Save Blake Lane Park Spring Party

Blake Lane Park
10033 Blake Lane, Oakton
Saturday, April 27th
11 am – 3 pm

You are invited for a day filled with fun!
Family and friends are welcome.

What to expect:
Games for young and old.
Nature walk by naturalist Laura Beaty of the Virginia Native Plant Society scheduled for 12 o’clock in the afternoon.
Theater Games and Art for children and parents proudly offered by WonderGo.
Face Painting – Photo Corner – Snacks – Fun.
Dog park remains open and welcomes all dogs with a little treat.
Find out how you can help Save Blake Lane Park.
Bring a snack or baked goods to share.

For more information and to let the organizer know you will attend.

FMN quarterly meeting, graduation, and presentation on permaculture, May 19

St. Dunstan’s Church
1830 Kirby Rd., McLean, VA
Sunday, 19 May 2019
2-4 pm

All are welcome to join our Fairfax Master Naturalist chapter for a brief chapter meeting, a chance to win door prizes, celebrate our Spring 2019 graduating class, and enjoy Christine Harris’s presentation on Permaculture Design.

Bill Mollison coined the term permaculture in the 1970s, and then wrote the book Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual to share the concepts.  In his words: “Permaculture is about designing sustainable human settlements. It is a philosophy and an approach to land use which weaves together microclimate, annual and perennial plants, animals, soil, water management, and human needs into intricately connected, productive communities.”  Learn more here.

FMN members receive one hour of continuing education credit for attending.


Clean the Chesapeake Bay Day, June 1st

Various locations
Saturday, 1 June 2019
9 am-12 pm

Each year, on the first Saturday of June, thousands of Virginians simultaneously descend on the rivers, streams, and beaches of the Chesapeake Bay watershed to remove harmful litter and debris. Thirty-one years strong, Clean the Bay Day is a true Virginian tradition and an annual opportunity for families, military installations, businesses, clubs, civic or church groups to give back to local waterways.

This short, three-hour annual event has a massive cumulative impact. Since 1989, Clean the Bay Day has engaged over 158,200 volunteers, who have removed approximately 6.64 million pounds of debris from nearly 7,750 miles of shoreline in Virginia!

Signing up for Clean the Bay Day is easy! Find a location convenient to you on our locations list or interactive map and register yourself or your group. Your information will be sent to the coordinator for that location, who will get back to you with details about your specific site. When you show up that day, just come prepared to help pick up litter and debris! All clean-up supplies will be provided.

Can’t make it on June 1st but want to help? Check out partners who are hosting their events earlier.

Eagle Festival, May 11th

Mason Neck State Park
7301 High Point Rd., Lorton, VA 22079
Saturday, 11 May 2019
10 am – 6 pm
(Bird walk at 8:30 am, must register)

Don’t miss Mason Neck State Park’s 22d annual Eagle Festival! They’ll have live shows all day in the Main Tent, including raptors, reptiles and mammals. The Hartwell Children’s Tent will offer children’s activities from our conservation partners. We’ll have Bald Eagle nest viewing tours, hay rides, pony rides, music, food and drink, a live eagle cam, exhibits from more than 20 environmental organizations, including Fairfax Master Naturalists, a youth photo contest and Mini-Clinics from REI.

You can see the entire schedule of activities at Eagle Festival Flyer.pdf

A Bird Walk led by the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia, starts at 8:30 am. You must register to participate in the Bird Walk, which is limited to thirty participants. You can sign up at Register for Bird Walk.

Admission to the Park is free all day, so come on out and enjoy the Park’s biggest event of the year!

Birdathon 2019, Have fun, raise funds, 19 April – 19 May

Spring is on its way, and so is Birdathon! It’s time to organize your teams and sign up for Audubon Society of Northern Virginia’s annual spring migration birding competition.

The concept is simple: Participants can bird in teams of two to five. Team members then make their own donations or secure pledges from friends,family members, colleagues, neighborhood merchants, etc. Then, during any 24-hour period between April 19 and May 19, teams search Northern Virginia to see how many bird species they can identify. The two principal rules are Have Fun and Raise Funds. For the rest, click here. Click here to register your own team or click here to pledge support for your favorite team.

Whatta deal! Mount Rogers Spring Naturalist Rally, May 10-12th

Konnarock Community Center, 6635 Whitetop Rd., Troutdale, VA
Friday, 10 -Sunday, 12 May 2019

Three days of exploration & discovery for all ages! 

Bring your family and celebrate Mother’s Day in the most beautiful place on Earth. There is something for the entire family to enjoy with an expert speaker Friday night, trips Saturday and Sunday, and nighttime programs at the campground.

Blue Ridge Discovery Center has assembled a wide variety of field trips with leaders who are experts in their field and who are able to make the subjects understandable and interesting for everyone from inquisitive amateurs to accomplished naturalists.

Rally tickets for the entire weekend are $10. Ticket price includes Friday Night Program, Saturday Field Trips, Saturday Night Program and Sunday Program. Guides and persons 17 years or younger are FREE!

