What a Warming World Means for Plants, Pests and Pollinators, webinar, June 18th

Photo: Courtesy of SERC

Tuesday, June 18, 2024
7 pm
Register here.

How will a hotter planet reshape the insect world? In the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) June evening webinar, join entomologist and author Michael Raupp for a look at the future of insects, both pests and pollinators. He will reveal how climate change is shifting weather patterns around the globe, and what that means for insects and mites in the mid-Atlantic. Learn how rising temperatures impact insect abundance, distributions, seasonal behaviors and the web of interactions among plants, herbivores and their natural enemies.

Michael Raupp

Professor Emeritus·University of Maryland

Mike is professor emeritus at the University of Maryland. He has received more than a dozen international, national and regional awards for writing, scholarship and scientific outreach. Mike has appeared on major television and radio networks in this country and several abroad, and been featured in National Geographic Ultimate Explorer, Science Channel and PBS. He has appeared with luminaries including Jay Leno, Hoda Kotb and Robin Roberts. His “Bug of the Week” website, www.bugoftheweek.com, and Youtube channel (www.youtube.com/user/BugOfTheWeek) reach tens of thousands of viewers weekly in more than 200 countries around the world. His most recent book, “26 Things That Bug Me,” introduces youngsters to the wonders of insects and natural history, while “Managing Insect and Mites on Woody Plants” is a standard for the arboricultural industry.

Bull Run Mountain – Ethnobotany Hike

A wonderful day was enjoyed by all FMN in attendance on 18 May 2024 with our friends at Virginia Outdoor Foundation (FOV). FMN had 12 people attend the sui generis hike on Saturday at the Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve. Richard Volk commented, “I had not previously been to the Preserve and enjoyed every minute of it (or should I say the 3.5 hours in the mostly light rain). Amber Miller, with Virginia Outdoor Foundation (VOF), was an excellent tour guide, full of information about the history of the area and its First Nation, African American, and white settler inhabitants. We saw and discussed the medicinal and cultural uses of dozens of plants. VOF will be hosting additional guided tours … I look forward to going back for more! “.

FMN Kristin Bauersfeld saw some unique plants, learned new facts, and echoed Richard’s sentiments of the unique opportunity, “it was a great experience”.

FMN Maryam Dadkhah provided all the photos in this article and several more but I could only squeeze a few in due to space constraints.

Here is a sample of things the group discovered during the hike.

Diphasiastrum digitatum – photo M. Dadkhah

Diphasiastrum digitatum – has many species known under common names of groundcedar, running cedar, or crowsfoot, but the most common name, fan clubmoss, specifically refers to the pictured species. It is the most common species in North America. Club mosses belong to a Class of plants called Lycophytes, which are more closely related to ferns and other vascular plants. Like ferns, club mosses are seedless plants, which means they reproduce by releasing a large number of extremely tiny spores
Did You Know? – Club moss spores and teas from plant leaves have been used since early times in both Native American and European cultures. Medicinal uses included treating urinary tract problems, diarrhea, and other digestive tract problems; relieving headaches and skin ailments; and inducing labor in pregnancy. This species was also once one of the principal clubmoss species used for collection of lycopodium powder, used as a primitive flashpowder.

Chimaphila maculataPhoto M. Dadkhah

Chimaphila maculata – spotted or striped wintergreen, striped prince’s pine, spotted pipsissewa, ratsbane, or rheumatism root. It is a small, ever-green herb native to eastern North American and elsewhere.
Did You Know? – The Creek tribe called it ‘pipsisikweu’ – which means ‘breaks into small pieces’ – after the supposed ability to break down gallstones and kidney stones. Native Americans used its leaf tea to treat rheumatism and stomach problems; crushed leaves were applied as a poultice to sores and wounds.

Kalmia latifolia – photo M. Dadkhah

Kalmia latifolia – mountain laurel, calico-bush, or spoonwood, is a species of flowering plant in the heath family (Ericaceae), native to the eastern US. Its range is Maine to Florida, as far west as Missouri.
Did You Know? – Kalmia latifolia is known as spoonwood because Native Americans used it to make their spoons out of it.
The plant was first recorded in America in 1624, but it was named after the Finnish explorer and botanist Pehr Kalm (1716–1779), who sent samples to Linnaeus.

