Volunteer for children’s program at Hidden Oaks, 8 Sept

Hidden Oaks Nature Center needs a naturalist to assist with a program for children and their parents on Saturday, September 8, 6:30-8:15 pm.  Program includes hearing animal bedtime stories, meeting live animals, and wishing goodnight to the center’s live animals.  

To volunteer or for more information, contact:  Suzanne Holland, suzanne.holland@fairfaxcounty.gov or 703-941-1065.

(If you’re recording your service hours, use E110: FCPA Nature Programs. Include the number of attendees in the Contacts field.(

Late summer wildflower walk at Clifton Institute, 1 September

Asters and agrimony, louseworts and lobelias! Join Clifton Institute Board member Jocelyn Sladen for a delightful walk in search of late season wildflowers in the warm season grass fields and pond edges of Clifton Farm. Waterproof hiking shoes, hats, binoculars, cameras, water bottles, and insect repellent are recommended. RSVP required. Please register here https://cliftoninstitute.org/evrplus_registration/?action=evrplusegister&event_id=43  or by emailing sgarvin@cliftoninstitute.org.

Saturday, 1 September, 10:00am to 12:00pm. Date and time subject to change based on weather.

The walk will be held at the Clifton Institute. The address is 6712 Blantyre Road, Warrenton, VA 20187. From points north (I-66 at Marshall) take US 17 going south for about 7.5 miles and turn left on Blantyre Rd. From the south (Warrenton) take US 17 going north, go 2 miles north of the 17 bypass and turn right on Blantyre Rd. Once you turn on Blantyre, go 1.2 miles to 6712 Blantyre Rd. and turn left into one of our two driveways. The second driveway has a Clifton Institute road sign. Follow the driveway all the way to the pink house (the driveways connect before reach.

Raising monarchs, National Wildlife Federation, 22 September

Monarchs and their amazing migration to Mexico are in peril for many reasons. In this informative session, learn about the monarch life cycle, migration, cycle, how you can attract them to your home garden or favorite public space, and how to raise them to send them on their fall journey. Resources for milkweed and garden design come with the program.

Instructor Georgina Chin is an elementary school teacher with a passion for monarchs and an instructor with Monarch Teacher Network.

National Wildlife Federation

11100 Wildlife Center Drive Reston, VA, 20190

22 September 2018

1:00-3:00 PM

Cost: Audubon Society of Northern Virginia members: $18; Non-members $22

Counts for continuing education credits for FMN members

Green Spring Garden Talk: Planting Trees and Shrubs

In this program at Green Spring Gardens, learn how to select trees and shrubs that thrive in Northern Virginia, and how to handle bareroot, balled, wrapped, and container plants. Receive helpful guidance from Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners on planting, feeding and caring for new trees and shrubs.

4603 Green Spring Rd, Alexandria, VA 22312

28 September 2018

Cost: $10 per person

Register online

For more information, call 703-642-5173

Counts for continuing education credit for FMN members

 

Try your hand at the Smithsonian’s Conservation Discovery Day, 6 October

This one is an awesome twofer: attend to learn (as a high school or college student or as family member, friend, teacher, neighbor…) and get continuing ed credit (Smithsonian Conservation Discover Day). Attend as a volunteer, and get service hours (C-200).

If you want to attend as a learner

Conservation Discovery Day at the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, includes hands-on activities, research demonstrations, and career panel discussions with conservation biologists, field ecologists, research scientists, veterinarians and animal keepers.

It’s the one day of the year this facility is open to the public, so don’t miss your chance to learn how you can join the conservation ranks and make a difference for wildlife and habitats worldwide!

Purchase a pass for these activities on Saturday, 6 October, 9:00 am-4:00 pm

If you’re willing to volunteer be part of the team delivering a fantastic visitor experience

Lend a hand to SCBI scientists, veterinarians, animal keepers, and researchers as they run their exhibits; or help facilitate hands-on themed games and activities; or  help engage visitors and raise awareness of SCBI’s vital conservation work. Your skills are quite welcome at Conservation Discovery Day. The day runs offers two shifts: 8:30 am-12:30 p.m. and 12:30-4:30 p.m. You can sign up for one or both.

