Use our Member Directory to keep in touch

Marilyn Schroeder

Want to contact an FMN colleague (if you are a member)? Get the FMN Member Newsletter at your new email address? Find out if you’re certified now or re-certified for 2020?

The Member Directory is the place to go! 

  • For contact information, click on the Member Directory on FMN Members page of the members-0nly SharePoint. You’ll see a list of active members.  To look by Training Class, click on Members by Training class.
  • Notify FMN of changes to your email, address, or phone number by editing your entry. Click on your last name.  Choose Edit item.  Make the changes and click Save.
  • Your certification information is also included in your entry. Click on your last name. 

The Membership Committee meets periodically to review hours and update certification information. If you have questions about the data, contact Membership Chair Shawn Dilles, [email protected].

Your Camera as Eco-Warrior

Photo (c) Barbara J. Saffir

Margaret Fisher

We are surrounded by the ecosystem, even in our urban/suburban areas, but most of us never notice it. If we do see a plant, an insect or a bird, we lack the background to recognize it. Our experience of life is becoming more and more virtual as we live in a world of technology. Paradoxically, that very technology is now making it easy to find and identify the small residents of our yards. Getting to know our fellow beings makes us more likely to value and protect them.

The tool you need for this experience is a camera, even a basic cell phone camera. If you take a photo of an insect and enlarge it on your screen, you will be in for some big surprises. What you took to be a drab brown bug may turn out to be a wildly colorful and patterned creature, living its life and paying attention to your doings, even while you were unaware of it. The same discoveries are there to be made about birds, frogs, and all our other neighbors.

Better yet, if you upload photos of wild plants and animals to the free iNaturalist website or app, the artificial intelligence will suggest possible identifications, and then two actual human beings will review them to make the final determination. All this data is automatically entered into a worldwide global biodiversity database that is populated by contributions from citizen scientists such as yourself. All your observations will be saved and labelled in one place for your amusement. You can even create a project that collates all the observations from one location, such as your homeowners association, park, school, or faith community. Once you get hooked, you may find yourself trying to document all the life in your neighborhood. Here is an example from Huntley Meadows Park.

From April 26-29, iNaturalist invites everyone to join City Nature Challenge 2019, in which metropolitan areas participate in a friendly competition to see who can make the most observations. Events will be held all around the region, but you can also just take your camera outside and start documenting on your own. All observations made during that four day period will count.

What will become clear to you as you do this is that the more native plants you have, the more butterflies, bees, birds, and other wildlife you will find. You will see how preserving natural resources even in our built-up areas is critical to the survival of wildlife, and how the landscaping in your own yard can contribute to or degrade biodiversity, depending on your landscaping choices.

Watch Plant NOVA Native’s lovely one-minute video about iNaturalist and City Nature Challenge.

Events, trainings, ID parties, and videos for City Nature Challenge

Helpful video from Plant NOVA Natives:

Have you ever noticed that we are not alone in this world?

A calendar and map of local events courtesy of Capital Nature: Explore nature on your own and share what you find using iNaturalist  … or join others at an event.  All observations made from April 26 through April 29 will count!

Cheerily, cheer up: Colt Gregory on birding by ear

It’s impossible to miss the robins outside the window right now, but even if you missed Colt Gregory’s “Introduction to Birding by Ear,” at the March 18 FMN chapter meeting, it’s not too late to start understanding birdsong.

An Arlington Regional Master Naturalist and lifelong birder, Mr. Gregory entertained the crowd with reasons to learn the songs of local birds: they hide, for one thing, and it’s easier to hear them than to see them. Listening and parsing their music requires focus, which is good discipline for our fragmented attention. And, well, it’s fun to impress people. There’s more to it, of course, and he’s graciously shared his slides as a resource.

You’ll find a sound suggestion for what not to do: don’t play recorded calls outside because it confuses the birds and annoys other birders. But you’ll mostly find excellent resources for developing your skills. Mr. Gregory particularly recommends the CD Birding By Ear: A Guide to Eastern Bird-Song Identification, narration by Richard K. Walton and Robert W. Lawson: “This is an excellent way to learn songs and calls. Using an interesting approach, the CD places birds in general groups like whistlers, sing-songers, mimics, name-sayers, and high-pitchers.”

Birding by Ear, by Colt Gregory, ARMN, March 18, 2019

Thank you to Kit Sheffield for arranging the presentation. If you are interested in sharing your skills with our members or community, please contact Mr. Sheffield at [email protected]

George Mason University hosts free lecture on climate change, Apr. 24th

An Evening with Dr. Ed Maibach: What Do Americans Think About Climate Change, and What—If Anything—Do They Want to Do About It?