Medeola virginiana – photo M. Dadkhah

Medeola virginiana – known as Indian cucumber, cucumber root, or Indian cucumber-root, is an eastern North American plant species in the lily family. It is the only currently recognized plant species in the genus Medeola. It grows in forest understory in Piedmont regions such as the Appalachian mountains.
Did You Know? – The plant bears edible rhizomes that taste mildly like cucumbers.

 

 

 

Notophthalmus viridescens – photo M. Dadkhah

The Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) – is a common newt of eastern North America. It frequents small lakes, ponds, and streams or nearby wet forests, changing colors and body functions during stages of maturity.
Did You Know? – The eastern newt produces tetrodotoxin which makes the species unpalatable to most predatory fish and birds. It can be mildly toxic to humans when handled extensively. Hopefully no one became ill during the making of this photograph. The newt has a lifespan of 12 to 15 years in the wild, and it may grow to 5 in (13 cm) in length.

Gorgeous Terrapene carolina carolina – photo M. Dadkhah

The Woodland box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) – is a subspecies within a group of hinge-shelled turtles normally called box-turtles. T. c. carolina is native to a wide range of eastern North America. While in the pond turtle family, Emydidae, and not a tortoise, the box turtle is largely terrestrial.
Did You Know? – Box turtle’s lifespan is 30-50 years and is the only turtle that can completely close up in its own shell – hence the name. Males tend to have red eyes and females tend to have brown eyes. The turtle’s carapace was used in Native culture as a bowl or scoop.

Cover photo: Epigaea repens – trailing arbutus, or ground laurel, is a low, spreading plant in the family Ericaceae. It is found from Newfoundland to Florida and west to Kentucky. The plant is a slow-growing, sprawling shrub that prefers moist, shady habitats and acidic (humus-rich) soil. It is often part of the heath complex in an oak-heath forest.
Did You Know? – The Algonquin use an infusion of leaves for kidney disorders. The Cherokee use a decoction of the plant to induce vomiting, treat abdominal pain, and they give an infusion of the plant to children for diarrhea. The Iroquois use a compound for labor pains in parturition, use a compound decoction for rheumatism and indigestion.

Kristin added a few more examples of plants discovered during the hike. “We saw so many things, obviously there isn’t room to list them all: wild comfrey (bronchodilator, anti-inflammatory), spicebush (tea, spice), mustard garlic (introduced to help with soil erosion), jewelweed (use on poison oak/ivy rashes), nettles, elderberry, American jumpseed… the list goes on!  Amber also made a point about how non-native plants like multiflora rose that we love to hate has been around long enough that people have found uses for it, such as using the rose hips or flower as an astringent.”

There you have it. If you want to learn more be sure to sign up for the next trip (TBD).

The hikers – Photo M. Dadkhah

Acknowledgements:
Thank you to Richard and Kristin for contributing to this article and to Maryam for providing the wonderful photos.
A big thank you to Amber Miller, a research Fellow for Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) Bull Run Mountain Natural Area Preserve for making the best of a rainy day by leading an entertaining and informative hike. Last but not least, the VOF sweeper Janet, added her own knowledge and kept the group together.

Stream Monitoring Citizen Science & Training Opportunities, June

Photo: FMN Janet Quinn, Hidden Pond stream monitoring

NoVa Soil & Water Conservation District: Stream Monitoring Citizen Science & Training Opportunities

Horsepen Run Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Sunday, June 9, 9:00am-12:00pm

Where: Horsepen Run Stream Valley Park, Herndon

This site has undergone a lot of change over the last few years! While it had become more challenging to monitor this site in the past, recent changes to the streambed have brought more riffles to monitor and we’re excited to see how this changes the macroinvertebrates we may find! This is an accessible stream site, which can be reached by wheelchair and/or other assistive tools over a paved path (there is a moderate slope). Learn more and register for this workshop and others here.

 

Wolftrap Creek Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Thursday, June 13, 9:00am-12:00pm

Where: Wolftrap Creek Stream Valley Park, Vienna

This site features a small, shallow stream which usually has a good number of beetles along a popular paved trail. This is an accessible stream site, which can be reached by wheelchair and/or other assistive tools over a paved path (there is a moderate slope). Learn more and register for this workshop and others here.