If you are interested in volunteering , please complete the on-line application, https://nationalzoo.vsyslive.com/pages/app:CDD2018 or if you have any questions, please contact Nick Davis, Volunteer Program Specialist, 540-635-0495 or davisnic@si.edu

 

Here are the activities of the day

Big Killers Come in Small Packages

Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) is a leading cause of death in young Asian elephants. The EEHV Lab at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo runs EEHV diagnostics for U.S. zoos and helps develop EEHV testing labs in other countries.

  • Learn about molecular diagnostics of EEHV and check out some elephant poop, teeth and tails
  • Hear how EEHV affects elephant conservation efforts
  • “Diagnose” EEHV in your own elephant

Bird Banding

Experience one of the main methods that Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center scientists use to study birds: bird banding!

  • Learn first-hand how scientists attach bands and what information banding provides
  • Observe wild birds up close
  • Discover how humans influence ecosystems in ways that help and hurt bird populations

Caught on Camera: Wildlife Monitoring Booth

Discover how SCBI researchers use camera traps to monitor wildlife around the world and to address important conservation-related questions.

  • Learn about the exciting camera-trapping projects SCBI scientists are conducting around the world
  • Receive tips and hints for identifying species in camera trap images
  • Participate in eMammal photo identification through Zooniverse, an online resource where anyone can be a researcher

Cheetah Conservation

SCBI scientists study cheetahs living in managed collections in human care to better understand cheetah biology.

  • Find out how much scientists can learn from cheetah poop! They use it to study all types of biology, including reproductive hormones, pregnancy and gut health.
  • Cheetah matchmaking — discover what goes into creating the perfect cheetah breeding pair.

The Doctor Is In: Veterinarians and Conservation Health

Meet the veterinary staff who are committed to saving species at SCBI and beyond!

  • Learn how veterinarians at SCBI care for more than 20 different species.
  • Go behind the scenes at the vet hospital to see where and how SCBI veterinarians and vet technicians help animals.

Dynamite DNA: What Animals’ Genomes Tell Us

For more than 20 years, the Smithsonian’s Center for Conservation Genomics has helped elusive and endangered species like tigers, Asian and African elephants, San Joaquin kit foxes and maned wolves by studying their genomes.

  • Learn how an animal’s genomes can help scientists identify appropriate conservation methods, while providing data on an animal’s sex, mating patterns and relationships.
  • Get the chance to “perform” a DNA extraction and test.
  • Participate in interactive demos and discussions with scientists.

Please note: This is a timed tour with limited space. Registration at the information desk on the day of the event is required. Space is limited and is first come, first served.

Freezing for the Future: Smithsonian Frozen Collections

Scientists working with the Smithsonian’s cryo-collections have the COOLest job!

  • Find out what cryopreservation is and how it’s saving species.
  • Participate in games and interact with scientists to learn what and why these scientists freeze and how they reanimate living cells.

GIS Lab: Wildlife Tracking & Forest Mapping

SCBI researchers and scientists use geographic information systems (GIS) mapping to monitor animal movement and quantitatively map habitat using satellite technology.

  • Try your hand at a computer-based exercise of forest mapping using satellite images.
  • Borrow one of the lab’s GPS devices to go on a scavenger hunt in the field.

Global Canid Conservation

SCBI scientists and researchers use multidisciplinary approach ranging from reproductive technologies to field conservation to solve conservation issues of threatened and endangered canids around the world.

  • Discover the world of canids. How many are wild canids? Where are they? Why are maned wolves so unique?
  • Learn how to grow eggs in the lab and how an animal’s gut microbial community can impact overall health.
  • Explore SCBI’s tracking techniques for dholes in Thailand.

Kiwi Conservation

Brown kiwi, flightless nocturnal birds, are native to New Zealand and are endangered due to nonnative predators introduced by humans. In 1975, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo became the first organization to hatch a brown kiwi outside of New Zealand. SCBI has hatched six kiwi eggs since 2012.

  • See life-size models of kiwi adults and chicks, as well as a kiwi skeleton with an egg.
  • Watch videos of various kiwi research, kiwi in the wild and kiwi hatching.

Life in the Forest

Did you know that the Smithsonian leads a global forest monitoring network, is the leader in camera-trap monitoring wildlife and is part of the National Ecological Observatory Network? Learn how SCBI and NEON scientists measure trees, study animals and assess the health of forests and freshwater ecosystems in Virginia and around the world.

