Volunteer Days: Invasive species removal, Saturdays in October

Image/photo: Courtesy The Clifton Institute

Please click the date and time links below for more details and sign-up information.

Saturday, October 1, 9 – 12 am

Saturday, October 8, 9 – 12 am

Saturday, October 22, 9 – 12 am

The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road, Warrenton, VA
38.775154, -77.798197

Date and time subject to change dependent on weather. Please check your email for updates on the morning of the event.

The Clifton Institute Bird Walks, Fall 2022

Image/photo: Courtesy The Clifton Institute

Please click the date and time links below for more details.

Saturday, September 24, 7:30-9:30 am

Wednesday, October 12, 8 – 10 am

Saturday, October 22, 8 – 10 am

Wednesday, November 9, 8 – 10 am

The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road, Warrenton, VA
38.775154, -77.798197

Both beginner and experienced birders will enjoy this guided 1-2 mile hike to look for the many species of birds that can be found on the field station. You will explore successional fields, meadows, lake edges, and forest. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars!

Native Plant Sale

Image/photo: Courtesy of The Clifton Institute

Saturday, September 24, 2022
11:00 pm – 2:00 pm

The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road, Warrenton, VA
38.775154, -77.798197

Click here for more information.

Native plants provide better food for insects, which in turn provide food for birds. You can make a huge difference for wildlife by planting native species on your property. At the plant sale we will sell seedlings grown from these seeds of a variety of perennial wildflowers, native grasses, and a few trees. Some of our favorites include butterflyweed, upland ironweed, scaly blazing star, narrow-leaf mountain-mint, and gray goldenrod.

The Clifton Institute hopes to see you there!

Spotted Lanternfly Watch Underway in Fairfax County

Photo: Spotted Lanternfly, Stephen Ausmus, USDA

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va – While there are still no sightings of the spotted lanternfly in Fairfax County, it is getting closer, and experts are on the lookout for it. This summer the invasive pest was found in nearby Loudoun County. To reduce the spread of this destructive insect the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service has expanded the spotted lanternfly quarantine to include an additional 18 counties and cities.

Fairfax County Forest Pest Management also is asking County residents to help slow the spread of this invasive pest by being vigilant about not moving spotted lanternfly life stages when traveling through known infested areas. The spotted lanternfly is known as a ‘hitchiker’ since it is often found near railroads and inside shipments of items such as produce.

The insect feasts on more than 70 plant species, though its preferred host is the tree-of-heaven. In the Commonwealth the peach, apple, grape, and wine industries are most threatened.

Adults begin laying eggs in September and through the first few hard frosts. The egg masses are covered in a light gray colored wax that looks like mud when it dries.

Spotted lanternfly identification information with links to the quarantine area can be found on the Fairfax County web site Spotted Lanternfly. Please keep an eye out for spotted lanternfly in Fairfax County and report sightings to ReportSLF@fairfaxcounty.gov or to 703-324-5304. The popular mobile app, iNaturalist, is an effective and efficient method for reporting a SLF sighting.

Bats: Superheroes of the Night, October 26

Photo: Rick Reynolds on dwr.virginia.gov

Wednesday, October 26, 2022
Click here to register.

Learn from Deborah Klein, Board Member, Bat Conservation and Rescue of Virginia, how bats fly with their hands, find tiny insects in complete darkness, are responsible for humans having many of the foods and drinks we love, and much more!! Click here to register for this online only meeting via Zoom. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. This meeting is cosponsored by the Friends of Dyke Marsh and the Friends of Huntley Meadows Park.

Virtual Green Breakfast – Fairfax County Joint Environmental Task Force, September 10

Photo: Vardan Papikyan on Unsplash

Saturday, September 10, 2022
9:00 am
This event is FREE, please click here for registration information.
This a Virtual Event

Green Breakfast – Fairfax County Joint Environmental Task Force

Dan Storck, Mount Vernon District Supervisor

Elaine Tholen, School Board Member – Dranesville

Karl Frisch, School Board Member – Providence

The Joint Environmental Task Force (JET) works to join the political and administrative capabilities of the County and the school system to proactively address climate change and environmental sustainability. Join Supervisor Dan Storck and School Board members Karl Frisch and Elaine Tholen to hear the latest on these efforts. JET includes community partners from higher education, industry, community and student advocacy groups working with County and school system leaders to recommend aggressive goals in areas of County and school operations. Goal areas include: energy, waste management, workforce development and transportation. This presentation will focus on the development and implementation of the Joint Environmental Task Force between the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the School Board. Future plans, lessons learned, and the current status as of September 2022 will be highlighted.

Registration is required for this event 

If you have questions, please email conservationdistrict@fairfaxcounty.gov

Stream Monitoring: Citizen Science & Training Opportunities – August and September

Photo by J. Quinn

Below is a list of Stream Monitoring Citizen Science, Workshops, and other monitoring opportunities in the area for August and September.


*NVSWCD Workshop*
Difficult Run Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Sunday, August 21, 10:00am-12:30pm
Where: Difficult Run Stream Valley Park, Great Falls

This quiet site is known for numerous macros and a relatively high stream score. In spring we found a high number of midges – will we find the same this visit? Space is limited, please register for the workshop here.