 

Pohick Creek Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Saturday, June 15, 9:00am-12:00pm

Where: Pohick Creek Stream Valley Park, Springfield

Our stream monitoring site on Pohick Creek is located on the cross county trail, popular with runners, dog walkers, and families. This is the largest and deepest stream that we monitor in our public workshops. This is an accessible stream site, which can be reached by wheelchair and/or other assistive tools over a paved path (there may be some uneven spots). Learn more and register for this workshop and others here.

 

Other 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.

William Ramsay Science Night

 Cover photo – Jerry Nissley

William Ramsay Elementary in Alexandria is an interesting facility, housing the school, a recreation center, and the Buddie Ford Nature Center. Hosting the first annual Science Night was a natural neighborhood outreach for the school. They were indeed a gracious host too providing dinner, signage, and setup assistance for all the volunteers.

FMN’s connection to the event is Peter Jones, an FMN member and EL teacher at William Ramsay. FMN responded to Peter’s call for volunteers with two nature related topics.

FMN Tom Blackburn with Audubon display – Photo Peter Jones

Tom Blackburn donned his Audubon hat and provided a colorful interactive presentation on “Birds and Beaks”. Jerry Nissley was there with “Turtle Talk”, a fun-fact-filled show and tell display focused on Woodland Box turtles.
The event was set up in the rec-center gym and included tables on a myriad of environmental topics such as Energy Concepts, Water Cycle, Climate Action, and Air Quality Technologies. On the nature side, Buddie Ford Nature Center, Geology and Minerals, Entomology (drawers of awesome bugs from USDA collection housed at Natural History Museum), Pollinators, Spotted Lantern Fly, and the aforementioned Birds and Turtles all had tables.

FMN Jerry Nissley talkin turtles – Photo Peter Jones

Vesta Nelson, Science Coach at Ramsay followed up with a message to the volunteers saying, “WOW! We had over 300 visitors last night.  We weren’t getting a lot of feedback about kids attending, so I really didn’t think it was going to be that big.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Words cannot express how thankful I am because you all really did an AMAZING JOB! The kids learned a lot!  I couldn’t believe what they remembered. We do shout outs at our school and the 4th and 5th graders gave us a lot of shout outs! WOO HOO! I’m so pleased with how it turned out.”

Ethnobotany and Floral Folklore with Alonso Abugattas, May 16

Photos by Alonso Abugattas

Thursday, May 16, 2024
7:00 – 8:00 PM

Virtual Seminar
ASNV Member ticket: $15 (Non-member ticket: $25)

Registration required!

Ethnobotany is the study of how people relate to and use plants in their lives, be it for food, medicine, tools, and many other ways. Learn about plant folklore and how people here used locally native and commonly available plants in the past. Alonso Abugattas will review the natural history of various plants, and provide some tips and references for finding out more about the various native plants.

Alonso Abugattas (The Capital Naturalist) is a well-known local naturalist, environmental educator, and storyteller in the Washington, DC area. He is the Natural Resources Manager for Arlington County Parks and the long-time Co-Chair for the Beltway Chapter of Region 2 of the National Association for Interpretation, the professional association for naturalists, historians, and docents. He is a former officer with the Virginia Native Plant Society, including past president of the Potowmack Chapter. He was awarded their Regional Outstanding Interpretive Manager Award in 2018 and the national Master Interpretive Manager in 2018.

Common Plant Family Identification Workshop, June 15th

Image: Courtesy of the Clifton Institute

Saturday, June 15, 2024
10:00 am – 12:00 pm

The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Rd
Warrenton, VA 20187

Cost: FREE

Registration is REQUIRED.

If you’re learning to identify plants, learning the common families can really help narrow down your options when you’re faced with an unfamiliar specimen. If you already know a few plants, learning their families can provide a useful framework to help organize all the species rattling around in your brain. Whatever level you’re at, learning to identify the plant families around us is a really fun way to get to know the natural world. In this program, Managing Director Eleanor Harris will give a brief talk on the ways to identify the most common plant families in Virginia. Then she will lead a short walk in the Institue’s fields to practice your plant family identification skills!

 

 

Dragonfly Identification Workshop, June 14th

Image: Courtesy of the Clifton Institute

Friday, June 14, 2024
10:30 am – 12:30 pm

The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Rd
Warrenton, VA 20187

Cost: FREE

Registration is REQUIRED.