  • Visit SCBI’s forest plot to learn about forest research here and around the world.
  • See how wildlife cameras work.
  • Learn how NEON measures stream biodiversity.

Please Note: This is a timed tour with limited space. Registration at the information desk on the day of the event will be required. Space is limited and is first come, first served. This tour is only accessible by shuttle and involves walking through a forest with uneven terrain in thick vegetation. Closed-toed shoes are required for this tour; tennis shoes or hiking shoes are recommended.

One Health: Humans and Wildlife

The Global Health Program employs wildlife veterinarians, pathologists, biologists, researchers and technicians to address wildlife health concerns, investigate diseases that can infect both humans and animals, and conduct international training programs. GHP has projects around the world and is dedicated to global wildlife health and conservation.

  • Field Scientist #Selfie Booth: Dress as a field scientist and snap a selfie! Pose with an array of props, including headlamps, traps, protective equipment and gear, nets and (pretend) bat patients.
  • Tools of the Trade: See some of the equipment used by wildlife and research veterinarians, including field anesthesia, darting equipment, diagnostics and more. Meet real field veterinarians and learn about their international projects and what it takes to be a wildlife veterinarian.
  • Suit Up! PPE Race: When working with infectious organisms, it pays to keep yourself safe! See the gear that scientists in the field use to protect themselves from pathogens like bacteria and viruses. Race your friends to see who can suit up the quickest!
  • Pole-darting Practice: Discover how research veterinarians immobilize wild patients, and practice your aim!
  • What’s Your Diagnosis? Learn about some of the most pressing infectious diseases affecting wildlife species around the globe. Answer questions correctly to earn some prizes!

Remount History: Photos and Artifacts

How did Remount Road get its name? Where is the recognized birthplace of America’s K-9 Corps? Discover the inspirational and unique 100-year history of the land that is now home to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.

  • Hear fascinating stories about this Front Royal property from the early 1900s through the Cold War.
  • View rare period photographs and historical artifacts.

Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation: Help Save the Planet!

The Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation offers interdisciplinary programs in conservation biology for undergraduate and graduate students and professionals.

  • Learn how SMSC students play an active role in sustaining biodiversity and promoting conservation.
  • Learn about and participate in radio telemetry practice, insect specimen prep, native bee habitat construction and a GPS/orienteering scavenger hunt.

Please note: These are timed presentations with limited space. Registration at the information desk is required. Space is limited and is first come, first served. Each presentation lasts 30-45 minutes and university representatives will be answering questions between sessions.

Wildlife Endocrinology: Unlocking Animal Hormones

The Endocrinology Research Laboratory at SCBI is the oldest and largest wildlife endocrinology lab in the world.

  • Learn about endocrinology and how it can be a useful tool in wildlife conservation.
  • Discover how scientists study hormones of different species to help evaluate the health and breeding window of an animal.

Directions to SCBI

Join the Fairfax Master Naturalist chapter workday at Hidden Oaks, September 8!

Hidden Oaks graciously allows Fairfax Master Naturalists to host chapter meetings in their nature center at no cost. Each season, the chapter expresses its appreciation by sponsoring an FMN Chapter Work Day.

Join FMN members as they manage invasives, maintain trails by spreading wood chips, and plant natives in the wildflower garden.

Coffee, juice, and bagels served. Please park at the Packard Center lot. Participants will be meeting at the Native Wildflower Garden. Eligible for service hours (S109).

Saturday, 8 September, 9.00AM-Noon

Questions? Email Bob Dinse or call 201 738-4560

Participate in the 2018 International Coastal Cleanup

The International Coastal Cleanup began more than 30 years ago, when communities rallied together with the common goal of collecting and documenting the trash littering their coastline.   The Friends of Accotink Creek (FACC) will be working to clean up Fairfax County’s waterways as part of this effort.

How can you help? – Join them at one, two, or as many cleanups as you like.

Have friends? – Invite them to join. Spread the word. Your civic association, club, school, business, etc. is welcome to join or share the news in newsletters or websites!

