Arlington Regional Master Naturalists Presents Seminar: Too Many Deer? February 22nd

Photo: Whitetail Deer Courtesy of National Park Service

Wednesday, February 22,2023
7:00 p.m.

Free Zoom Seminar

Register here for Zoom details

Click here for presentation flyer.

Are too many deer endangering our local flora and fauna? If so, what can be done about it?

As humans have transformed landscapes, many species have lost their habitats, struggling to survive, while whitetailed deer have thrived. Overwhelming evidence points to high deer populations as a main factor in reducing
biodiversity and limiting forest regeneration. Cornell University Professor Blossey, a leading expert on forest health in
the Eastern United States, will present evidence for this imbalance and discuss potential solutions. “Deer are
charismatic native species that belong in our fields and forests,” Blossey said. “Humans have allowed them to become
ecological bullies, and if we are serious about our responsibilities to protect all native species, we need to embrace the
need to reduce deer impacts through reductions in the local deer herds.” This presentation, sponsored by a network of
Northern Virginia environmental organizations, comes as Arlington County studies the impact of deer.

See more information on the Arlington Regional Master Naturalists web page:


Conference in Spanish – Learn About Native Plants and Managing the Local Natural Landscape

Photo: Courtesy of Plant NOVA Natives

Wednesday, February 15, 2023
9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Northern Virginia Community College –
Campus de Annandale
Forum Room – Ernst Community Cultural Center
8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA 22003

Free parking anywhere in lot B
Meet on the second floor, “CE” building.

Please click here to register.


  • Why native plants? (Elisa Meara)
  • Proper tree planting and maintenance (Patricia Greenberg)
  • Control of invasive plants (Patricia Greenberg)
  • Taking care of the soil (Beth Sastre)
  • Spotted Lanternfly (Beth Sastre)
  • Natural pruning (Jose Lara)

In Spanish: For more information can be found at this link.


English translation: please click here.

5th Annual Prince William Native Plant Symposium, February 11th

Photo: Butterfly Bush Pollinators by FMN Ana Ka’ahanui

Saturday, February 11, 2023
9:00 am – 4:00 pm

This is a hybrid event.
Participants can either choose to join in-person, or online.
Location: Verizon Auditorium 
George Mason University
George Mason Circle
Manassas, VA 20109

In-person tickets: $30
Online tickets: $15

Click here for more information and registration details.

Whether you are new to native plants and what they can do for your property or you are looking for alternative landscaping ideas, this event is for you! Native plants can:

  • Create a beautiful yard
  • Save time so you can enjoy other activities
  • Create habitat for birds & pollinators
  • Save money on fertilizer & pesticides
  • Improve water quality
  • Curb Erosion



UPDATE- new training location: The National Park Service (NPS) Needs Volunteers to Help Save the GWM Parkway’s Trees, January 21st

Photo: FMN J. Quinn

Saturday, January 21, 2023

New Location: Fort Hunt Park
8999 Fort Hunt Rd,
Alexandria, VA 22308


To Attend the training please register here.

The National Park Service (NPS) needs volunteers to help remove English ivy from many trees along the south GW Memorial Parkway.

Mireya Stirzaker, NPS Natural Resources Specialist, will hold a volunteer training on January 21 at 10 a.m. at NPS’s Collingwood Park/Picnic Area on the east side of the parkway.

What’s Involved

Mireya will help people learn how to remove ivy, designate safe areas in which to work and supervise at least one session.  NPS can provide some tools and supplies.

To attend the training, register at  On January 21, dress warmly in layers, wear sturdy shoes and bring water. You can volunteer once or multiple times.

Ivy’s Harm

Invasive English ivy is a perennial, aggressive plant that covers the ground, crowds out valuable native plants and climbs up trees.

It can smother a tree’s bark and block the sunlight needed for photosynthesis.

Trees weighed down with ivy vines are more susceptible to toppling during rain, snow and ice storms.

Around 20 percent of the parkway’s plants are not native, according to NPS biologists. Most invasive, introduced from other areas accidentally and deliberately have few controls, form monocultures, impair biodiversity and destroy native habitats.

