Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair needs judges, March 21st–CANCELED! FCPS closed until April 10th

Robinson Secondary School
5035 Sideburn Road, Fairfax VA
Saturday, 21 March 2020
7:30 am – 12 pm

Be an organizational judge for Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District’s special award at the Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair! Overall, each year 250 judges are required to evaluate over four hundred science fair projects in a wide variety of categories ranging from plants sciences to physics and astronomy. Of course the ones for this award will relate to NVSWCD’s work.

Master naturalists receive service hour credit using code E155.

For more information and to volunteer, contact Tessa Bennett.

City Nature Challenge! April 24 – 27th — Changes have been made!

In the past, the City Nature Challenge has been a friendly competition among 160+ cities worldwide to see who can observe the most species and involve the most citizen scientists. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, some modifications have been made to help keep the organizers and participants safe. Firstly, this year’s CNC is no longer a competition. Instead, the organizers want to embrace the healing power of nature and encourage the collaborative aspect of the CNC. This will allow people to safely document biodiversity in whatever way they can, even from the safety of their own homes if necessary. All participants are urged to carefully follow public health guidelines provided by their local governments, as they are changing in real-time. Individual safety and public health are the utmost priority. Please refer to the COVID-19 FAQ page for more information.

Join the project as a citizen scientist from April 24th to 27th using the iNaturalist app.

Participating in the City Nature Challenge is fun—and it’s a great reason to step outdoors for some time with nature. Your observations of plant and animal life will help scientists collect valuable data on the biodiversity of our planet. AND you’ll help the Washington DC area win!

How it works

Resources, and a video

2019 City Nature Challenge Leaderboard

Creating A Flood-Free Paradise: Managing Water in the Garden, program Mar. 2nd

Falls Church Garden Club
American Legion Hall
400 N. Oak Street, Falls Church VA
Monday, 2 March 2020
7:30 pm

Falls Church and Fairfax County have faced more than their share of flooding. Award-winning landscape designer and Falls Church resident Elisa Meara, founder/owner of the Native Plant Landscape Design Corp., will share before-and-after stories and photos of properties that have undergone conservation landscaping to manage stormwater and prevent erosion. She also may touch on rain gardens, infiltration trenches, swales and other approaches to water management, as well as provide a list of plants suitable to a wide variety of conditions.

Elisa Meara grew up in the Dominican Republic, where nature and plants always played a big role in her life. Living in a country where the weather allows people to enjoy the outdoors year-round, she became interested in the beautiful array of textures, colors, forms, fragrances and shades of the Dominican flora. This was the beginning of her passion for beauty and design. During the last fifteen years she has lived in five different countries. In each place, she faced the challenges that come with working with unfamiliar plants, soils, and weather, but says that the difficulties were always more than compensated for by the joy of learning and the adventure of working with things new and exotic. While living in England, Meara trained at the Inchbald School of Design, one of the most demanding and prestigious garden design programs in the world. As a certified Virginia Master Gardener who has worked as a landscape designer in England and Italy, she aspires to create personalized garden designs that support the local ecosystem. Her Native Plant Landscape Design Corp., launched in Falls Church in 2013, received the 2019 Virginia Conservation Assistance Program Leadership Award and has won Best of Houzz Service Award from 2016-2019. In 2019, the Chesapeake Stormwater Network awarded her 2nd place for Best Residential BMP in the Bay for a local project that captures and treats 100% of the runoff from the property.

Piecing Together Nature’s Puzzle with Alonso Abugattas, March 12th–CANCELLED!

Green Spring Gardens
4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria VA
Thursday, 12 March 2020
7:30 – 9 pm

Nature is intricately interconnected. While we certainly don’t know how all the pieces fit, we can have some informative fun trying to put them together. Virginia Native Plant Society, Potowmack Chapter presents an interesting look at how pieces of the “nature puzzle” fit together, focusing on our native flora and wildlife of course. Get a peek at just how interdependent are plants, fungi, insects, wildlife, and even humans can be and try to piece together some parts of our local nature puzzle. Take a look at host plants, oligolectic bees, ethnobotany, and other wildlife interactions. You may not look at our natural world the same way again. 

