Christmas Bird Count Workshop

Photo (c) by Barbara J. Saffir

National Wildlife Federation, Wildlife Center Drive 11100, Reston, Virginia
November 24, 2019
1:00 pm – 03:00 pm

Location:

Join Phil Silas, the Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count compiler, at the National Wildlife Federation to learn about this long-running citizen science bird survey. Phil will cover its purpose and scope, explain how we organize our CBC, and show where the data goes and how it is used. The workshop offers tips on preparing for a winter bird count and will review how to identify many of the birds seen in our area in winter. Workshop is free, but registration is required. 

Botany and Bloom Workshop Series, Nov 23

November 23, 2019

10:00 am – 02:00 pm

Location: Sky Meadows State Park, Edmonds Lane 11012, Delaplane, Virginia

Explore the rich natural diversity of Sky Meadows State Park with this three-part series. Each workshop includes a lecture in the Carriage Barn, followed by a 3-mile field hike for hands-on application. Receive a colored print-out of the lecture. Each workshop is $15/adult, $5/child (12 and under), payable the day of the workshop. Workshop fee includes parking. Bring water and lunch to eat along the trail, dress in layers, and wear sturdy shoes.

Spring Ephemerals – Saturday, April 27, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Summer Blooms – Saturday, July 27, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Winter Tree Identification – Saturday, November 23, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For complete workshop descriptions, and to sign up for the series, go to: www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/sky-meadows

Birding the Blue Ridge, Nov 23

November 23, 2019

8:00 am – 11:00 am

Location: Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, Harpers Ferry Road 11661, Purcellville, Virginia

Join Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship (BRCES) for a walk through parts of this beautiful 900-acre preserve and see what lives in this diverse habitat.  As the leaves fall, it gets easier to see birds on trees. This outing takes place every fourth Saturday of the month except in December. Meet at the Education Center; bring binoculars if you have them. Click here for more information.

BRCES is located just north of Neersville at 11661 Harpers Ferry Road (Route 671); detailed directions at www.blueridgecenter.org.

Join Other Environmental Educators at the 2020 VAEE Conference

The 2020 VAEE Conference has a lot to offer Virginia Master Naturalists!

On Wednesday, Feb. 26 there will be many outdoor workshops and classes such as “Wandering the Winter Woods” or “A Wetland Wander at Sweet Briar.” There are full day workshops such as “Communicating Climate Change” and “Lynchburg’s Urban Water Cycle Tour.’’ Plain old fun can be had in the “Make-n-Take” session in which you can make a Mason bee house, a Bluebird box, a Rain Barrel, or Nature Crafts such as corn husk dolls, vine baskets, cordage or memory keepers.  The Interactive Activity Showcase will give you many new tools for your education toolbox.

On Thursday, Feb. 27 nineteen different concurrent sessions will be offered, the Awards Luncheon, and most importantly the keynote speaker, Dr. J. Drew Lanham, an author, poet, wildlife biologist and Clemson University’s Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology. In 2019 he was awarded the National Audubon Society’s Dan W. Lufkin Prize for Environmental Leadership, recognizing “individuals who have dedicated their entire lives to the environment”.

His research focuses on songbird ecology, as well as the African-American role in natural-resources conservation. A South Carolina native, Lanham is active on a number of conservation boards, including the South Carolina Wildlife Federation, Audubon South Carolina, the Aldo Leopold Foundation, BirdNote, and the American Birding Association, and he is a member of the advisory board for the North American Association of Environmental Education.

On Friday, Feb. 28 there will be 14 more concurrent sessions and a closing session with the keynote speaker, our own Nancy Striniste, author of the new book Nature Play at Home: Creating Outdoor Spaces that Connect Children to the Natural World (Timber Press, 2019). Nancy is founder and principal designer at EarlySpace, is a landscape designer, an educator, and an author.

Registration will open on November 15! You will have many options from full conference registration to only attending one day. Full conference includes all meals for the 2.5 days. https://vaee.wildapricot.org/VAEE2020

If you have further questions contact Page or Bruce.

