small area with many interesting native shrubs (Earth Sangha planted them several years ago) but now invasive vines threaten to overtake it. If they remove Porcelainberry and Japanese Honeysuckle now, they would like to plant more native grass and perennials in the Spring. Tools will be provided.

Join the Clifton Institute’s Bioblitz on April 27

On April 27, Clifton Institute will be doing a bioblitz as a part of the City Nature Challenge. They’ll will be working with like-minded organizations to document as many species as possible in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

The event will start with a bird walk, then look for all other kinds of species during the day, and end with moths and crickets in the evening! People of all skill levels are most welcome, but they are especially in need of people with expertise in invertebrates, fungi, and plants. And they need photographers to help document species.

April 28th is the rain date. Please email Bert Harris at [email protected] or register on our website if you are interested in participating with this active group of naturalists and scientists in a particularly beautiful and diverse nature preserve.

Volunteer at Riverbend Park: Wildlife Conservation & Animal Care

Volunteer Orientation

Saturday, Feb 2

9:30 AM-12:00 PM

8700 Potomac Hills St Great Falls, VA

Want to become a Riverbend Park Volunteer? Attend our next monthly Volunteer Orientation and learn about our upcoming opportunities, projects, and events and get started on your training with a hands-on project!

Please register

Upcoming Opportunities

  • Wildflower Survey (Feb-May)  NEW – Identify & document native and non-native wildflowers
  • Spring Salamander Survey (Feb-May)ID, measure, and document salamanders
  • Turtle Survey (Feb-May)  NEW – ID native turtles and help us track & document their presence at Riverbend
  • Wildlife Camera Monitor NEW – Help us set up & track wildlife cams throughout the park and review footage for some action
  • Exhibit Animal Care – Help provide care for our exhibit animals (min 4hrs/month for 6 months)
  • Survey Data Entry (winter-spring) NEW – Enter data on our salamander survey onto a spreadsheet
  • Spring/Summer Programs – Join our interpretive team and provide assistance at our camps & programs
  • Wagon Driver (spring-summer) – help us provide wagon rides at our programs and events
  • Astronomy Festivals (Feb. 16 and March 9)
  • Macroinvertebrate Stream Survey at Scott’s Run Orientation March 2
  • Dragonfly Survey (March-Oct) Training in March
  • Bluebell Festival, April 6


Ongoing Opportunities

  • Watershed Clean ups
  • Habitat restoration
  • Trail maintenance and restoration
  • Gardening/plants
  • Park Support



Valeria Espinoza, Volunteer Coordinator [email protected]

Rita Peralta, Natural Resources Manager [email protected]

Volunteer Opportunities

Two NVSWCD stormwater workshops

Soak It Up: Stormwater Solutions for Homeowners
February 2, 10 AM–Noon

Rain Gardens for Homeowners
March 2, 10 AM-Noon

Mason District Governmental Center
6507 Columbia Pike Annandale, VA 22003

Stormwater Workshops flyer to share

Educational opportunities abound outside Fairfax County in February/March

Green Matters Symposium – Doug Tallamy speaking.
Friday, 22 February 2019, 8-4 pm
Silver Spring Civic Building, 1 Veterans Pl, Silver Spring, MD

Prince William County (PWC) Native Plant Symposium for Beginners (Beginners only)
Saturday, 23 February 2019, 9 am – 2 pm
McCoart Administration Building
1 County Complex Court
Woodbridge, Virginia 22192

Prince William – Balancing Natives and Ornamentals in Your Garden
Saturday, 23 February 2019, 1 – 3 pm
Old Historic Manassas Courthouse, Manassas
This lecture from the Master Gardeners of Prince William Education Committee discusses the benefits of native plants and features 25 specimen plants. The lecture is led by Keith Tomlinson of Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. This is a free program, but please register by calling 703-792-7747.

Plant Pollinators talk by Heather Holm
Sunday, 17 February 2019, 3:30 pm
Manassas Park Community Center, 99 Adams Street, Manassas  Park, VA

Loudoun County Extension Master Gardeners 10th Annual Gardening Symposium
Saturday, 23 March 2019, 9 am – 4 pm
Talks by Larry Weaner, Barbara Pleasant, Sara Via, and Nancy Lawson.



“Road projects” for wildlife: Your hedge as sanctuary

If you are the only turtle living in someone’s yard, where are you going to find a mate? Asphalt and lawns are fine for moving people around, but they create barriers for wildlife. Fragmentation of our natural areas has a lot to do with why box turtle sightings are an increasingly rare occurrence in the suburbs.

Eastern box turtle, Plant NOVA Natives

Our parks, only some of which are large enough or undisturbed enough to nurture biodiversity, make up a small percentage of the land in Northern Virginia. It is up to us to connect those natural areas into wildlife corridors by using our own yards. By lining our properties with hedges, we can create pathways for turtles and other wildlife to navigate the landscape. Ideally such pathways would be uninterrupted, but even creating a series of islands is effective. Not only can native plants provide shelter, but the fruits, berries, and seeds they produce will attract songbirds to liven up our landscapes. Have you ever noticed that birds congregate on properties that have thickets?

Creating a hedge is very simple. Start by planting two or three native shrubs where you now have lawn, allowing dead leaves to create a ground layer. Add more shrubs and trees as your time and energy allow – the wider the corridor, the better. Many suggestions for suitable plants of various heights can be found on this page of the Plant NOVA Natives website. Hedges, which can look relaxed and natural like a hedgerow, or clipped and formal, provide the additional benefits of capturing stormwater and enhancing privacy.

For a little more inspiration, watch our two-minute video about the secret goings-on within native plantings. (The hotline keeps breaking–try this:

By the way: if you ever stop your car to help a turtle cross the road, be sure to deliver it to the side where it was heading, and no further. Box turtles are territorial and will not survive if you move them any distance.

2018 Annual Report from Fairfax Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalists

Each year, our chapter submits a record of what our members have accomplished to the Virginia Master Naturalists home office in Charlottesville, VA. This year, we recorded 12,569 hours across 137  citizen science, education, and stewardship service projects, in addition to chapter administration.

As Past President Michael Reinemer recounts, numbers alone convey neither the dedication of our volunteers nor the outcomes of their work. Those results of these hours, so generously given, include bird counts and surveys, maintenance of bluebird houses and trails; installation and monitoring of nest structures for Purple Martins; stream monitoring; outreach to school children; education on native plants; citizen science efforts to collect data on wildlife populations, native plants, pollinators, and other natural resources; work with partners such as Earth Sangha, Northern Virginia Soil and Water, Fairfax County Parks; and many more.

The report itself is available in its entirety.