Why Care about the Parkway’s Trees

Trees sequester carbon, reduce other pollution, stem stormwater runoff, reduce cooling costs and provide habitat for birds and other wildlife.

The parkway is losing trees because of, for example, the invasive emerald ash borer.  The Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve alone could lose around 1,000 ash trees.

Many oaks are suffering too.  Over-abundant deer eat young saplings which alters forest succession, prevents regeneration of plants and impairs biodiversity.

A Memorial Parkway

In 1928, Congress authorized the construction of the Mount Vernon Memorial Parkway to honor the bicentennial of George Washington’s birth.  Planners created a design that includes forested areas, minimizes signs and lights and prohibits billboards.  It is intentionally a slow-speed parkway and trail of natural, historic and recreational sites in over 7,000 acres of parkland, our national park.

Healthy, native trees are an integral part of that design and consistent with Congress’s intent.



Photo: Courtesy of ASNV Savannah Sparrow, Jon Boeckenstedt/Audubon Photography Awards

Wednesday, February 15, 2023
7:00 – 8:00 PM

This is a virtual event

ASNV Members-$15.00 (Non-members $25.00)

Click here for registration details.

Sparrows can be difficult to identify. They are small birds that often skulk in the underbrush, and their plumage shows a very limited palette of colors. This class will help you to tell apart the sparrows you might see in Northern Virginia and to separate them from other small brown sparrow-like birds.

Bill Young is a writer who lives in Arlington. He is the co-creator (with Ashley Bradford) of the website, and he has taught numerous classes for ASNV.

Winter Animal Tracking with Ranger Emily Jones, January 24th

Photo: Courtesy of the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia, inset – Ranger Emily Jones

Tuesday, January 24, 2023
7:00 – 8:00 PM

Virtual Program

ASNV Members-$15.00 (Non-members $25.00)

Click here for registration details.

Winter is a great time to practice your detective skills. While many mammals are nocturnal, they do leave behind evidence of their activities such as footprints and scat. Join this informative webinar to learn how to identify tracks and scat of our common Virginia wildlife. Ranger Emily will also lead the class through some interactive tracking mysteries to help you practice your observation and naturalist skills. Do you have a photo of some mystery tracks? Email it to [email protected] and iy may be covered during the presentation!


Emily Jones is a Natural Resource Specialist at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ John H. Kerr Dam and Reservoir with over 2.5 years’ experience as an Outreach Park Ranger managing partnerships, coordinating the water safety program, and facilitating educational programs for groups of all ages with a range of topics including animal track ID, watersheds, hydropower, wildlife, forestry, and water safety. Emily also is a Virginia Master Naturalist with the Southern Piedmont Master Naturalist Chapter. By focusing on connecting people with nature Emily has been able to put her MA in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development (American University and University for Peace), BS in Environmental Studies, and BA in Civic Innovation (Emory and Henry College) to good use. Over the years, Emily has garnered recognition as an outreach park ranger earning the 2021 South Atlantic Division (SAD) Water Safety Employee of the Year Award and multiple SAD Quarter Environmental Education Awards. When not working as a park ranger or volunteering as a Master Naturalist, Emily enjoys traveling with her friends, gardening, stand-up paddle boarding, and spending time with her cats.


Birding the Blue Ridge Center, January 28th

Photo: Luke High

Saturday, January 28, 2023
8:00 AM

Where: Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship Education Center; 11661 Harpers Ferry Road Purcellville, VA 20132 United States

Click here for Registration.

The Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship (BRCES) is a beautiful 900-acre preserve in northwestern Loudoun County. With its diverse wildlife habitats, including meadows, streams and heavily forested slopes, BRCES draws a wide variety of birds and other creatures. Join Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy on their monthly walk and see what’s there! Meet at the Education Center; bring binoculars if you have them. BRCES is located just north of Neersville at 11661 Harpers Ferry Road (Rte 671).

Ducks and Waterfowl Identification with Greg Butcher, February 2nd

Photo: Duck Box by FMN Jerry Nissley

Thursday, February 2, 2023
7:00 – 8:30 PM

Virtual Event

ASNV Members ($10.00 + $2.05 Fee)
Non-ASNV Members ($15.00 + $2.33 Fee)
Click here for Registration and Tickets.