Restoration of an Extinct Ecosystem: Lessons Learned with Dr. Douglas Gill

The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road
Warrenton, VA, 20187
Friday, December 6
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

For 20 years, the Native Grassland Restoration project on the eastern shore of Maryland has studied the processes of restoring native Mid-Atlantic warm-season grasslands. Come hear Dr. Gill share an overview of his involvement with the project and practical advice from years of experience with grassland restoration. The talk will be valuable to anyone with similar goals on their own land, no matter how small-scale!

Douglas E. Gill, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biology at University of Maryland, College Park where he has worked since 1971. In 2010, Dr. Gill was named Conservationist of the Year by the Maryland Ornithological Society. $10 per person.

 

Christmas Bird Count at Clifton Institute, Dec 15

The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road
Warrenton, VA, 20187
Sunday, December 15, meet at 8:00 AM

Join The Clifton Institute for their annual Christmas Bird Count! Spend the day surveying the birds in a 15-mile-diameter count circle. This is a great way to meet other birders in the area and to see what birds have migrated here for the winter. The count circle includes a nice variety of habitats and we see a diversity of waterfowl and grassland birds. There’s always a chance for Short-eared Owl and American Tree Sparrow! 

Please contact Alison at azak@cliftoninstitute.org if you are interested in participating. She will assign you to a team and each team will decide when and where to meet for the day. We’ll wrap up the count with a compilation potluck dinner at 5:30 at our headquarters. We hope to see you there!

All skill levels welcome. Dress in layers for chilly, wet weather. Rain or shine! 

Photo by Cameron Darnell.

Mindful Naturalists: Trees Are Our Teachers

The Clifton Institute, 6712 Blantyre Road
Warrenton, VA, 20187
Saturday, Nov 16, 2019
3:00pm – 4:30pm

Mindful Naturalists is a free program series created to inspire mindful observation and nature appreciation. Each month we will explore a different topic and experiment with different practices for mindfully experiencing the natural world while enjoying a peaceful afternoon at our beautiful field station.

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth.” –Herman Hesse

In November we will let trees be our teachers. How often do we allow ourselves to get to know an individual tree? What might we learn from trees if we explored them in a more mindful way? This month we will experiment with knowing trees in ways that connect us to individuals, ecosystems, and all of nature. We will begin with a short meditation, explore the forests around the farmhouse, spend some solitary time with a tree, and finally reflect on what we learn as a group.

Please dress for the weather. All materials provided. No mindfulness experience required. All are welcome!

Free, but please register

 

Designing for big storms, big flooding: How can redevelopment help the Richmond Highway corridor?

Thursday, November 21, 2019
7:00-8.30 PM
Sherwood Hall Library
2501 Sherwood Hall Ln.
Alexandria, VA 22306

Host Contact Info: Renee Grebe | renee.grebe@anshome.org

Join us to discuss how we can redesign our landscapes to improve stormwater controls and restore streams in the Richmond Highway Corridor. Are we prepared for bigger downpours? How can redevelopment be tied to better stormwater control and creating wider stream buffers? How can you get involved to drive change?

Panelists:

  • JoAnne Fiebe, Program Manager, Community Revitalization | Fairfax County Department of Planning + Development currently working on the Embark Richmond Highway Urban Design Guidelines
  • Catie Torgerson, Planner IV, Stormwater Planning Division | Fairfax County Department of Public Works & Environmental Services
  • Betsy Martin, President of Friends of Little Hunting Creek

Mount Vernon Environmental Expo: How you can act on climate change, Nov 16

Supervisor Dan Storck invites you to participate in the 2nd Annual Mount Vernon District Environment Expo: How YOU Can Act on Climate Change on Saturday, November 16, 2019, from 8 a.m. – noon at Walt Whitman Middle School. This event will educate and inform local residents on environmental challenges that we face on a daily basis, including ones that are unique to Fairfax County given our proximity to water, transportation challenges and recent intense storms. Attendees will leave the Expo with simple actions you can take to make an impact on climate change. Please share information about this event with your family, friends and neighbors!

