The short- and long-term projections for the renewable energy sector are growth.
Renewable energy is expected to continue to increase in popularity and usage as utilities and regulators look to it as a viable option for replacing retiring capacity and customers choose it to save money and address the climate crisis. This interest is aligned with a recent poll that found 81% of Blacks, 73% of Latinos and 71% of white respondents think “clean” energy jobs can help people in their communities.
So how do we prepare the U.S. workforce for growth in the renewable energy sector? And ensure the process is just and equitable?
This report outlines imperatives for bringing underrepresented groups into climate change work and the clean energy economy, and offers policy and best practice prescriptions for closing diversity gaps in the renewable energy industry and was released via webinar on December 9. Here is the recording.
https://fairfaxmasternaturalists.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Uptown-Chats-e1606606954850.png250500vmnfairfaxhttps://fairfaxmasternaturalists.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/FMN-Logo-300x222-1-300x222.pngvmnfairfax2020-11-28 23:42:532020-12-16 13:49:10Green Jobs Report: Community-Based Solutions for a Diverse Green Jobs Sector, Recording and Report
Throughout November, the Fairfax County Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) team of staff and consultants have been working to prepare for the initial meetings of the CECAP Working Group sector-specific subgroups, taking place in early December. Per the CECAP Process Update shared in late October, the planning model has shifted from an approach based on the involvement of nine district level Focus Groups and one Task Force to an approach involving a single Working Group. The Working Group is composed of members of the former Focus Groups and Task Force, with a few new faces in the mix.
To advance discussion of emission reduction strategies and to allow all Working Group members the opportunity to actively participate and be heard, the Working Group has been split into two sector-specific subgroups. The first group, the Energy Subgroup, will focus on issues of energy efficiency, renewables, energy generation, and supply. The second group, the Transportation/Development Subgroup, will focus on transportation issues, land use, waste, and water. This group will have a more diverse portfolio. To read the full November CECAP update, please click here.
CECAP Working Group December Meetings Announced
All members of the public are invited to attend and observe the initial meetings of the two, new sector-specific CECAP Working Group subgroups, taking place December 1st and 2nd, 2020. These meetings will focus on emission reduction strategies that may help the Fairfax County community meet CECAP goals in the long-term. The meetings will take place online via WebEx. Meeting access information is available at the links below.
The results of the public feedback provided between August 27 and September 13, 2020 via an online survey, three virtual public meetings, and via email to the public CECAP mailbox are now summarized and available online. A narrative summary of the survey results provides a question-by-question rundown of the responses given, and an overview of the public comments provides a window into the thoughts and concerns of the community. The findings of the public engagement process will be reviewed by county staff at the December 1 and December 2 CECAP subgroup meetings (see above).
https://fairfaxmasternaturalists.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/CECAP-logo.png188469vmnfairfaxhttps://fairfaxmasternaturalists.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/FMN-Logo-300x222-1-300x222.pngvmnfairfax2020-11-28 15:09:012020-11-29 20:53:45Fairfax County Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) News
Sunday, December 6, 2020 2 pm Register here. Note: This training is for those interested in volunteering as Ambassadors, not a program for those wanting to learn how to landscape with native plants in their own yards.
Tami Sheiffer, Audubon at Home Coordinator for Fairfax County, will be holding virtual training for new volunteers interested in becoming Audubon at Home Ambassadors in Fairfax County.
Ambassadors are knowledgeable volunteers who expand quality wildlife habitat in Northern Virginia by sharing their knowledge of native plants and ecosystems with homeowners. As an Ambassador, you will conduct site visits, provide personalized advice to homeowners, and certify yards as wildlife sanctuaries. (The personalized recommendations are provided to the homeowner via email after the site visit so you will not be on the spot to provide all recommendations during the site visit.)
We have successfully resumed site visits since July with COVID-19 safety precautions in place. Site visits take place entirely outdoors, one on one or in small groups. Clients and Ambassadors must wear masks and fill out an online form prior to the site visit stating that no one in their families has symptoms. Followup communication with the recommendations is done through email.
