Winter Tree Identification Workshop, January 28th

Image: Courtesy of The Clifton Institute

Saturday, January 28, 2023
1-3 pm

The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road
Warrenton, Virginia 20187

Cost: $10 ($5 for Friends of the Clifton Institute)

Registration is required!

Winter is a great time of year to learn how to identify trees and to practice looking at bark and twigs. In this program, instructors will take you on a short walk in the woods and talk about the tips and tricks to identify the most common trees in the forests. This program is meant for beginners. Advanced botanists are welcome but you may teach the class more than the instructors teach you! If you would like to start practicing now or if you would like to bring some resources with you, we recommend the book Winter Tree Finder by May Theilgaard Watts and Tom Watts, the Flora of Virginia app, and the Virginia Tech Tree ID app.

Research Talk: American Kestrel Nesting Habitat, January 27th

Image: Courtesy of The Clifton Institute

Friday, January 27, 2023
7-8 pm
Virtual event
Cost: Free

Registration is required!

Join Executive Director Bert Harris to hear the latest on American Kestrel research. The researchers have been studying these declining falcons for two years and they have learned so much about the habitats the Kestrels use for hunting. Cattle pastures are preferred over all other kinds of fields and the researchers are trying to find out why. They also now know that at least some of northern Virginia’s kestrels are migratory and that their territories are smaller here than in other parts of North America. This research is a collaborative project with Joe Kolowski from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and Alan Williams. The work is funded by the Raines Family Fund, Nick Lapham, the Virginia Society of Ornithology, the Washington Biologists Field Club, and Janine Moseley.

A link to the Zoom meeting will be sent a few days prior to the talk. Please make sure your email address is up to date!

Join this meeting to hear the latest and learn how you can help kestrels.

Winter Bird Walks – Hosted by The Clifton Institute, January and February

Image: Courtesy of the Clifton Institute

Join The Clifton Institute for a series of Winter bird walks starting this January and February. They will be held on the second Wednesday and fourth Saturday of the month. Please click on the links below for additional details and registration information.

1 – 3 pm
8: 30 – 10:30 am
8 – 10 am
8:30 – 10:30 am
Cost: Free
Registration is required!

The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road
Warrenton, Virginia 20187



Pollinator Habitat 101 – 5-week webinar recordings

 Photo by Dr. Jim Cane, USDA ARS Bee Biology and Systematics Laboratory, Logan, Utah.

A 5-session webinar series held from October 14th through November 11th, 2022

Find readings, links and resources for each session under the Learn With Us tab.

Doug Tallamy, University of Delaware
Pollinators’ Best Hope: A New Approach to Pollinator Habitat That Starts in Your Yard

Harland Patch, Penn State University
Creating Pollinator Gardens: The Role of Plant Choice and Design

Heather Holm, Author and Biologist
Creating and Managing Habitat for Native Bees

Matthew Shepherd, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
Deciding To Create a Pollinator Garden Is the Easy Step — What To Do Next?

Shana Byrd, The Dawes Arboretum
Getting Started with Wildflower Patches, Flower Strips, and Meadows

All webinars were recorded and posted on the PH101 website Recordings tab.

This program is funded in part by a USDA/NIFA Integrated Pest Management Pollinator Health grant. The webinars will be presented with automated closed captions. If you wish to request traditional CART services or other accommodations, please contact Denise Ellsworth at

Learn Through Nature Journaling, January and February Classes

Photo: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

Saturday, January 14, 2023
Saturdays, February 4, 11 & 18, 2023
Hidden Oaks Nature Center
7701 Royce Street, Annandale
To sign up: Call 703-222-4664 weekdays 9am- 4pm or log into Parktakes by using  The codes can be helpful in locating the classes.

Improve your naturalist observation skills and add excitement to your nature journals! Naturalist and artist Avery Gunther presents her popular nature drawing classes.

Sat. January 14, 2023- 10am-12pm – Drawing Outer Space with Oil Pastels (adults 16 and up) $20  Code: MIK.WW3E

Have you been inspired by the James Webb Telescope pictures?  Learn some fun facts about outer space and moon craters.  Learn how moon craters form with a hands-on science activity.  Learn about oil pastels, then try your hand at drawing nebulas, planets, comets, galaxies and more on black paper.  All materials included.

