Botany and Bloom Workshop Series, Nov 23

November 23, 2019

10:00 am – 02:00 pm

Location: Sky Meadows State Park, Edmonds Lane 11012, Delaplane, Virginia

Explore the rich natural diversity of Sky Meadows State Park with this three-part series. Each workshop includes a lecture in the Carriage Barn, followed by a 3-mile field hike for hands-on application. Receive a colored print-out of the lecture. Each workshop is $15/adult, $5/child (12 and under), payable the day of the workshop. Workshop fee includes parking. Bring water and lunch to eat along the trail, dress in layers, and wear sturdy shoes.

Spring Ephemerals – Saturday, April 27, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Summer Blooms – Saturday, July 27, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Winter Tree Identification – Saturday, November 23, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For complete workshop descriptions, and to sign up for the series, go to: www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/sky-meadows

Birding the Blue Ridge, Nov 23

November 23, 2019

8:00 am – 11:00 am

Location: Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, Harpers Ferry Road 11661, Purcellville, Virginia

Join Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship (BRCES) for a walk through parts of this beautiful 900-acre preserve and see what lives in this diverse habitat.  As the leaves fall, it gets easier to see birds on trees. This outing takes place every fourth Saturday of the month except in December. Meet at the Education Center; bring binoculars if you have them. Click here for more information.

BRCES is located just north of Neersville at 11661 Harpers Ferry Road (Route 671); detailed directions at www.blueridgecenter.org.

Join Other Environmental Educators at the 2020 VAEE Conference

The 2020 VAEE Conference has a lot to offer Virginia Master Naturalists!

On Wednesday, Feb. 26 there will be many outdoor workshops and classes such as “Wandering the Winter Woods” or “A Wetland Wander at Sweet Briar.” There are full day workshops such as “Communicating Climate Change” and “Lynchburg’s Urban Water Cycle Tour.’’ Plain old fun can be had in the “Make-n-Take” session in which you can make a Mason bee house, a Bluebird box, a Rain Barrel, or Nature Crafts such as corn husk dolls, vine baskets, cordage or memory keepers.  The Interactive Activity Showcase will give you many new tools for your education toolbox.

On Thursday, Feb. 27 nineteen different concurrent sessions will be offered, the Awards Luncheon, and most importantly the keynote speaker, Dr. J. Drew Lanham, an author, poet, wildlife biologist and Clemson University’s Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology. In 2019 he was awarded the National Audubon Society’s Dan W. Lufkin Prize for Environmental Leadership, recognizing “individuals who have dedicated their entire lives to the environment”.

His research focuses on songbird ecology, as well as the African-American role in natural-resources conservation. A South Carolina native, Lanham is active on a number of conservation boards, including the South Carolina Wildlife Federation, Audubon South Carolina, the Aldo Leopold Foundation, BirdNote, and the American Birding Association, and he is a member of the advisory board for the North American Association of Environmental Education.

On Friday, Feb. 28 there will be 14 more concurrent sessions and a closing session with the keynote speaker, our own Nancy Striniste, author of the new book Nature Play at Home: Creating Outdoor Spaces that Connect Children to the Natural World (Timber Press, 2019). Nancy is founder and principal designer at EarlySpace, is a landscape designer, an educator, and an author.

Registration will open on November 15! You will have many options from full conference registration to only attending one day. Full conference includes all meals for the 2.5 days. https://vaee.wildapricot.org/VAEE2020

If you have further questions contact Page or Bruce.

Flying squirrels, FMN annual meeting, December 6th

Photo (c) by Barbara J. Saffir

St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in the parish hall
1830 Kirby Rd, McLean, VA 22101
Friday, 6 December 2019
7 – 9 pm

Join the Fairfax Master Naturalists for the graduation of their Fall 2019 training class, election of chapter officers and a presentation by Barbara Saffir on SECRET NIGHT GLIDERS: Our Uncommonly Seen (Yet Super Common) Southern Flying Squirrels.

An introduction to America’s smallest — and arguably cutest — squirrel. They’re nearly as common as our seemingly ubiquitous eastern gray squirrels though you’ve probably never glimpsed one. If you live in Fairfax, these “fairy diddles” probably visit your backyard — or at least your neighborhood.

Master naturalists earn one hour of continuing education credit.

Event is free; everyone is welcome to attend.

Have you ever seen a dragon fly? Learn more Dec. 8th

Jammes House
Mason Neck State Park
Sunday, 8 December 2019
2 pm

Join the Friends of Mason Neck State Park for their annual holiday event and listen to a fascinating program presented by naturalist and author Bob Blakney. Bob is author of the field guide “Northern Virginia Dragonflies and Damselflies.” He has participated in regular surveys of the Mason Neck area for the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia for more than 12 years. Bob will present photographs he has taken of dragonflies and damselflies in the region and talk about these fascinating creatures that inhabit our local ponds and streams.

Did you know that:
Dragonflies have been around for about 300 million years.
Fossil dragonflies have been found with two-foot wingspans.
Dragonflies can fly straight up and down, backwards and hover like a helicopter.
Dragonflies are among the most efficient predators on Earth.

The Holiday Party is open to members of the Friends of Mason Neck State Park. Each member may register one guest. The program fee is $15 per person, which includes admission to the park.
You can register at Holiday Event Registration.
Not a member? Has your membership expired? You can join or renew your membership for as little as $20 per year for up to two people at Join the Friends of Mason Neck State Park.
Be sure to register soon. Space is limited and this event always sells out!