Friday night dinner tickets are $10. Dinner hosted by the Konnarock Community Center. The dinner is limited to 125 total tickets. Dinner tickets available by prepaid reservation only! Reservations due by May 3rd. No dinner tickets will be sold at the door.

For more information and registration, visit the website.
Also, check out the Mt Rogers Naturalist Rally Facebook page for event updates or call 276-293-1232.

Blue Ridge Discovery Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring, discovering, and sharing the natural history of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Earth Sangha spring open house & native plant sale

When: Sunday May 5, 9:45 am – 2 pm

What: Earth Sangha is hosting their Spring Open House & Native Plant Sale on Sunday, May 5th from 10AM to 2 PM. They need student volunteers to help customers carry plants and move wheelbarrows, and experienced adult volunteers to tally orders and direct customers. Please email Katherine at if you’re interested in volunteering.

Where: The Nursery is in Springfield, Virginia, in Franconia Park, which lies just south of the Beltway, and just east of the Beltway’s intersection with Routes 95 and 395.  Access is from Franconia Road (644). From Franconia, turn north on Thomas Drive, less than half a mile east of the 395/95 intersection. There is a traffic light at Thomas. From Thomas, turn right onto Meriwether Lane. Turn left onto Cloud Drive. Please park in the parking lot at the bottom of the entrance road, then walk down the dirt road along the community gardens. Our nursery lies beyond the community gardens. View the nursery’s location on Google Maps. (The Google pointer is set to Cloud Drive, not directly on our nursery, which has no street address. From Cloud Drive, follow the directions above.)

Contact: Katherine Isaacson (

Earth Day: Marie Butler Leven Preserve Workday

When: Saturday, April 20, 10 am-1 pm

What: Join Earth Sangha for an Earth Day planting at the Marie Butler Leven Preserve! We’ll be planting almost 1,000 native grasses and wildflowers in the front meadow. We’ll meet at the parking lot and walk into the park from there.  For MBLP events, sturdy shoes and long pants are recommended. We will provide gloves and all necessary tools. Please bring your own water. If you arrive late, call or text Matt on his cell at 703 859 2951.

Where: View the Preserve’s location on Google Maps. The Marie Butler Leven Preserve is in McLean, Virginia. The street address is 1501 Kirby Road. If you’re coming from the Beltway, exit on Route 66 East; from 66, take the first exit, to Leesburg Pike (Route 7); turn left on Leesburg Pike, then almost immediately after the underpass, turn right onto Idylwood Road. Just stay on Idylwood, which becomes Kirby Road after the intersection with Great Falls Street. Stay on Kirby; once you have passed the stop sign at Chesterbrook Road, the Preserve is about half a mile up on the right.

Contact: Matt Bright ( or 703-859-2951)

Your Camera as Eco-Warrior

Photo (c) Barbara J. Saffir

Margaret Fisher

We are surrounded by the ecosystem, even in our urban/suburban areas, but most of us never notice it. If we do see a plant, an insect or a bird, we lack the background to recognize it. Our experience of life is becoming more and more virtual as we live in a world of technology. Paradoxically, that very technology is now making it easy to find and identify the small residents of our yards. Getting to know our fellow beings makes us more likely to value and protect them.

The tool you need for this experience is a camera, even a basic cell phone camera. If you take a photo of an insect and enlarge it on your screen, you will be in for some big surprises. What you took to be a drab brown bug may turn out to be a wildly colorful and patterned creature, living its life and paying attention to your doings, even while you were unaware of it. The same discoveries are there to be made about birds, frogs, and all our other neighbors.

Better yet, if you upload photos of wild plants and animals to the free iNaturalist website or app, the artificial intelligence will suggest possible identifications, and then two actual human beings will review them to make the final determination. All this data is automatically entered into a worldwide global biodiversity database that is populated by contributions from citizen scientists such as yourself. All your observations will be saved and labelled in one place for your amusement. You can even create a project that collates all the observations from one location, such as your homeowners association, park, school, or faith community. Once you get hooked, you may find yourself trying to document all the life in your neighborhood. Here is an example from Huntley Meadows Park.

From April 26-29, iNaturalist invites everyone to join City Nature Challenge 2019, in which metropolitan areas participate in a friendly competition to see who can make the most observations. Events will be held all around the region, but you can also just take your camera outside and start documenting on your own. All observations made during that four day period will count.

What will become clear to you as you do this is that the more native plants you have, the more butterflies, bees, birds, and other wildlife you will find. You will see how preserving natural resources even in our built-up areas is critical to the survival of wildlife, and how the landscaping in your own yard can contribute to or degrade biodiversity, depending on your landscaping choices.

Watch Plant NOVA Native’s lovely one-minute video about iNaturalist and City Nature Challenge.

Events, trainings, ID parties, and videos for City Nature Challenge

Helpful video from Plant NOVA Natives:

Have you ever noticed that we are not alone in this world?

A calendar and map of local events courtesy of Capital Nature: Explore nature on your own and share what you find using iNaturalist  … or join others at an event.  All observations made from April 26 through April 29 will count!