Dragonflies and damselflies are some of the most mysterious and beautiful animals that live at the Clifton Institute, and June is the perfect time to search for them. Join participants for a workshop that will cover the basics of dragonfly identification and biology. They will then practice what they learned by visiting lakes, streams, and fish-free vernal pools, each of which host distinct dragonfly communities. You are welcome to bring a lunch and eat on picnic tables after the program.

Cancellation policy: If you register and can no longer attend this event, please let the Clifton Institute know as soon as possible so that they can open your spot to someone else.

 

The Basics of Bird Anatomy with Dr. Kathleen Hunt, May 20th

Image: Bird Guide Part 2, Chas. K. Reed, Public Domain

Monday, May 20, 2024
7:00 – 8:00 PM

Virtual Seminar
ASNV Member ticket: $15 (Non-member ticket: $25)

Registration required!

Have you ever wondered what a secondary feather is, what a wishbone or a gizzard is for, how an eggshell is made, or why birds don’t have teeth? In this overview of bird anatomy, Dr. Kathleen Hunt (Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation) will explain how a bird’s body is put together and how it all works. Dr. Hunt will go over the visible features that are useful for birding identification, and then take a peek inside at some ingenious internal features like the lightweight skeleton and the avian air sac system. By the end of the class you may be envious of the birds’ design!

Kathleen E. Hunt, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at George Mason University. She is a physiologist and endocrinologist with a strong interest in applied conservation physiology. Most of Dr. Hunt’s research interests center on impacts of environmental and anthropogenic stress on reproduction and health of free-ranging vertebrates, with an emphasis on applications for conservation. She has studied nest timing, nest success, and the effect of environmental change on Arctic tundra birds and avian malaria on native Hawaiian birds.

Stream Monitoring Citizen Science & Training Opportunities, May

Photo: FMN Janet Quinn, Hidden Pond stream monitoring

*NVSWCD Workshop*
Sugarland Run Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Thursday, May 2, 3:00-6:00pm
Where: Sugarland Run Stream Valley Park, Herndon/Sterling

This site is located near one of the largest great blue heron rookeries (breeding/nesting areas) in the eastern US. Volunteers often find plenty of newly hatched young crayfish in the spring. This is also the most accessible stream site, which can be easily reached by wheelchair and/or other assistive tools over a paved path. Learn more and register for this workshop and others here.

*NVSWCD Workshop*
Little Difficult Run Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Saturday, May 11, 1:00-4:00pm
Where: Fred Crabtree Park/Fox Mill Park, Herndon

This small stream is located in a peaceful wooded park a short hike away from the parking area. Little Difficult Run often scores very highly on the macroinvertebrate index because its watershed lies almost completely within the protected parkland. Reaching this site requires hiking through the woods and over uneven terrain. Learn more and register for this workshop and others here.

*NVSWCD Workshop*
Quander Creek/Dyke Marsh Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Thursday, May 16, 9:00am-1:00pm
Where: Mount Vernon District Park, Alexandria

Volunteers monitor a small tributary of Dyke Marsh twice this spring in partnership with the Friends of Dyke Marsh. This is the District’s only muddy bottom stream, all others use the rocky bottom protocol. You will see a lot of cool crane fly larva and dragonfly larva here! Reaching this site requires walking through the woods and over uneven terrain. Space at this workshop is limited. If you’re interested in joining us, please email Ashley.

*NVSWCD Workshop*
Horsepen Run Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Thursday, May 23, 3:00-6:00pm
Where: Horsepen Run Stream Valley Park, Herndon

This site has undergone a lot of change over the last few years! While it had become more challenging to monitor this site in the past, recent changes to the streambed have brought more riffles to monitor and we’re excited to see how this changes the macroinvertebrates we may find! This is an accessible stream site, which can be reached by wheelchair and/or other assistive tools over a paved path (there is a moderate slope). 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.

Spring Creatures of The Night, May 17th

Image: Courtesy of the Clifton Institute

Friday, May 17, 2024
8:00 – 9:30PM

The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Rd
Warrenton, VA 20187

Cost: FREE

Registration is REQUIRED.

Join the Clifton Institute for a night-time exploration of their trails and vernal pools while participants listen for frog calls, look for insects, and see what animals swimming in the ponds.

Cancellation policy: If you register and can no longer attend this event, please let the Clifton Institute know as soon as possible so that they can open your spot to someone else.

By registering for this event, you are affirming that you have read and agree to the Clifton Institute liability release policy.