Being an Ambassador is rewarding because you’re guiding people to make changes in their yards that noticeably improve wildlife habitat, as evidenced by the presence of sanctuary species. And, volunteering as an Ambassador is convenient because you schedule the site visit for a day and time that fits in your schedule. Clients are assigned based on proximity so you will usually not have to drive more than 15 minutes to a client’s house, and you can accept or decline clients based on your availability.
https://fairfaxmasternaturalists.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/https___cdn.evbuc_.com_images_118080885_224654629853_1_original.jpeg400800Janet Quinnhttps://fairfaxmasternaturalists.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/FMN-Logo-300x222-1-300x222.pngJanet Quinn2020-11-28 00:53:112020-11-28 00:53:12Training for new Audubon at Home Ambassadors, December 6th
Photos and article courtesy of Valeria Espinoza, Volunteer Coordinator
Marilyn Kupetz (right, in feature photo)
Marilyn has volunteered at Riverbend for almost two years now. She serves as an Animal Caretaker and Roving Naturalist. Marilyn plays a key role as part of our Animal Care team. From enrichment to health monitoring, Marilyn helps us make sure the animals are happy and healthy. She is a volunteer who has gone above and beyond her role. She has also volunteered at cleanups and other park events. This year, she committed to assisting with park monitoring as a Roving Naturalist when we could only offer outdoor volunteer opportunities. Now she continues to fulfill both roles every week. Her support this year has made a remarkable difference to our park!
Toni Oliveira (center, in feature photo) Toni is someone who has gone above and beyond to carry our mission to protect and preserve our parks. Toni has volunteered with us for over a year now and has participated in several projects both at Riverbend and Scott’s Run. She has helped with park monitoring, trail maintenance projects, and watershed cleanup events. This year she adopted a spot at Riverbend where she restored a section of the park by removing invasives and seeding native grasses/plants. She has also helped staff with park monitoring at Scott’s Run and has become a key player in our restoration efforts by serving as a Lead Volunteer at our weekend cleanups. Toni’s commitment, positivity, and determination have made a huge difference at both parks!
Tom Blackburn Tom has volunteered at Riverbend for over 5 years! He has supported our interpretive programs, festivals, and park cleanups. This year Tom supported our trail monitoring efforts as a Roving Naturalist and once programs opened up again this fall, he assisted and lead several outdoor, socially-distanced programs. Tom has led several programs such as our Native Americans of Virginia fieldtrip, nature/ecology fieldtrips, and our Halloween Mystery at the Cabin program (a new program this year). Tom made this event very special for trick or treaters by portraying the character of a bootlegger’s ghost! During the shutdown, Tom served as a guest speaker at the Wildlife Explorers camp. He provided insight and knowledge on birds to our campers who truly enjoyed their experience.
Nancy has participated in the wildflower survey for over a year now. Last year, she also partook in the Caterpillars Count! Arthropod Survey. This year, she has continued surveying the park’s wildflowers while supporting our trail monitoring efforts. She has also “adopted” a pollinator garden by the Visitor Center. With her assistance, we plan to re-design this garden to better support Riverbend’s pollinators and educate visitors about native plants & flowers that support them. We are very lucky to have Nancy as part of our volunteer community.
Kris continued to monitor trails and survey the birds of Riverbend despite the cancelation of the birding walks during the pandemic. Thanks to her commitment we were able to stay up to date with trail conditions and continued to receive a snapshot of bird sightings this year.
Due to her regular volunteerism at Riverbend, Robin has been instrumental in bird surveying efforts.
Scott Schroth (left, in feature photo) Scott began volunteering at our parks in the summer of 2018. He has done so much since! From trail projects with boy scouts to invasive removal projects and supporting our festivals, Scott has become one of our most dedicated volunteers. This year, he supported us with the biggest challenge we faced due to the pandemic. An increased amount of trash and litter at Scott’s Run Nature Preserve resulting from increased visitor turnout along with a decrease in staffing. Scott serves as a Lead Volunteer for our cleanups, along with Toni Oliveira. Thanks to their support, we were able to run cleanup events every weekend to keep up with the growing amount of trash.
If you, too, are interested in volunteering at Riverbend, here are the folks to find:
Animal Care Volunteer Program & Nature Education Volunteer Program: Jordan Libera [email protected]
https://fairfaxmasternaturalists.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/IMG_20200725_080333-scaled.jpg19202560Janet Quinnhttps://fairfaxmasternaturalists.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/FMN-Logo-300x222-1-300x222.pngJanet Quinn2020-11-26 02:02:382020-12-20 18:19:15FMN Volunteers Help Riverbend Park Thrive
This talk is intended for community/citizen scientists who help collect data but may not have the knowledge they need to analyze it, for nature journalers who record numbers in their journals but aren’t sure what to do with them, and anyone else who is curious about how scientists use data to understand the world. Managing Director Eleanor Harris, Ph.D., will give a brief introduction to the statistical methods biologists and other scientists use to analyze data. Eleanor will use interesting examples relevant to the ecology of northern Virginia throughout the talk. No mathematics beyond high-school level will be required. By the end of the talk you’ll understand what a p-value is and what it means when they say the phrase “statistically significant” on the news. And she hopes you’ll be inspired to try analyzing some data of your own.
