The Braddock District Tree Forum, Trees Need More Than Hugs: How to Care for Your Trees! March 20th

Photo: Plant NOVA Trees

Wednesday, March 20, 2024, 7-9 pm
7:00-9:00 pm

No registration is required.
Kings Park Library Conference Room
9000 Burke Lake Rd, Burke, VA, 22015-1683

Questions: [email protected]

Come to this informative event to hear three experts in the field talking about tree care.  Information tables will be set up to visit before and after the talk. Win a chance to receive a free native tree seedling!  Free, no registration, all are welcome. Come to learn about why you should care, and how to care, for your trees.  For more information, click, or copy and paste, this link:  2024 Braddock District Tree Forum flyer final.pdf

NVSWCD Green Breakfast: Knockout Natives, March 9th

Saturday, March 9, 2023
9 am
Speaker: Sam Hoadley, the Manager of Horticultural Research at Mt. Cuba Center
Registration required. 

Join Sam Hoadley, the Manager of Horticultural Research at Mt. Cuba Center, as he highlights knockout native species and cultivars from their trials. Top performers and favorites of MonardaPhloxEchinacea, wild hydrangea, Carex represent some of the best native plants for the mid-Atlantic region and beyond. Sam will discuss their horticultural and ecological performance and will share important information on standouts that will make beautiful additions to your garden.

NVSWCD’s popular Green Breakfasts are now virtual! All Green Breakfast webinars begin at 9:00am and are hosted on Teams. No prior registration is required.

January Green Breakfast Recording available: Conserve Energy, Save Money, and Take Climate Action with OEEC

Speaker: Dr. Neely Law, Senior Planner, Fairfax County Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination
The January Green Breakfast was chock full of information, be sure to check it out if you weren’t able to join us! To watch the recording on our YouTube channel, click here.

Stream Monitoring Citizen Science & Training Opportunities, March

Photo: FMN Janet Quinn, Hidden Pond stream monitoring

*NVSWCD Workshop*
Wolftrap Creek Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Saturday, March 2, 9:00am-12:00pm
Where: Wolftrap Creek Stream Valley Park/Foxstone Park, Vienna

Join NVSWCD for our first stream monitoring workshop of the spring season. This site features a small, shallow stream which usually has a good number of beetles. Learn more and register for this workshop and others here.

Accotink Creek Spring Stream Monitoring
When: Saturday, March 9, 9:30-11:30am
Where: Lake Accotink Park, Springfield

GET YOUR BRAIN WET! Join Friends of Lake Accotink Park and Friends of Accotink Creek for a rewarding and fun time for adults and children who enjoy helping our parks and environment by identifying and counting stream critters to document the health of the stream. It’s fun for the whole family to learn what’s in the water by seeing and counting stream critters. The critter count is ever-changing, but volunteers have made some exciting finds, including small crayfish. Learn more and be sure to register here

*NVSWCD Workshop*
Difficult Run Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Sunday, March 24, 9:00am-12:00pm
Where: Difficult Run Stream Valley Park, Great Falls

This stream site in Great Falls is a short walk through the woods to a river with wide, sandy banks. These trails are very popular with hikers and volunteers often get high water quality scores at this site. Learn more and register for this workshop and others here.

*NVSWCD Workshop*
Big Rocky Run Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Thursday, March 28, 1:00-4:00pm
Where: Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, Chantilly

This stream monitoring site on Big Rocky Run is located near the historic Cabell’s Mill in Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. This park features great trails with interpretive signage and the stream site is a stone’s throw from Walney Pond, where you may get to see the happy beaver family that lives there. Learn more and register for this workshop and others here.


More Training and Stream Monitoring Opportunities

The NoVa Soil & Water Conservation teams are  very excited to contribute their stream data to state and national datasets. If you’d like to see data from all the NVSWCD regional stream monitoring team’s active sites, you can find our organization on the Clean Water Hub.

Geology of the Piedmont Tour, March 9th

Image: Courtesy of Clifton Institute

Saturday, March 9, 2023
9:00AM – 12:00PM

The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Rd
Warrenton, VA 20187

Cost: FREE

Registration is REQUIRED.

It’s winter and that means that rock season is upon us! This year, it would be nice to branch out and check out a whole new geologic province. The last two years the class took a close look at rocks of the Piedmont Plateau and learned that several times in the geologic past, huge mountain ranges rose up where the Piedmont is today. Where did those mountains go? The sand and silt washed down from those soaring peaks must have gone somewhere and this class is going to find it! Join this tour for a journey off the western edge of the Blue Ridge Anticlinorium and into one of the world’s great thrust/fold belts, the Valley and Ridge Province of the Appalachian Mountains. you will be looking at layers and layers of ancient sediments laid out in a vast river delta. Like the pages of a book, these layers have a fascinating story to tell about life in the Paleozoic.

The tour will be heading out to Front Royal to begin the geology tour this year and making its way up into Fort Valley, stopping along the way. A few of the stops will involve a short hike but nothing too strenuous.

Participants can EITHER meet at Clifton at 9 a.m. and carpool to Front Royal, OR meet the tour in Front Royal around 10 a.m.

CE – Blue Bird Trail at River Farm, March 7th

New on-line CE opportunity for FMN.

When: Thursday evening, March 7th at 7pm.
How long: Approximately 1 hour
Description: Eastern Bluebirds were once as common as robins in Northern Virginia until the early 20th century when introduced species, habitat loss and pesticides caused alarming population declines. Join in to learn how this lovely species has made a heartening comeback and how Fairfax Master Naturalists are helping at Washington’s River Farm.