Join them for the morning to LEARN, ENGAGE and ACT to save our environment!

Expo Schedule

8 – 11:15 a.m. – Exhibit Hall Open

8 – noon – Electric & Hybrid Car Showcase

9 – 9:30 a.m. – Opening Remarks

9:30 – noon – Film Screening

9:30 – 10:15 a.m. – Concurrent Workshops

11 – 11:45 a.m. – Concurrent Workshops

11:45 – noon – Closing Remarks

Workshop Topics

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, presented by Beck Modini, Pachamama Alliance

Can we reverse global warming and stop climate change?  What would it take?  What can you do to help?  Come to this introduction to the work of Project Drawdown, which gathered data on 100 actions that lower carbon emissions or take carbon out of the air, and then did the math. The result is a science-based global plan to actually reverse global warming by 2050. Come away with a new framework for thinking about climate change and access to tools for action.

Small Choices, Big Impact, presented by Zach Huntington, Clean Fairfax

Simple steps we can all take to minimize our impact on the planet from the importance of eating local, to the products we purchase, and how we won’t be able to recycle our way out of our worldwide litter problem. We’ll also discuss how the daily decisions we make can either mitigate the impacts of or contribute to climate change and what strategies are the most effective in addressing systemic climate challenges.

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint Through Energy Efficiency, presented by Elenor Hodges, EcoAction Arlington

Learn about reducing your carbon footprint whether you live in a single-family house, townhouse, condo or apartment. The presentation will focus on energy and water efficiency in the home, detailing techniques to reduce energy and water use through sealing air leaks, installing energy-efficient lighting, and switching to low-flow water devices in the kitchen and bathroom. We will also discuss the energy use of a variety of household appliances and learn how to measure how much energy each one uses with a kilowatt meter.

Flooding, Storm Surge and Sea Level Rise—Tools for Living with the Water, presented by Molly Mitchell, Virginia Institute of Marine Science

This workshop will take look at the changing flood threats from sea level rise, changing precipitation, and increased development.  We will discuss the tools available to help project storm surge flooding and future sea level rise impacts and discuss how these tools can be used in decision making.

“The 4 R’s” Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, presented by Eric Forbes, Fairfax County Solid Waste Management

“The 4R’s” will cover what we all can do to help reduce our waste footprint as well as the services the Solid Waste Management Program provides for Fairfax County residents.

The Right Tree in the Right Place, presented by Jim McGlone, Fairfax County Urban Forestry

Trees have an important role in reducing the impacts of climate change. Attend this workshop to learn about the native trees that thrive in our region and where best to plant these.

Adding Habitat Value in our Gardens:  Mow less, Grow more!, presented by Joanne Hutton and Tami Scheiffer, Plant NOVA Natives 

Avenues to Better Air Quality, presented by Tom Reynolds, Fairfax County Department of Transportation

Traffic congestion and tailpipe emissions combine to be a major contributor to greenhouse gases in the region. Fairfax County is progressing down several ‘avenues’ to reduce congestion and improve air quality. Learn how individuals can play a part in the County’s efforts to reduce emissions, shift the mode share away from single occupancy vehicles, take advantage of a growing pedestrian/bicycle environment and see how transit is being considered in new developments.

Download and share the flyer

Planning for 2020 City Nature Challenge: Please complete survey

Photo (c) by Barbara J. Saffir

In case it’s not on your radar already, save the dates for April 24-27 for making observations during the City Nature Challenge, then adding identifications until the results are announced on Monday, May 4, 2020.

There are well over 100 cities participating again. To recap how we’ve organized in the DC area, anyone is welcome to participate & organize events and communication within your organization/neighborhood/groups. We’ll have monthly calls to share pertinent information, probably starting in December.

For individuals who are interested in taking a leadership role in organizing across the region (for things like outreach, social media, etc), please fill out this survey if you haven’t already. Stella Tarnay and Carrie Seltzer will be in touch for next steps with last year’s leadership group and anyone who fills out the survey.