Old Town Hall, City of Fairfax
3999 University Drive, Fairfax VA
Wednesday, 24 April 2019
7 pm

Dr. Edward Maibach will present an overview of the findings from public opinion polls regarding climate change conducted over the past decade. Recently there has been a sharp increase in the public’s understanding of and concern about climate change. He will discuss Mason’s efforts to increase public understanding of climate change. There will be an opportunity for questions following the presentation.

Dr. Maibach serves on the advisory council of George Mason University’s newly launched Institute for a Sustainable Earth (ISE), which will address Earth’s future, including the problem of global climate change. He is also a Mason distinguished University Professor and a communication scientist who is expert in the uses of strategic communication and social marketing to address climate change and related public health challenges. His research – funded by NSF, NASA and private foundations – focuses on public understanding of climate change and clean energy; the psychology underlying public engagement; and cultivating TV weathercasters, health professionals, and climate scientists as effective climate educators. From 2011 to 2014, Ed co-chaired the Engagement & Communication Working Group for the 3rd National Climate Assessment, and he currently advises myriad government agencies, museums, science societies and civic organizations on their climate change public engagement initiatives. He earned his PhD in communication science at Stanford University, his Masters in Public Health at San Diego State University, and his BA in psychology at University of California, San Diego.

Keep Virginia Beautiful 30 in 30 Green Grants, Apr. 30 deadline

Keep Virginia Beautiful (KVB) 30 in 30 Green Grants initiative is designed to empower groups all across Virginia to make an environmental impact in their own communities. Since 2011, KVB has provided $203,000 for 260 different projects throughout the state. Keep Virginia Beautiful awards grants of $500-$1,000 for projects in each of these four categories: Community Beautification and Greening, Litter Prevention, Recycling, and Cigarette Litter Prevention. The application process is underway and you are invited to apply, but hurry! The deadline is April 30.

KVB receives so many great applications and they wish they could fund them all! What can you do to help your grant application get noticed by the judges?

* Enter early. It’s easy to spot an application that was thrown together at the last minute!
* Think of a snappy title! It makes your application more memorable, and draws in the reader.
* Good things come in small packages. Programs and projects with a lot of bang-for-the-low-budget-buck are very impressive.
* Choose your category wisely. There are fewer grant applications sent for Cigarette Litter and Litter prevention, which means your odds are better of being chosen.
* Send an ugly picture. Show the judges what kind of impact you have planned by including a photograph that helps to tell your story.

Click here to apply for your 2019 30 in 30 Green Grant!

FrogWatch USA training and service

Photo by Barbara J. Saffir (c)

Thursday, 11 April 2019, 6-9 pm @ Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, VA
Sunday, 14 April 2019, 3-6 pm @ National Zoological Park, ­ Rock Creek Campus
Saturday, 27 April 2019, 3-6 pm @ National Zoological Park, ­Rock Creek Campus

The FrogWatch, USA, National Zoo chapter is entering its seventh season of FrogWatch USA at the zoo. To date it has monitored 75 sites in DC, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maine and has submitted almost 2,000 frog call observations.

FrogWatch tracks frog populations throughout the United States. Participants will choose a monitoring site that is easily accessible and close to where they live or work to listen to frogs that are calling throughout the warmer months. The three indoor trainings help orient people with the frogs that are in the DC-metro area and their calls. Content is the same, so chose one training that fits your schedule. If you are interested please contact Matt Neff: [email protected].

Huntley Meadows Volunteering – for Nature Lovers Who Enjoy Talking to Park Visitors

Photo by Barbara J. Saffir  (c)

Huntley Meadows Park, 3701 Lockheed Boulevard, Alexandria, VA has two opportunities of greatest need at the moment. One of them may be right for you.

Greet and orient visitors as the Volunteer on Duty (VOD). It’s hugely important and lots of fun. These folks at the front desk orient visitors and do a lot of interaction. They get to hear firsthand all the creature sightings from visitors, and introduce new visitors to the park and everything it has to offer. We’re short especially on Monday and Friday afternoons at the moment.

The School Program Leader job is a blast as well! This is a weekday morning, ~9:30AM to 12:30 pm commitment – we ask for a minimum of 10 programs per year, spread through spring and fall. Training is very much “on the job” and there is a co-leading transition before folks are asked to lead hikes through the wetland on their own.