https://fairfaxmasternaturalists.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/unnamed-2.jpg195800Janet Quinnhttps://fairfaxmasternaturalists.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/FMN-Logo-300x222-1-300x222.pngJanet Quinn2020-11-22 02:28:532020-12-08 01:00:21Introduction to Statistics Virtual Program (Presented live December 3rd)
Photo by J. Quinn Article by Jim McGlone, Urban Forest Conservationist, Virginia Department of Forestry
In 2010, the courts determined that the EPA and its partners in the Chesapeake Bay watershed had not made sufficient progress in improving Bay water quality with voluntary measures and ordered the EPA to begin regulatory measures to clean up the Bay. The process the EPA settled on was the Watershed Improvement Plan (WIP) and directed the states in the Bay watershed to develop plans to improve water quality in the Bay and its tributaries.
In 2020, Virginia adopted WIP phase 3 or WIP III. This plan has many elements and practices, but one of the practices that is relevant to home owners is tree planting. The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) has been tasked with counting tree plantings to meet the WIP III goals. This year (October 1 – September 30) the goal for Northern Virginia is 28,500 trees and shrubs.
Needless to say, the VDOF needs your help to count all these plantings, so we made a web app for that. It is called My Tree Counts https://arcg.is/WryDG. On this app you can report your tree and shrub plantings made since October 1, 2020. You can also read about other tree planting projects in Virginia and learn why trees are so good at protecting water quality. We want to count every tree planted this year and for at least the next 4 years, so please report your tree and shrub plantings and ask your friends and neighbors to do so as well, because MY TREE COUNTS!
https://fairfaxmasternaturalists.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/IMG_2272-e1605970543985.jpg6561628Janet Quinnhttps://fairfaxmasternaturalists.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/FMN-Logo-300x222-1-300x222.pngJanet Quinn2020-11-21 15:02:182020-11-21 15:02:19My Tree Counts–Help the VDOF
Join the Virginia Herpetological Society on Facebook Live for presentations by speakers from Virginia as well as internationally-renowed herpetologists. Topics include “Snakes of Costa Rica,” “History of Antivenom in the United States,” and “Virginia Herpetology: 2020 in review.”
https://fairfaxmasternaturalists.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/VHS.png10131280Janet Quinnhttps://fairfaxmasternaturalists.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/FMN-Logo-300x222-1-300x222.pngJanet Quinn2020-11-19 12:11:262020-11-19 12:11:27Virginia Herpetological Society Fall Symposium, November 21st
Join the Virginia Native Plant Society (Potowmack Chapter) for their annual meeting. The speaker at the event will be Dr. Andrea Weeks of George Mason University. She will be discussing her research project, Recovering Native Plant Diversity in the Piedmont, that aims to initiate a long-term floristic study of Gilbert’s Corner in Loudoun County to support ongoing habitat restoration at the site – and to educate the public about the importance of conserving local biodiversity. Dr. Weeks is the recipient of the inaugural Mary Pockman Memorial Research Grant from VNPS.
Dr. Weeks’ research focuses on the systematics, historical biogeography, and evolution of flowering plants, particularly those within the frankincense and myrrh family, Burseraceae. Dr. Weeks is also director of the Ted R. Bradley Herbarium at George Mason University and is engaged in making this valuable resource of information about the Virginia flora available to the public via the internet.
https://fairfaxmasternaturalists.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/image-scaled.jpeg25601920Janet Quinnhttps://fairfaxmasternaturalists.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/FMN-Logo-300x222-1-300x222.pngJanet Quinn2020-11-09 18:07:172020-11-14 13:37:46Recovering Native Plant Diversity in the Piedmont, webinar, November 15th
Hidden Oaks Nature Center (HONC), which is set within Annandale Community Park, has never had assigned maintenance nor natural resource management staff. With the reduction of Area 2 maintenance personnel, Hidden Oaks receives only limited support with trash and snow removal, plus emergency tree-fall cleanup. HONC is nestled within 52 acres of the community park and includes 2 miles of wooded trails. Yet no trail or garden maintenance is provided by the county. Fortunately, Hidden Oaks has Bob Dinse.