Sat. Feb 4, 11 & 18 – 9:30-11:30am- Drawing Weather and Skies (adults age 16 and up) $60  Code: 22N.19UM
The sky is dynamic and ever changing. Learn how to creatively add weather data and information to your journal. Discover techniques for drawing and painting skyscapes, clouds , snowflakes, frost and more. Media discussed will include: watercolor, oil pastel, watercolor and regular colored pencils, ink and gel pen. Many materials will be available to borrow in class.
If the county closes due to bad weather, you would receive a credit on your account.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email Avery,

FMNs: These classes are approved FMN CE.  Record hours in Better Impact under Continuing Education > All Continuing Education.  For Approved CE Organization, choose Fairfax County Park Authority training.  In Description, include the name of the class.

Make Room for Turkeys! November 20th

Photo courtesy of the National Wild Turkey Federation, A female (hen) wild turkey in front of a male (tom)

Sunday, November 20, 2022
3-4 pm

Visitor Center & Amphitheater
5040 Walney Road
Chantilly, VA, 20151

Fee: $8.00
Register here.

Turkeys are native to the Americas and have been everything from decorative to Thanksgiving centerpiece. They’ve been here for 10 million years but how can you make sure they have a place here for a million more? Find out more about the role of turkeys in different cultures and how important habitat restoration will make room for turkeys!

Beginner Lichen Identification Workshop, December 17th

Photo/Image: Clifton Institute Beginner Lichen Identification Workshop

Saturday, December 17, 2022
1-3 pm

The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road, Warrenton, VA
38.775154, -77.798197

$10 ($8 for Friends of the Clifton Institute)
Register here.

Lichens: part algae, part fungi, all mystery! Did you know that we have more than 400 species of lichens in our region and that many of them can be identified with a little practice and a hand lens? Lichens in our area are diverse in their appearance, in where they grow, and in how they reproduce. The northern Piedmont is a great place to learn lichens because we have a fascinating blend of mountain and coastal plain species. The 900-acre Clifton Institute hosts at least 75 species, including some mature forest specialists like the Shaggy Fringe Lichen.

In this program, lichenologist and mycology teacher at George Mason UN Dr. Natalie Howe will teach us the basics of lichen biology and then lead us on a walk around the field station to see how many species we can find. No experience with lichens is necessary.

ASNV Project FeederWatch Workshop with Greg Butcher, November 22nd

Photo: Northern Cardinal by Alexis Hayes

Tuesday, November 22,2022
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Workshop is virtual
Workshop is FREE

Please click here to register. 

Project FeederWatch is the easiest citizen science you will ever do!

From the comfort of your home, you simply count the winter birds that visit your feeders and report your data to Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

This FREE workshop will cover a bit of Project FeederWatch history, its purpose, tips for identifying birds, and the protocols to be followed while counting. After the presentation, your identification skills will be tested with a Kahoot!

Greg Butcher is a Ph.D. ornithologist and Audubon Society of Northern Virginia (ASNV) board member. In addition to the U.S. Forest Service, Greg has worked for the National Audubon Society, American Birding Association, Partners in Flight, Birder’s World magazine, and Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Greg is a lively and informative public speaker and interpreter for bird conservation and ecology worldwide.

Beginner Grass Identification Workshop, December 10th

Image: Courtesy of Clifton Institute

Saturday, December 10, 2022
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Fee: $8.00 – $10.00
Click here for registration.

The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road, Warrenton, VA
38.775154, -77.798197

At first glance, it might seem like grasses all look the same and that they don’t offer the same beauty that showy flowers do. But you may find it’s worth taking the time to learn to tell grasses apart and to appreciate their unique beauty. And winter is a great time to do it because the grasses have gone to seed and are easy to see in an otherwise quiescent landscape. In this workshop for beginners, Executive Director Bert Harris will take participants on a walk through some of the Institute’s fields and teach participants how to identify common grasses.


Songbird Research: Prothonotary Warblers with Shirley Devan, Webinar December 15th

Photo: Prothonotary Warbler, Heather Orkis/Audubon Photography Awards

Thursday, December 15, 2022
7-8 pm
ASNV Members $15/Nonmembers $25
Register here.

Cure your winter blues with a pop of yellow! Learn all about the Prothonotary Warbler, the only Eastern warbler species that nests in cavities. Populations of this striking bird, affectionately described by some as a “flying lemon,” have declined by 34 percent since 1970. It is a watch list species for Partners in Flight. The Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory (CVWO) has been studying the species since 1995 by banding and monitoring nestlings at 130+ nesting boxes along Virginia’s coast. Shirley Devan, a member of the board of directors for the CVWO, will provide a brief life history of the Prothonotary Warbler. She also will describe CVWO’s banding efforts and what the organization has learned in the process. You also can expect to see some great photos. Brought to you by Audubon Society of Northern Virginia.