Alonso Abugattas is a well-known local naturalist, environmental educator, and storyteller in the Washington, DC area. He is the Natural Resources Manager for Arlington County Parks, VA and the longtime Co-Chair for the Beltway Chapter of Region 2 of the National Association for Interpretation, the professional association for naturalists, historians, and docents. He was awarded their Regional Outstanding Interpretive Manager Award in 2018 and the national Master Interpretive Manager in 2018. He has been trained as a Master Gardener, was made an honorary Virginia Master Naturalist for his role in starting 2 chapters, and serves as an instructor for both.

Alonso is a co-founder of the Washington Area Butterfly Club and has held several offices (including President) for the Potowmack Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society. With numerous mentions and appearances on television, radio, and the press, he invites you to check out his NAI Interpretive Section Thomas Say Media Award winning FaceBook Group “Capital Naturalist”, his Capital Naturalist Blog, @CapNaturalist on Twitter, and the Capital Naturalist YouTube Channel.

Be a Citizen Scientist at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts! Bluebird and Purple Martin monitors needed. Training March 15th

Orientation and Training
Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
1551 Trap Road, Vienna, VA 22182
Sunday, 15 March 2020
1:00 to 3:30 pm

The National Park Service and Friends of Wolf Trap, would like to enlist the help of a team of volunteers who would form a Bird House Monitoring Team to monitor and maintain the Bluebird boxes and Purple Martin housing at the Park. No experience is necessary, as volunteers would be provided with training and guidance by our lead bluebird trail volunteer, Mr. Dale Thornton. Volunteers would learn about Bluebird stewardship efforts, including how to monitor the nest boxes, nest identification, and collecting and reporting nesting data to track population trends. In addition, volunteers would receive training from Mr. Mike Bishop of the Northern Virginia Purple Martin Initiative who will provide an overview of the Purple Martin and the process for monitoring and maintaining the colony.

The bluebird and purple martin monitoring season typically starts in late March and continues through August.  Nests are monitored on a weekly basis during the spring/summer nesting season and volunteers will help with box repair and maintenance during the off season, on an as-needed basis.  A team of trained monitors who will work on a rotating basis throughout the season and continue next year and into future seasons.  Ideally, each trained volunteer would be on a three- or four-week rotation; however, the monitoring schedule and associated details will partly depend upon how many people choose to volunteer.

The interested volunteers should be adults who have received the appropriate training and hands-on experience monitoring bluebirds on the Wolf Trap bluebird trail.  Children under the supervision of the trained volunteer monitor are welcome to assist the volunteer while they are conducting their monitoring duties.

Interested volunteers please sign up here. For more information, contact Allen Hoffman (Friends of Wolf Trap and FMN)

Master Naturalists may receive service hours at S263, Wolf Trap Stewardship Projects.

Derelict Crab Traps and How Volunteers Can Help

2020 VMN Continuing Education Webinar Series

When: Wednesday, March 4, 2020, 12:00 pm

Meeting Number: 863-745-357

Link to Join: Join Webinar

Link for recordings of this and past webinars:

VMN Continuing Education Webinar page

Reminder – We still have our February webinar on February 25, discussing feral swine management. Information on that is on the CE Webinar page.

Derelict fishing gear represents a major challenge to marine resource management through deliberate abandonment or accidental loss. Derelict crab traps in particular have significant negative effects, both economic (e.g., reduced fishery harvest from ghost fishing and reduced efficiency of active gear) and ecological (e.g., crab, fish and other animal mortality). This webinar will discuss the derelict crab trap issue in the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay, the recent commercial waterman removal effort, and how volunteer Citizen Scientists can help.

Volunteers who are interested in participating in this project in the 2020 season should request approval from their chapter now, because the period for marking and removing traps ends March 14, 2020. Volunteers must register with the project, be 18 years of age, have a smartphone, and have an email address. For additional information and registration, visit the Crab Trap page. We have a project proposal form that you can take to your chapter available here.
Kirk Havens received his B.S. in Biology and M.S. in Oceanography from Old Dominion University and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Public Policy from George Mason University. He is a Research Associate Professor, and Assistant Director of the Center for Coastal Resources Management at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. He also serves as a collaborating partner in the William & Mary School of Law, Virginia Coastal Policy Center. His research has spanned topics as diverse as hormonal activity in blue crabs to tracking black bears and panthers using helicopters and thermal imaging equipment. His present work involves wetlands ecology, adaptive management processes, marine debris, micro-plastics, and biopolymers. He hosts the VIMS event “A Healthy Bay for Healthy Kids: Cooking with Virginia’s First Lady” and the public service segments “Chesapeake Bay Watch with Dr. Kirk Havens”. He serves as the gubernatorial appointee to the Chesapeake Bay Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee and is a past chair of the Committee. He was originally appointed by Gov. Warner and re-appointed by Governors Kaine, McDonnell, McAuliffe and Northam. He also serves as the chair of the Leadership Council for the North Carolina Albemarle Pamlico National Estuary Partnership. He lives in King & Queen County, Virginia with his wife, Karla, and son Kade where he serves as the chair of the County Wetlands Board.

