Join Plant NOVA Natives for its Grand Partnership meeting, February 26

Plant NOVA Natives’ third annual “Grand Partnership” meeting will take place on Tuesday, February 26, 9:30 am to 1 pm, at 3040 Williams Drive, Suite 200, Fairfax. All are welcome!

Does your organization (public, private, or non-profit; large or small) have a concern for the local environment? Please send a representative(s) as we collaborate on plans for our collective action movement in 2019. 

The agenda will be finalized later, but we plan to discuss outreach to homeowner’s associations, landscapers, and government land managers. We will leave plenty of time at the end for networking.

RSVP to Margaret Fisher

We also welcome all to our Steering Committee meetings. The next one is scheduled for Tuesday, January 22, 10 am to noon (same location).

A Preview of Upcoming Virginia Tree Events

SAVE THE DATES – February to April, 2019

Tree Farm Dinner

February 21 – King & Queen County, VA

“One-stop shop” for woodland owners wanting to better manage their land and citizen scientists desiring to expand their applied knowledge base! 

Details and registration  

Landowner’s Woods & Wildlife Conference(s)

February 23 – Culpeper, VA (15th annual)

February 23 – Roanoke, VA (new)

This popular event is different every year with diverse topics and speakers throughout the day for you to choose from.  Geared toward woodland owners, and great for citizen scientists desiring to expand their applied knowledge base! 

Details and registration

On-line Woodland Options for Landowners

March 4 – May 24 – from anywhere you can “connect”

Self-paced, with “coach/mentor” interactions.

More information and registration

Free Seminar:  A Primer on Pruning

March 27 – Fredericksburg, VA

Hosted by the Master Gardener Association of the Central Rappahannock Area

Central Rappahannock Regional Library, Main Branch (1201 Caroline Street,  Fredericksburg, 22401). Free and open to public. 

More information:

Virginia Forestry Summit

April 30 – May 3  – Norfolk, VA

For Forestry professionals and Forest landowners organized by VFASAF (Virginia Division) and ACF(Virginia Division)

Details and registration forthcoming  

Lead 2019 City Nature Challenge for FMN

Excited about Citizen Science and using iNaturalist to record your observations? 

You can lead FMN’s participation in the 2019 City Nature Challenge!       

What’s involved?  You decide.  Here are some suggestions.  

  • Join the monthly City Nature Challenge coordination phone calls:
WhenWed Jan 23, 2019 2pm – 3pm Eastern Time – New York
Where605-472-5436, access code 908439#
  • Set up opportunities for FMN to participate
    • Chapter hike on using iNaturalist to take good pics for ID (The Nature Conservancy will lead)
    • Public info programs on City Nature Challenge & using iNaturalist (Fairfax libraries will sponsor)
    • Observation events on City Nature Challenge weekend (Fairfax County parks will sponsor)
    • Identification parties post CNC weekend (Fairfax libraries will sponsor)
    • Join with ARMN-sponsored events   
  • Earn service hours working from home
  • Recruit FMNs to help as needed

Sound like fun?  Contact Marilyn Schroeder:

EmpowerU! Advocating Invasive Species Management Training

Learn how to work with decision makers, influence management decisions, and stop the spread of invasive species!


Have you been working on invasive species issues but feel compelled to do more? Taking part in the EmpowerU Advocacy Training Program will move your invasive species work to the next level! 

The program includes a series of online, self-paced modules, followed by an in-person workshop. Both parts are mandatory. Topics such as who makes decisions about invasive species, persuasion, framing, and finding reliable information about invasives are introduced and then incorporated into your personalized engagement plan via assignments within the online learning modules. At the in-person workshop, you’ll practice the skills you learned and get feedback on your engagement plan.


This program is open to natural resource volunteers and forest landowners with an interest in developing skills to engage decision-makers in invasive species management.


Participants should allow about two hours a week for four weeks to complete the online course before attending the in-person workshop. During registration, you’ll select which in-person workshop you plan to attend, and the online course will be open to you one month prior to that workshop. Both the online and in-person components are required.

In-person workshop dates and locations:

  • Friday, February 15, Farmville, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Saturday, February 16, Blacksburg, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Friday, March 8, Providence Forge, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Saturday, March 9, Madison, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm


The course fee is $25 and includes lunch. 

Wait, I Thought Virginia Master Naturalist Volunteers Couldn’t Engage in Advocacy?

Not all engagement with decision-makers is political advocacy!  For example, you and other members of your chapter might adopt a local park and engage in discussions with the park manager in order to advocate for more management of invasive plants in the park.  This sort of engagement is not political advocacy and could legitimately be part of a VMN project.  This training is not focused specifically on lobbying elected officials or getting legislation passed, but rather on effectively engaging the right decision-maker for the change you hope to make. Plus, you might want to use the skills you learn outside of your VMN service!

Registration Info

Before you register, please visit and read all the information so that you can understand the expectations and requirements of the program. If you decide it’s for you, you’ll find the registration information there.