In nominating Bob for a 2020 Elly Doyle Park Service Award, park Managers Michael McDonald and Suzanne Holland praised Bob’s work at Hidden Oaks and enumerated many of his volunteer accomplishments. They wrote, “Bob demonstrates the responsible use and protection of natural resources through his conservation efforts. In addition to routine upkeep of existing trails, Bob alleviates erosion and stream bank deterioration, instructs and leads hundreds of seventh graders annually in hands-on trail stewardship activities, creates and enhances gardens, recruits and leads FMN volunteers for onsite projects, donates hundreds of dollars of native ferns and birdseed and, in doing so, effectively serves as a FCPA ambassador.”
Bob has been serving at HONC for approximately 11 years. He previously received an Elly Doyle Park Service award in 2014; and a Presidential Silver Service Award presented by AmeriCorps in large part for his over 350 hours of service and for preparation of Hidden Oak’s 50th anniversary in 2019.
After speaking with Bob it is readily apparent that his real reward is in caring for Hidden Oaks. His primary FMN service hours are at Hidden Oaks but he does contribute at other parks as well. At Hidden Oaks he not only maintains the trails, native plant gardens, and maintains stream crossings he is also the first friendly face most morning visitors see.
I recently met with Bob at HONC and he graciously took time from his day to give me an overview of his park maintenance responsibilities. His weekly plan for taking care of the park starts out at 6:00 in the morning to walk and clear, as required, over 2 miles of trails of fallen trees and hazardous debris to ensure trail user safety. He then executes his maintenance plan that is mercurial at best based on changing priorities. He always breaks around mid-day to meet with park staff and present his boots-on-the-ground report. I find it impressive that Bob is able to apply a variety of learned and innovative skills at the park. He has planted native plant gardens, created signage for trails, was instrumental in building fair-weather crossings on stream trails to repair flood damage, and enhanced the recently added ADA (American Disabilities Act) accessible path with ferns gardens and by repurposing deadfall logs as boundaries for the gardens and trail.
In addition to maintenance activities, Bob takes time to interact in community outreach. At various times, he leads interpretive programs for school groups, helps with Eagle Scout programs, and even collaborates with neighbor parks. For example, he recently cut, painted, and installed sixteen sign posts to expand an Eagle Scout interpretive trail project identifying animal tracks. Over time, he has built several wood duck nesting boxes in or near Holmes Run Stream as it flows into Roundtree Park.
Bob certainly leads and serves by example and should be congratulated for his 2020 Elly Doyle Award. Given his spirit of volunteerism it is not unexpected that for holidays he and his wife regularly lead Sierra Club volunteer mission trips overseas. In establishing the Sierra Club, John Muir wrote that he wanted to, “Explore, enjoy, and render assessable the mountains of the Pacific Coast …”. Please join FMN in thanking Bob for continuing Muir’s mission of conservation as he “renders accessible” the trails and grounds of Hidden Oaks.
Hidden Oaks nature Center is actively looking for immediate and long-term help with nature programs. If you are able to help please contact Kim Young, [email protected]
https://fairfaxmasternaturalists.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/IMG_1736-E-scaled.jpg19202560Jerry Nissleyhttps://fairfaxmasternaturalists.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/FMN-Logo-300x222-1-300x222.pngJerry Nissley2020-11-08 12:48:202020-11-08 15:02:08Rendering Accessibility to Hidden Oaks
Sunday, December 6, 2020 2 pm Webinar $5 per family Register here.
Swanfall, the Friends of Mason Neck State Park‘s annual holiday celebration that traditionally is held at the Jammes House in the Park, will be held online. Erin Thady, a Wildlife Biologist with Fairfax County, will entertain and inform with a presentation about the secretive lives of foxes.
Northern Virginia is home to a diverse assemblage of mammals that cohabit our suburban communities. Foxes are among the mammals that have adapted to an increasingly urbanized landscape and have learned how to successfully coexist alongside humans. Although foxes can be elusive, they are often commonly observed throughout our communities.
Erin will discuss the natural histories of red foxes and gray foxes and their unique adaptations for survival in a dynamic landscape. She will also discuss fox characteristics and identification tips, diet and habitat preferences, population dynamics, and ways that humans successfully coexist with foxes.
https://fairfaxmasternaturalists.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/unnamed-2.jpg8501280Janet Quinnhttps://fairfaxmasternaturalists.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/FMN-Logo-300x222-1-300x222.pngJanet Quinn2020-11-07 23:16:482020-11-25 02:03:26Friends of Mason Neck Swanfall: All About Foxes, December 6th
Here are some interesting links for you! Enjoy your stay :)