Honor and Recognize individuals who have advanced Earth and space science

Nominate your peers for an AGU honor

The nomination cycle for 2020 AGU honors is now open. Nominate a colleague, peer or student today.

AGU honors

  • Union Awards recognize individuals who have demonstrated excellence in scientific research, education, communication, and outreach.

    Union Medals are the highest honors bestowed by AGU, recognizing individuals for their scientific body of work as well as their sustained impact within the Earth and space sciences community.

    Union Prizes are given jointly with non-profit, for-profit, government, or NGO entities, and include funding to recognize individuals who showcase excellence in scientific research or communication.

    Union Fellows have attained scientific eminence through achievements in research, as demonstrated by a breakthrough or discovery, innovation in science or the development of methods and instruments, or sustained impact.

    Section Awards recognize outstanding work within a scientific field with nearly 30 named lecture presentations and 40 awards and prizes.

Job opportunity: Interview fishermen!

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is seeking to fill a position at Burke Lake Park, 7315 Ox Road, Fairfax Station VA. It is a Creel Clerk job and requires interviewing fishermen. It is a temporary position, hourly wage of $15/hour or maybe a bit more, no benefits.

The job entails 24 hours per week average with heavy weekend commitment. The season is April through September. The schedule is already set, but small adjustments can be made as needed. Retired folks interested in being outside and/or fishing who enjoy interacting with the public are welcome to apply!

Interested persons please contact John Odenkirk at (540) 845-9661.

Ornithology Topics: Avian Biology, Spring Session (The Study of Birds)

National Wildlife Federation
11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Reston, VA 20190
Tuesdays, 24 March – 5 May 2020
7 – 9 pm
Cost: $250 ASNV members, $275 non-members

Join Dr. Chris Haney for a new class, “Ornithology Topics: Avian Biology, Spring Session.” There is no prerequisite for this course and it does not repeat the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia’s fall session of Ornithology but offers all new material.

This course is designed and presented at an introductory, university level in 6 parts, with each classroom session 2 hours long. Ornithology Topics: Avian Biology will feature major underpinnings to ornithology within the fundamental context of U.S. national history. Topics covered in Part 2 of this class will encompass: bird song; avian diet and foraging; mate selection and social behaviors of birds; breeding biology (incubation, chick-rearing, post-natal care); bird populations; and avian conservation and sustainable management. Instructional presentations will include PowerPoint slides, auditory or video supplements, and some in-class participatory exercises. Each night’s classroom lecture will be made available to all participants in PDF format by the following day.

Required textbook: Manual of Ornithology: Avian Structure and Function, 1993, Procter and Lynch, ISBN-10: 0300076193

Optional textbook: Handbook of Bird Biology (Cornell Lab of Ornithology), 3rd edition, 2016, Lovette and Fitzpatrick, ISBN-10: 1118291050

Recommended supplement: The National Geographic Society’s Field Guide to the Birds of America, The Sibley Guide to Birds, or a similar guide for field identification

Register here.

Trees for your loved ones?

Looking for the perfect gift for someone who does not want “things”? Try the gift of trees! With each gift you purchase through the Reforest Fairfax tree gifting program (www.reforestfairfax.com), five (5) native seedlings planted in Fairfax County will be dedicated in honor of your recipient. Your recipient will receive a certificate informing them of the gift, which comes with a unique certificate number that can be used to identify where the trees were planted using our online Tree Map. The trees are planted by Fairfax ReLeaf (www.fairfaxreleaf.org) and proceeds go directly to support education, outreach, and promotional efforts for native plant restoration through the Plant NOVA Natives campaign (www.plantnovanatives.org).