Restoration of an Extinct Ecosystem: Lessons Learned with Dr. Douglas Gill

The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road
Warrenton, VA, 20187
Friday, December 6
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

For 20 years, the Native Grassland Restoration project on the eastern shore of Maryland has studied the processes of restoring native Mid-Atlantic warm-season grasslands. Come hear Dr. Gill share an overview of his involvement with the project and practical advice from years of experience with grassland restoration. The talk will be valuable to anyone with similar goals on their own land, no matter how small-scale!

Douglas E. Gill, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biology at University of Maryland, College Park where he has worked since 1971. In 2010, Dr. Gill was named Conservationist of the Year by the Maryland Ornithological Society. $10 per person.

 

ASNV Accepting Applications Now for Educator Scholarship, deadline Feb 14, 2020

Each summer Audubon Society of Northern Virginia offers a full scholarship and transportation to “Sharing Nature: An Educator’s Week” at National Audubon Society’s Hog Island Camp in Maine. Next year’s session is July 12-17, 2020 and will feature workshops on educational techniques, a boat trip to the restored Atlantic Puffin and Tern colony on Eastern Egg Rock, intertidal explorations, and hiking through Hog Island’s unspoiled spruce-fir forest.

Applicants must be a public classroom teacher, specialist or school administrator in the ASNV chapter territory. Counties: Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, and Stafford. Independent cities: Alexandria, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Manassas Park.

Application Deadline: February 14, 2020

Scholarship Announcement: March 16, 2020

Link to scholarship application: http://audubonva.org/hog-island-scholarship

Questions: info@audubonva.org. For further information about this session at Hog Island, visit https://hogisland.audubon.org/sharing-nature-educator-s-week.

101st Green Breakfast: Helping the Land Heal, Nov 9th

Brion’s Grille
10621 Braddock Rd, Fairfax, VA 22032
Saturday, 9 November
Breakfast begins at 8:30am, $10 at the door, cash preferred
No prior registration required

Kristen Sinclair, Ecologist
Fairfax County Park Authority, Natural Resource Management Branch

As the county’s largest landowner with 23,890 acres in 427 parks (August 2019), much of the responsibility for preserving Fairfax County’s rich natural heritage rests with the Fairfax County Park Authority. These landholdings include large, biodiverse forests along the Potomac Gorge and in the western region of the county, emergent wetlands at Huntley Meadows, a tidal freshwater marsh on Mason Neck, and nearly all of Fairfax County’s stream valleys. They also include dozens of community parks and numerous lakefront parks.

The Park Authority’s Natural Resource Management Plan is structured to support several guiding principles that will inform all aspects of natural resource management on parkland, including stewardship of our natural capital, preserve biodiversity and sustain wild and healthy ecosystems, protect, restore, and expand ecosystem services, manage resources adaptively and learn through experience, and preserve a legacy of natural heritage for present and future generations.

Join us for a presentation by Kristen Sinclair, Ecologist with the FCPA-Natural Resource Management Branch, who will give an update on the Park Authority’s ecological restoration program, known as “Helping Our Land Heal” and highlight other recent projects completed by the FCPA-Natural Resources Branch.

Breakfast includes an all-you-can eat hot buffet with fresh fruit and coffee, tea, orange juice or water. No prior registration required. If you have any questions, please contact the Northern Virginia Soil and Water District at conservationdistrict@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Learn all things bluebird, conference Nov. 16th

Dorothy Hart Community Center
408 Canal St, Fredericksburg, VA
Saturday, 16 November 2019
8am – 3pm

The Virginia Bluebird Society’s 2019 Biennial Meeting will be an all day bluebird fest. The keynote speaker will be Bet Zimmerman Smith, a North American Bluebird Society board member and Life Member of NABS. Her highly regarded and hugely popular website, sialis.org was ‘developed as a resource for people interested in helping bluebirds and other native cavity-nesters survive and thrive.’

The registration fee ($40 VBS-members, $50 non-members) includes continental breakfast, lunch, programs and door prizes.

View the breakout session topics and register here.  Master naturalists, earn 3.5 hours of continuing education credit.

Cutting edge: Water Chestnut Program (WCP) Meeting, Nov. 15th

Twin Lakes Golf Course, Club House, Ball Room
6209 Union Mill Rd., Clifton VA 20125
Friday, 15 November 2019
10 am – 2 pm

The Fairfax Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalists is facilitating an informational meeting about the invasive water chestnut (Trapa bispinosa).

The water chestnut program (WCP) would be an early detection and rapid response project for naturalists who would like to identify, verify, map and remove this novel species of water chestnut before it becomes established. The focus area is within the Potomac River watershed in Virginia.

This type of water chestnut, discovered by Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries (VGIF) in the tidal Potomac River at Pohick Bay in 2014, is not known to be established elsewhere in the USA. Scientists at the US Geological Survey (USGS) have found that it is spreading, but it is not yet considered widespread, or outside the Potomac Watershed. This is an opportune time to take measures to remove it before it becomes a huge menace in the Potomac River and watershed. Species of water chestnut (Genus, Trapa) are known to spread extensively and be invasive in Virginia and other regions of similar climate. Trapa can quickly grow over the surface of shallow water, completely shade out native submerged aquatic plants, impede water flow, clog irrigation pipes, alter biodiversity, and obstruct recreational boating and swimming.

Come to learn about this water chestnut species and explore options for eradicating it.  Virginia Master Naturalists, natural resource managers, pond owners, gardeners, naturalists, invasive species managers, pond management companies, and other interested parties are welcome to attend.

Program is free and open to the public. Please see the agenda and register here.  Questions? Email vmnfairfax@gmail.com.

Fairfax Master Naturalists:  This program qualifies for Continuing Education credit.