Alonso Abugattas speaks on interconnectedness of natural world, Saturday, 20 January, Frying Pan Park

Alonso Abugattas, the Natural Resources Manager for Arlington County Parks, VA, and the Co-Chair for the Beltway Chapter of Region 2 of the National Association for Interpretation, will speak on behalf of the Annual Invasive Management Area meeting. Alonso writes the Capital Naturalist blog, found at . Brunch fare and drinks will be provided.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

9-11:30 AM

Visitor’s CenterAuditorium

Frying Pan Farm Park

2709 West Ox Road

Herndon VA 20171


RSVP by 8 January to [email protected] or [email protected] or by calling (703) 324-8681

Stream monitoring sessions in January: Plan now so that you can attend

Saturday, January 6

Stream Monitoring Workshop: Chantilly

Time: 1:30 – 4pm

Location: Big Rocky Run Stream Valley Park, Chantilly

Help monitor Big Rocky Run as it flows through a sliver of forested parkland between the residences of the Greenbriar neighborhood. Please RSVP to Dan Schwartz for directions and instructions.


Sunday, January 7

Stream Monitoring Session: Prince William County, Haymarket

Time: Noon – 2:30pm

Location: James Long Park, Haymarket

Join long-serving certified monitor Elaine Wilson and her team for fall monitoring at this beautiful site on the Catharpin Creek in the Gainsville area. This location has some outstanding and unique critters. Spots are limited. For more information and to RSVP, contact Elaine.


Wednesday, January 10

Fairfax County Public Hearing on the Environment

Time: 7:30pm

Location: Fairfax County Gov’t Center, Conference Rooms 9-10, 12000 Government Center Pkwy, Fairfax, VA

The Environmental Quality Advisory Council invites all interested citizens to share their views and concerns on the state of the County’s environment. Written, verbal or video testimony is encouraged. To be placed on the speakers list or for additional information, call the Dept. of Planning and Zoning at 703-324-1380 (TTY 711) or send an e-mail message (and/or submit written testimony) to [email protected]. For video testimony, upload to YouTube, Vimeo, or UStream and email the URL to EQAC by 5pm on January 3.


Saturday, January 13

Potomac River Cleanup

Time: 10am

Location: Jones Point Park, Alexandria, VA

Participate in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service by helping the Potomac Conservancy and its volunteers clean the river banks at Jones Point Park in the City of Alexandria. In 2017, this event prevented 12,000 pounds of trash from entering the river. Can YOU help break that record in 2018? Please RSVP online.

First Day Hikes, Mason Neck State Park

Mason Neck State Park is celebrating the new year with free entrance to the park and three guided hikes.

At 10 a.m. is a 3.5 mile hike of moderate difficulty but at an easy pace.

At 11 a.m. the park will feature a fast-paced, heart pumping hike incorporating several trails that will cover 6.2 miles. (That’s 10K for those who are metric system challenged!)

At 3 p.m. is a leisurely stroll on the Bay View Trail covering 1.0 miles and at an easy pace.

Of course you are always welcome to hike on your own. Mason Neck is a dog friendly park! You must have your four legged friend on a leash at all times.

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation also is sponsoring a New Years Challenge and and a First Day Hikes Photo Contest. Prizes of up to $500 will be awarded to the winners. More information is available at

So come out to the park on January 1 and get a good start to the year!

Monday, January 1, 2018

10:00 AM — 4:00 PM

Visitor Center, Mason Neck State Park


Come See the Tundra Swans! January 6th, 9-11 AM

Join the Friends of Mason Neck State Park for a walk to the see the Tundra Swans! Each year, the Mason Neck area is host to one of Northern Virginia’s largest concentrations of Tundra Swans.  Depending on the day, you may see between 200 and 400 swans and hear their haunting calls.  You may also see other waterfowl, including Northern Pintails, American coots, Black Ducks and Mallards — and who knows what else?  Bring your binoculars if you have them.  If not, there will be binoculars and telescopes for people to share. The tide will be high when the group gets there, which will maximize the likelihood that the birds will be close.

Gather at the Woodmarsh parking lot, which is on the left of High Point Road about a quarter mile BEFORE the Mason Neck State Park Contact Station, at 9:00 AM.  It is about a 1-mile walk on level ground to the bird blind at the marsh.

There is no charge for the hike, and there is no need to pay the State Park entrance fee since the walk will be outside the park.

Read-a-thon of A Sand County Almanac is January 14

Come celebrate Aldo Leopold’s 132nd birthday (January 11th) and hear sections of this still-popular book on Sunday, January 14, 5-7 p.m., at the Shirlington Busboys and Poets, 4251 South Campbell Avenue, Arlington VA 22206. Let Northern Virginia Conservation Trust know if you want to be one of the readers by emailing Daniel Saltzberg at [email protected]. Look for more details on the NVCT website as they become available.