Are you a leader? – Take charge of one or more of the cleanup sites, by registering and directing volunteers.  FACC provide supplies for the day of the cleanup, including trash bags, gloves, and sign-in sheets.

Learn more, see the schedule and register here.

Credible climate action plans: How you can help make them a reality

Bill Hafker

Climate change, and the impacts that it can, is, and will likely have on almost every aspect of our lives, and the lives of all other living things, is the most all-encompassing environmental challenge humankind has faced.  As Master Naturalists we well know its implications for our natural world–the oceans, plants, animals, forests, water supplies, weather, etc.  As informed global citizens, we also know the economic and social implications climate change has for our infrastructure, coastal cities, agricultural output, fires, droughts, and even migrations of people.

As the world struggles to find the way and the will to identify and take the steps needed to try to keep temperature rise from exceeding 2 degrees Celsius, as agreed to in the Paris Climate Agreement, what can we as Master Naturalists do to help to increase the likelihood of success of efforts to address climate change?  With our knowledge of the severity of the issue, and the criticality of ensuring that efforts taken to address it are done in a rigorous, and sound scientific and economic manner, and are properly documented and shared with the public, we can help ensure that climate plans, regardless of who prepares them, are credible documents that are likely to achieve what they purport to do.

Whether we are part of helping develop a climate plan for an organization we belong to (e.g., a faith community or homeowners association), submitting comments solicited in the preparation of county or state energy, environmental, or climate plans, or responding to plans offered by others (e.g., companies, municipalities), we can provide input that helps ensure that the plan actually stands a chance of doing what it claims to.  Just this past July, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted the Fairfax County Operational Energy Strategy which is “intended to further the objectives of the Board’s Environmental Vision”.  Prior to that adoption, a draft of that Strategy was available for comment.  The State of Virginia is in the midst of taking input on the 2018 Virginia Energy Plan (comment period closes 8/24) because “The Plan is intended to provide a strategic vision for the energy policy of the Commonwealth over the next 10 years”.

These are just two very significant opportunities for Master Naturalists to review and evaluate what is being proposed and offer comments in support of what they find good in the draft plans, and suggestions for how they should, or even in some cases must, be improved if they are to actually deliver climate risk reduction.

I recently presented a paper at the Air & Waste Management Association Annual Conference:  “A Framework for Credible 2 Degree Celsius Climate Planning”.  For those interested in preparing a credible climate plan that will pass muster with those who would challenge its completeness, or who seek a yardstick against which to evaluate strong points and shortcomings of climate plans they wish to review and comment on, this paper offers  a checklist of 11 elements that are needed in a credible climate plan.  The 11 elements of the planning framework are described, and their relationship to each other is presented in a flow diagram, allowing users to compare plans they are helping to develop, or ones they are assessing, for completeness.  The flow diagram also shows how the elements interact with each other, and over time, to deliver results.  With 36 years as an environmental engineer with ExxonMobil, I used  the petroleum industry as the source of examples of how such planning can be effectively done; however, the framework presented is equally applicable to any climate planning activity.

Bill Hafker is a graduate of the Spring 2017 Fairfax Master Naturalist class.

Want to review a resource? We’d love to hear from you. Instructions for submission await your click and commitment.

Take advantage of fall native plant sales

We are fortunate in Northern Virginia to have many sources of native plants. In addition to the native-only nurseries – some of which propagate plants themselves from local seed sources – there are numerous vendors who set up shop at special plant sales in the spring and fall.

Find a list on the Plant NOVA Natives website. Scroll down to find the Fall Native Plant Sale portion.  You’ll also find the free, downloadable Guide to Native Plants of Northern Virginia.

If you are looking for particular plants, you can contact vendors in advance and ask for them. Traditional commercial nurseries are selling more and more native plants as well (but don’t expect to find natives at big box stores).

 

Help at the Earth Sangha Pull-a-thon 10-12 August

Join Earth Sangha for a Pull-a-thon at the Marie Butler Leven Preserve this weekend!  The group is going to continue to focus on pulling mile-a-minute and Japanese stiltgrass from the woodland edge. It’s crucial to remove these invasives now before they set seed.

Marie Butler Leven Preserve, 1501 Kirby Road McLean, VA 22101

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 10-12 August 2018

9 am – 12 pm

For more details, click here.