Presenter: FMN Susan Farmer is a longtime Blue Bird nesting box monitor at Huntley Meadows and a member of Virginia Blue Bird Society. She is the FMN liaison for the FMN-AHS partnership and recently organized the installation of 8 nesting boxes at River Farm. An article on that installation may be found in this newsletter.

This is an FMN only CE session and registration is required via Better Impact (BI) by 5 March.

To register:
1. Login to BI and click on your ‘Opportunities’ tab.
2. Select ‘Opportunity Calendar’ from the pull-down list.
3. Find event in the displayed calendar and click on it to see event details.
4. To sign up, click on the ‘Sign Up’ box in the lower right. This automatically signs you up and puts the event on your personal calendar.
5. To claim 1 CE hour: please use “All Continuing Education -> FMN All other Chapter Training”, as the Approved Org.

6. The Zoom session link will be sent to all who register by 5 March. The email will be sent to the email of record in BI. The session will be recorded.

FMN CE – Woodcock Night Hike at Huntley Meadows

What: FMN CE Evening Woodcock Walk for Virginia Master Naturalists
When: on Friday, March 8th from 5:30-7pm
Where: Huntley Meadows Park – South Kings Hwy entrance
Meet at in the parking lot.
How long: Approximately 2 hours.
Group limit: 15 individuals

Take an evening stroll with a park naturalist through the forest to one of the park’s largest meadows. Listen for the call of the male woodcock and hopefully see his amazing courtship dance and flight. Bring a flashlight. Approximately 1.5 mile walk on uneven terrain. Canceled if rain. Meet at the South Kings Highway entrance to the park.

To register:
1. Login to BI and click on your ‘Opportunities’ tab.
2. Select ‘Opportunity Calendar’ from the pull-down list.
3. Find event in the displayed calendar and click on it to display event details.
4. To sign up, Click on the ‘Sign Up’ box in the lower right. This automatically signs you up and puts the event on your calendar.
5. To claim 2 CE hours: use All Continuing Education -> FMN All other Chapter Training

Cover photo courtesy of FCPA

Enrollment for 2024 Fairfax Tree Steward (FTS)Training Class Open!

Photo: Courtesy of the Fairfax Tree Stewards (FTS)

From Brenda Frank, President

Join the 2024 Fairfax Tree Steward (FTS) training class. Apply here:   See information about the training here: Current FTS Tree Stewards may audit the classes at no cost for continuing education. The program will accept 20 applicants in order of submission. Enrollment closes on February 26, 2024.

The training program will begin on February 27, 2024. Trainees will be required to attend all 10 sessions and field work of approximately 1½ hours each. Make-ups will be accepted for two sessions. All of program instructors are experienced certified arborists. A detailed syllabus will be available soon.

The first and last sessions will be “live,” at a location central to all trainees. The other sessions will be on Zoom and recorded to enable makeup and review. Field sessions on pruning, tree ID, tree selection, and tree diagnostics will be on weekends interspersed among the class sessions.

Become a Fairfax Tree Steward. Sign up today!  

Native Plants of Freshwater Tidal Communities, March 3

Photo of Wild Rice by Mr. Nelson DeBarros

Sunday, March 3, 2023
3:00 PM

No registration is required.
This is an in-person program (no remote option).

Join this presentation on the native plants of Northern Virginia’s freshwater tidal marshes by Nelson DeBarros, a vegetation ecologist with the Fairfax County Park Authority.  The talk will cover several area marshes and their plants, like wild rice, spatterdock and cattails.

The meeting is in person at the Huntley Meadows Visitor Center, 3701 Lockheed Boulevard, Alexandria (Fairfax County) (

The cosponsors of the program are Plant NOVA Natives, Northern Virginia Trout Unlimited, Virginia Native Plant Society, Potowmack Chapter, Friends of Little Hunting Creek, Friends of Accotink Creek and the Friends of Huntley Meadows Park.

Know Your Natives: Deer Tolerance, webinar February 21st

Photo: PennState Extension

Thursday, February 21, 2024
7 – 8 pm
Registration required.

The Penn State Master Gardeners of Westmoreland County presents an informational session on deer-tolerant native plants in the Know Your Natives series. Deer can be both majestic and challenging visitors to our gardens. In this webinar, we’ll explore native plants that have evolved strategies to withstand deer browsing, providing you with valuable insights into creating a garden that thrives even in the company of these troublesome herbivores.

Attend this hour-long webinar to explore gardening methods for coexisting with local deer, understanding plant factors that deter them, and identifying deer-tolerant species for a diverse, beautiful garden.

Winter Symposium & CVNLA Short Course: Gardening for the Future, February 14th & February 15th

Photo: FMN Jennifer Pradas, Pollinator garden

Wednesday, February 14 & Thursday, February 15, 2024
9:00 am – 3:50 pm

In-Person OR Virtually, via Zoom

In-Person Tickets: $100/day or $180 for a 2-day ticket (includes light breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and all-day hot beverage service)
Virtual Tickets: $55/day or $100 for a 2-day ticket (includes access to recorded presentations for a limited time)

Click here for additional information and registration details.

Gardening for the Future

Solving the complex challenges of designing a future that supports the health of our ecosystems and the thriving of all living things on Earth will require collaboration and thoughtful solutions from all corners of the green industry (and beyond!). This year’s symposium explores some of these innovative approaches that are being researched and implemented across the green industry with the goal of moving together toward a resilient future. 

Join this year’s symposium on Wednesday, February 14 and Thursday, February 15 to hear a variety of exciting speakers including Chris Ludwig (Flora of Virginia co-author), Ekene Tharpe (Babylon Micro-Farms), Andrew Freiden (NBC12), Jazmin Albarran (Seed Your Future), Josh Cerra (Cornell University), Richard Olsen (U.S. National Arboretum) and many more.