Environmental Quality Advisory Council public hearing, January 10, 2018

The Environmental Quality Advisory Council will hold its annual public hearing on the environment on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.

The public hearing will be held at 7:30 PM in Conference Rooms 9 and 10 of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA.  All interested parties are encouraged to sign up to speak.  To sign up to speak, call the Department of Planning and Zoning at 703-324-1380 or send an e-mail message ([email protected]) and/or submit written testimony.  Or, if you’d prefer, just contact Noel Kaplan, Senior Environmental Planner, Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning, and he’ll sign you up and answer any questions you may have.  He is available by email ([email protected]) and phone at 703-324-1369.

Please note that EQAC is again providing the opportunity for interested parties to present video testimony. You can upload your video testimony (5 minutes or less is preferred) to YouTube, Ustream or Vimeo and then let EQAC know how to access your video.  Your video will be presented at the public hearing.*  The deadline for posting your video on-line and informing EQAC (by e-mail to [email protected]) of the URL through which EQAC can access the video is 5:00 PM on Wednesday, January 3.  No more than one video may be submitted per person.

*All videos will be screened by county staff prior to the public hearing. Each video must address one or more environmental topics. Any video with profanity or other objectionable material will not be presented at the public hearing. You will be notified if county staff determines that your video is unsuitable for presentation. You do not need to attend the public hearing for your video to be presented.

Swanfall Celebration at Mason Neck, 3 December

The Friends of Mason Neck State Park will hold their annual Swanfall celebration this Sunday, December 3, from 2 to 4.

There will be a light buffet, followed by a talk by Paul Bacich on the intriguing Winter Waterfowl of Mason Neck.  Paul is the co-author of the just-published The Crossley ID Guide: Waterfowl and has been a volunteer in Huntley Meadows Park’s Wood Duck and Hooded Merganser nest box program for nearly 25 years.

Registration is required; the cost is $10 per person.  More information and a registration page are at

Sign Up the 36th Annual Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count!

Sign Up the 36th Annual Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

7:00 AM  11:30 AM

The Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count will be on Sunday, December 17th.  The count circle is around Centreville and includes Manassas Battlefield, parts of Bull Run Regional Park, undeveloped areas south of Dulles Airport, and many stream valley parks and undeveloped locations from Clifton to west Fairfax City.   A hot lunch will be served to participants.  Birders of all skill levels are needed.

If you participated last year your sector leader will be in touch soon.  If you don’t hear from your sector leader, or if you would like to be in a different sector, contact Bob Shipman.  This year, we will be offering an opportunity for feeder watchers.  If you or someone you know lives within the count circle and cannot go out on the count, he or she can sit inside and count the birds that come to a feeder or yard on count day as an alternate way to participate.

Sign up here.

World Wildlife Fund hosts The Nature of Change: The Science of Influencing Behavior

Behavior change has not yet been extensively incorporated into conservation practice planning, design, or overall thinking. This year’s Fuller Symposium, December 4, brings together a diverse array of experts from the behavior sciences to tackle how we can better integrate behavioral strategies and interventions into conservation practice to produce more effective outcomes for nature.

Attend in person at the National Geographic Society’s headquarters, or by by web streaming.

The conference is free and counts toward VMN continuing ed credits

You can attend in person or online. Register here

This year’s winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics, Richard Thaler, was recognized for his contributions to behavioral economics, a critical component in understanding how we make decisions about our health, wealth, etc. (Book recommendation: Nudge, with his coauthor, Cass Sunstein). Dan Ariely, one of the presenters at the symposium, is another prominent behavioral economist, and a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal. (Book recommendation: Predictably Irrational.)

Stream Monitoring Events: Serve and Learn

Certified Monitors Networking and Team Building Workshop

Saturday, November 18

Time: 11am – 1pm

Location: Manassas National Battlefield, Administrative HQ Building

The Northern Virginia and Prince William Soil and Water Conservation Districts are proud to announce the first networking and team building event for certified volunteer stream monitors! Meet fellow certified monitors, discuss best practices with long-time volunteers and staff from the two Conservation Districts, and hear about new national-level stream initiatives from the Izaak Walton League, the coordinators of the Virginia Save Our Streams Program. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Dan Schwartz. Open only to volunteer monitors who have passed their certification test.


Stream Monitoring Workshop: Reston

Monday, November 20

Time: 10am – 1pm

Location: Snakeden Branch behind the Walker Nature Center, Reston

Join Walker Nature Center staff as they monitor Snakeden Branch in the forested parkland behind the Center. To RSVP and get directions, please fill out a Reston Volunteer Application and then sign up through the event calendar.