Join Greg Butcher, Audubon Society of Northern Virginia (ASNV) board member and recently retired migratory species coordinator for the U.S. Forest Service International Programs, for an introduction to waterfowl identification. Get to know many of the species that winter in the open waters of our region. You’ll learn how to tell a Bufflehead from a Hooded Merganser, and, you’ll learn the features (and hear the call) of the beautiful Tundra Swans that winter in Northern Virginia. Strategies will include identification by shape and color pattern. After the presentation, you will have an opportunity to test your identification skills with a Kahoot!

This event will be helpful for those participating in the Winter Waterfowl Count on Feb 11-12 but is open to anyone who would like to know how to identify winter waterfowl!

There is an optional field trip for a limited number of participants , but we encourage you to do your own independent field trips to see winter waterfowl! Some good locations to see waterfowl in NoVa are Huntley Meadows, Dyke Marsh and Mason Neck State Park.

Winter Waterfowl Count, February 11th and 12th

Photo: Huntley Meadows ducks by FMN Ana Ka’ahanui

Saturday and Sunday, February 11-12, 2023
7:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Where: To be Announced
Members: FREE
Non-members: FREE

Registration required.

The Winter Waterfowl Count is a citizen science effort organized by Audubon Society of Northern Virginia to track data about winter waterfowl. This survey complements the Christmas Bird Count, and the data is shared openly with the public. When it started in 2008, ASNV volunteers covered the Potomac River from Algonkian Regional Park in Loudoun County to Quantico Marine Base in Prince William County, as well as many inland bodies of water. In 2020 ASNV expanded the survey by to include areas along the Potomac River in King George and Westmoreland Counties down to the mouth of the Potomac River where it empties into Chesapeake Bay. See the results from last year’s count here.

Although we expect many veterans from past years to return, we can always use new volunteers. Beginners are welcome but we strongly encourage them to attend the Duck and Waterfowl Identification webinar on February 2 and participate in the field trip on February 4. Each volunteer will be assigned to a team led by an experienced birder. Each team determines the start time, which will vary between 7 and 8:30am. End times may also vary depending on assigned survey locations.

This count is organized by Larry Cartwight. The deadline to register is Thursday, February 9 at 9:00 PM so that you can be assigned to a team in time for the count on Saturday morning.

Larry Cartwright is an avid birder and leads several avian related surveys in Northern Virginia. He lectures on birds and birding for the Lifetime Learning Institute at Northern Virginia Community College. His lecture topics have included the evolution of birds from feathered theropod dinosaurs and birding in the Alaskan tundra. Larry has received several awards from scientific and conservation organizations, including the Virginia Society of Ornithology’s Jackson M. Abbott Conservation Award for 2013.

For FMN’s: Record service hours under ASNV– C036: ASNV Waterfowl Count – Audubon Society of Northern Virginia.  Please include project details in the notes section when entering service hours.

Green Breakfast Events – Medicines from the Soil, presented by Dan Schwartz, Soil Scientist at NVSWCD, January 14th

Image: Courtesy of the NVSWCD

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Virtual Event

Did you know that many (if not most) of our medically important antibiotics are derived from soil organisms? With antibiotic-resistant “super bugs” becoming an increasingly common and worrying problem, researchers are digging through the soil again in the hopes of discovering the next blockbuster antibacterial. Please join us for the January Green Breakfast, Medicines from the Soil, with guest speaker Dan Schwartz to learn more about these exciting advances in soil science!

Dan Schwartz holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in environmental science from the University of Maryland and Virginia Tech, respectively. Since 2003, Dan has worked as a soil scientist for the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD). His first years with the District were spent outdoors doing field work to update the Fairfax County soils map. Since then, his work responsibilities broadened to include outreach and education, technical consultation to county agencies, soil and stormwater research, erosion and drainage assistance to Fairfax County homeowners, and implementation of the District’s residential cost-share programs.

No registration is required, you can join the webinar here

Address questions to [email protected]

To receive updates about Green Breakfast speakers or join an upcoming virtual Green Breakfast, please register for the Green Breakfast newsletter. Please direct questions to NVSWCD.

You can view the Green Breakfast YouTube playlist here.