*NVSWCD Workshop*
Horsepen Run Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Saturday, August 27, 9:00-11:30am
Where: Horsepen Run Stream Valley Park, Herndon

This stream site parallels the park trail and is a favorite with local runners, bikers, and dog walkers! This site scored higher in the spring monitoring than it had in past years – join us to see if this positive trend continues! Space is limited, please register for the workshop here.

Creek Critters Count and Catch Program

When: Sunday, August 28, 1:00pm
Where: Chapman DeMary Trail, Purcellville

Join the Purcellville Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Purcellville Tree and Environment Sustainability Committee and Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy to get up close and personal with the creek critters living in the South Fork of the Catoctin Creek at the Chapman DeMary Trail. Loudoun Wildlife Stream Team members will discuss the natural history of these critters, help participants learn how to identify them, and explain how they can help us determine the health of a stream. Registration required through Purcellville Parks and Recreation website. Learn more here.

Friends of Accotink Creek Biological Stream Monitoring

When: Saturday, September 10, 9:30-11:30am
Where: Lake Accotink Park, Springfield

Volunteers assess ecological conditions in the stream, based on the presence and abundance of bottom-dwelling invertebrates. Meet at the parking lot behind Lake Accotink Park Administrative building. RSVP.

*NVSWCD Workshop*
Wolftrap Creek Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Saturday, September 10, 1:00-3:30pm
Where: Wildwood Park, Vienna

This site was recently made available for adoption after it’s monitor moved away for college. Come see how sites are monitored and how you can join our volunteer team! Space is limited, please register for the workshop here.

*NVSWCD Workshop*
Cub Run Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Sunday, September 25, 9:00-11:30am
Where: Cub Run Stream Valley Park, Centreville

This stream site had great stream health scores in the spring – come see if the trend continues! As a bonus treat, this site often has delicious pawpaws ripening this time of year… Space is limited, please register for the workshop here.

More Training and Stream Monitoring Opportunities

The Northern Virginia Water and Soil Conservation District (NVSWCD) is very excited to contribute their stream data to state and national datasets. If you’d like to see data from all the NVSWCD regional stream monitoring team’s active sites, you can find our organization on the Clean Water Hub. Keep in touch with NVSWCD on our Facebook and Instagram.


Help Celebrate 50 Years of Coastal Zone Management

Image Courtesy of the VMN Partner: Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

Help Celebrate 50 Years of Coastal Zone Management
–By Virginia Witmer, Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

The diversity of our ocean and coasts is as great as its people. They provide places to live, work, and play, drive our nation’s economy, and support a wealth of biodiversity. They are an integral part of our national heritage and character.
In Virginia, our coast encompasses thousands of miles of beautiful shoreline and coastal habitats in all of the cities, counties and towns that touch on tidal waters. It includes the waters of tidal rivers, the Chesapeake Bay, Back Bay and out to the 200 nautical mile boundary in the Atlantic Ocean.

50 years ago, Congress passed banner legislation designed to protect our nation’s ocean and coasts. The 1972 National Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) shaped our past 50 years and will continue to shape the future.

The versatility of the CZMA, administered by NOAA, provides for the management of the nation’s coastal resources. It outlines the National Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program to balance competing land and water issues through state coastal management programs, such as the Virginia Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program.

The Virginia CZM Program, established in 1986, is a network of state agencies and local governments led by DEQ that administer the enforceable laws and regulations that protect our air and water quality and coastal habitats.  Read more about the coastal resiliency, restoration and conservation efforts of the Virginia CZM Program being funded through the CZMA.  Visit https://www.deq.virginia.gov/coasts.

This federal and state partnership approach works.

But it also needs you.  Please help raise awareness about all that our ocean and coasts do for us.  Share the 50 ways (and more!) Virginians can show their love for our ocean and coast. There are many actions, big and small, from which to choose when at home and work, out and about, volunteering, in the garden, on vacation, at play, and in school and volunteering!

More Resources
50 ways to love your Ocean and Coasts video
50 ways to love your ocean and coasts webpage
50 years of ocean and coast legislation webpage
50 years of accomplishments and successes administering ocean and coastal conservation policy webpage
Prevent Balloon Litter Campaign
Plant Virginia Natives Initiative

Late Summer Wildflower Walk, September 10th

Photo: Courtesy of The Clifton Institute

Saturday, September 10, 2022
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road, Warrenton, VA
38.775154, -77.798197


Come and see the fields at their best! The fields called Lower and Upper Woodcock are unplanted and naturally dominated by native plants. Participants will look for Gray Goldenrod, Slender Lespedeza, Green Milkweed, Field Thistle, Upland Ironweed, Elliott’s Bluestem and Little Bluestem in the drier areas, and Great Blue Lobelia, New York Ironweed, and Indiangrass in the moister areas. Executive Director Bert Harris will lead this walk through one of the most interesting habitats and teach participants about Piedmont prairies and how to identify grassland plants.


Creatures of the Night, September 10th

Image courtesy of The Clifton Institute

Saturday, September 10, 2022
7:30 pm – 9:00 pm


The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road, Warrenton, VA
38.775154, -77.798197


Join Clifton Institute Executive Director Bert Harris to look and listen for creatures of the night! Participants will start by listening to the evening chorus of cicadas and birds. A gentle walk through fields and woods is also planned to look for nocturnal animals. Late summer is an ideal time to observe several species of katydids and crickets. Participants will also look for beavers, reptiles and amphibians, and other animals. Back at the farmhouse, it will be interesting to see what kinds of moths and beetles are attracted by black lights.