Registration at least one month prior to the in-person workshop is preferred so that you have the full amount of time to complete the online modules.  Registration will close two weeks prior to the in-person workshop.

SPACE IS LIMITED. We will maintain a waitlist as well.

QUESTIONS: please email

How Plants Move: A Talk by Charles Smith

Thursday, January 10, 2019

7:30 – 9:00 pm

Green Spring Gardens

4603 Green Spring Road

Alexandria, VA 22312

VNPS programs are free and open to the public.

No reservations are necessary for lectures

Please join us for a talk by Charles Smith, to kick off our lecture series again this year.  Charles explores the ways plants disperse across land and water and discusses reproductive strategies, niche exploitation, plant community composition and what the future may look like considering the fragmented condition of our landscape and climate change.

Charles is a native of Arlington, VA, and a naturalist and ecologist with 25 years of experience working primarily in natural resource management, including the Fairfax County Park Authority and five years with Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.   He is currently branch chief of Fairfax County Stormwater Planning Division, focusing on stream and natural area restoration.  Charles is a US Army veteran; board member of Virginia Native Plant Society, Prince William Wildflower Society and Prince William Conservation Alliance; and member of Friends of the Potomac River Refuges.  He is a popular VNPS speaker and has served as an instructor for three chapters of the Virginia Master Naturalists.

Nearby Nature Showcase, January 25th

Reston Art Gallery & Studios
Lake Anne Village Center
11400 Washington Plaza W # B, Reston, VA 20190
Friday, 25 January 2019
7pm (awards and recognitions at 7:30 pm)

The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust is hosting their first-ever art gallery showcase of winners from the 2018 photo contest. After the art show, a social gathering will take place at the neighboring Lake Anne Brew House. Join them in celebrating the beauty of Northern Virginia and mingle with other photographers, our contest judges and NVCT staff! RSVP to Emily at or call 703-354-5093.

If you’d like to see their winning photos from this year, visit their website. To view the full gallery of photo submissions, click here.

Virginia Forest Health Conference

Each year the Virginia Association of Forest Health Professionals (VAFHP) holds a conference for professionals and other interested community members who want to learn more about forest health and ecology of the Mid-Atlantic. The 2019 Conference will be held in Blacksburg, VA January 28-29.

Attendees include local, state and federal officials, independent contractors, consultants, horticulture and forest industry representatives and students. We encourage anyone interested in the ecology of the Mid-Atlantic to participate. VAFHP is committed to developing and providing education and training for natural resource professionals. 

This year they will be offering a scholarship which will provide free registration to the conference. Note that the deadline to apply is December 31.  The application for this is available on the VAFHP website.

Agenda and registration 

VNPS Annual Winter Solstice Field Trip, 23 December

Chapman State Park, MD (driving directions and more information here)

Sunday, 23 December 2018

10 am – 4 pm

Please join the Virginia Native Plant Society for this annual winter tradition to celebrate the beginning of the winter season at Chapman Forest (Chapman State Park, MD) with its spectacular scenery and remarkable diversity of native plants, wildlife, and natural communities! Leaders will be Rod Simmons, Bonnie Bick, Mary Farrah, and Robin Firth.

This year they will visit the old-age forest section from the low river terrace and extensive Water-willow Shrublands along the Potomac River to the marl cliffs and ravines near Glymont. This section of the park is a fascinating and regionally unique meeting ground for plants with a primary range in the inner Piedmont and mountains and those of the Coastal Plain. Before participating, be sure to read Rod’s description of the old-age forest at Chapman.

The Winter Solstice Field Trip is free and open to non-members. Registration is not required.  For additional information, contact Anne DeNovo at

Central Loudoun Christmas Bird Count, December 28th

Photo by Barbara J. Saffir (c)

Friday, 28 December 2018

Loudoun County, VA

Join Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy as they participate in National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count. Begun in 1899, these surveys are held all over North America, with the results used to better understand bird populations and dynamics. This count circle has a 15-mile diameter and covers 177 square miles of Loudoun’s countryside: north to Waterford, south to Aldie, east to Ashburn, and west to Purcellville. Everyone is welcome; amateurs are teamed with experienced birders. If you are interested in participating for just a couple hours or the entire day,  sign up here or contact Joe Coleman.

Shenandoah Valley Plant Symposium, March 15th

Best Western Inn & Conference Center
109 Apple Tree Lane, Waynesboro VA 22980
Friday, 15 March 2019
8 am – 4:15 pm

Regular Registration- $90 per person

Early Registration (before 7 January) – $80 per person; Late Registration (after 24 February) – $100 per person

Space is limited this year so register early!

Join Waynesboro Parks and Recreation as they present A Gardener’s Palette. They’ll dip your brush in a variety of topics offering something for everyone from garden hobbyist to experienced landscape architect. In the end, you’ll have a canvas filled with colors and perspectives to consider and put in practice.  Topics include Ironclad and Essential Native Trees and Shrubs, The Foodscape Revolution (planting edibles), Hanging Out with Shady Characters, and Plants of the Bible.

Register or learn more by planting yourself here.