For more information, contact Halley Johnson, [email protected] or see the links below. All volunteers need to apply through the online system and go through an interview process to ensure that everyone is aware of expectations and make sure they’re in the right place for their goals and needs.
Fairfax Master Naturalists should record their service hours as E111: FCPA Nature Center Visitor Information Desk for Volunteer on Duty or as E110: FCPA Nature Program for the school programs.

Volunteer on Duty:{0D559671-5A0E-4917-BE63-1441B2F336C6}&t=Volunteer-on-Duty-Huntley-Meadows-Park

School Programs:{2F0F42BD-90CF-4468-A4A5-FDB8C29494B2}&t=Assistant-AM-School-Program-Leader-Huntley-Meadows-Park

Spring Volunteer Opportunities at Riverbend Park in Great Falls, VA

Bluebell Festival: Saturday, 6 April 2019
Please sign up to volunteer by 31 March 2019.

The bluebells are starting to bloom at Riverbend Park! This means spring is around the corner …and so is the Bluebell Festival! The Bluebell Festival is one of Riverbend’s biggest events of the year and a perfect opportunity to celebrate Riverbend and promote its preservation goals. Wonderful volunteers are needed to ensure the event is a success!
REGISTER HERE:{E596D26B-0BF0-4D61-801B-61CFFE753CBB}&t=Bluebell-Festival-Volunteer
CONTACT: [email protected]
SHIFTS: 9AM-12PM, 11:30AM-2:30PM, or 9AM-2:30PM

April Volunteer Orientation: Restoration, Programs, and Park Support
Saturday, 13 April 2019
11am – 1:30 pm

Are you interested in becoming a Riverbend Park volunteer? Do you want to learn more about habitat restoration, nature/outdoor educational programs, or how to support the park? Join us on April 13th at our upcoming Volunteer Orientation event from 11AM-1:30PM. Volunteers will learn about Riverbend’s volunteer program, available opportunities, and upcoming events and then participate in a hands-on restoration project or interactive training to get started!
REGISTER HERE:{A5D09A6F-5888-469B-91ED-54CDC30C8DAA}&t=April-Volunteer-Orientation-Restoration-Programs-and-Park-Support
CONTACT: [email protected]
Note: this is the last orientation event until the fall! If you are interested, but cannot attend let Valeria know.

Become a School Programs Lead Volunteer!
Apply by 7 April 2019

Riverbend Park is in search of motivated naturalists interested in helping to educate local students about nature, culture, and history through our field trip programs! School programs run on weekday mornings during Spring and Fall. Topics include soils, Native American history, ecology/wildlife, watershed science, geology, and more!

APPLY HERE:{2F32EB07-0B40-4180-AB3D-6E5D200BF187}&t=School-Programs-Lead-Volunteer-Riverbend-Park
CONTACT: [email protected]

Become a Programs Assistant Volunteer!
Orientation on 13 April 2019

We have Program Assistant opportunities for outdoor rec programs, nature programs, scout programs, and summer programs. These will be included at the Volunteer Orientation on April, 13th! Whether you have a passion for hiking, birding, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, trees, wildlife, campfires, rocks, etc… we’ve got an opportunity for you!
TO SIGN UP CONTACT: [email protected]

For more opportunities:

Fairfax Master Naturalists: record your hours as E110: FCPA Nature Programs.

VMN CE Webinar: Maple syrup as a forest product, Mar. 28th

Virginia Master Naturalists Continuing Education Webinar

Thursday, 28 March 2019, 12:00 pm
Meeting Number: 199-915-948
Link to join: Join Webinar

It’s possible to collect sap sustainably from any species of maple, sap that can be processed into a valuable syrup.  In many parts of Virginia, this can prove to be a viable cottage industry (or at least an interesting demonstration project).  The VMN-High Knob Chapter has overseen a demo “sugar bush” on the Powell River Project Research & Education Center in Wise County for the last four winters.  Chris Allgyer and Phil Meeks will discuss the process for collecting sap and making syrup, as well as its potential as an off-season forest product.  Other species of trees that can yield a usable syrup will also be discussed.


Phil Meeks is the Extension Agent for Agriculture & Natural Resources in Wise County and is the chapter advisor for the High Knob Chapter of VMN.

Chris Allgyer is President of the VMN High Knob Chapter. He recently retired from Mountain Empire Community College where he taught mathematics for 46 years.

Link for recordings of this and past webinars: VMN Continuing Education page.

If you have specific technical questions, try the Zoom Support Center.