Identifying Shorebirds with Marc Ribaudo

Online: 12 and 13 August, 7-8 pm
Fee: $25
Limit: 95
Register: Here

This class is recommended for anyone who would like to tackle shorebird identification on their own. Marc will spend two evenings online covering identification tips for shorebirds that can typically be seen in our region. Emphasis will be on shorebirds that pose the biggest identification challenges, such as peeps. He’ll also discuss places to practice and sharpen your new-found skills. A recommended book for this class is The Shorebird Guide by Michael O’Brien, Richard Crossley and Kevin Karlson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006). The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Sibley (Knopf, 2014) is also a good basic field guide.

Instructor: Marc Ribaudo has been birding since he was a teenager in New Jersey in the 1960s. He has a great amount of field experience and is a regular trip leader for the Northern Virginia Bird Club and the Friends of Dyke Marsh.

Virtual Green Breakfast with Clean Fairfax

Saturday, July 11, at 9 AM – 10:30 AM

Hosted by Clean Fairfax and Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District

Snuggle up in the comfort of your own home, with your breakfast and beverage of choice, while joining us online to hear from Jen Cole, Executive Director with the Clean Fairfax Council. While you have been safer at home, have you thought about ways to be greener at home too? Learn why it is important to reduce waste production and consumption and steps we can all take in our day-to-day lives to make our world a little more sustainable.

This event is FREE.

If you have environmental stewardship events that you would like to promote, please send them to Laura.grape@fairfaxcounty.gov and she will share them during the webinar. Face-to-face interaction and networking are two things that make our Green Breakfasts so special. We miss seeing you all and look forward to a time soon when it is safe for all of us to gather again.

Join the meeting, by clicking the following link and using the meeting number and password, included below: 

https://northernvirginiasoilwaterconservationdistrict.my.webex.com/northernvirginiasoilwaterconservationdistrict.my/j.php?MTID=m7ba10ee8ebc650dcdd65ccc8c7dbed8e

Meeting number (access code): 126 436 0508 

Meeting password: Fj2Qdg (352734 from phones and video systems)

To listen to the presentation from a phone, dial 1-415-655-0001

Access Code: 1264360508#

Password: 352734# 

Lessons from the Living Landscape — Our Home Habitat: Webinar, August 3rd

With: Rick Darke 
When: Monday, August 3, 7:30 PM
Fee Options: $5, $10 or $15
To register, click here

Rick Darke and his co-horticulturist wife, Melinda Zoehrer, have been creating and tending their home garden for more than a quarter century. The garden is a living laboratory, devoted to proving how residential landscapes can be beautiful, manageable and joyfully livable while sustaining a vibrant diversity of plant and animal communities. In this presentation Rick will share insights and strategies from what continues to be an inspiring journey.

Rick heads RICK DARKE LLC, an independent design firm focused on conservation-based landscape design and management. His work is grounded in an observational ethic that blends art, ecology and horticulture. His projects include parks, botanic gardens, community landscapes and residential gardens. His many books include The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden, co-authored with Doug Tallamy. For further info visit rickdarke.com.

Sponsors: Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and Plant NOVA Natives.

Butterflies, Waterwise Gardening, Groundcovers and more – Webinars abound!

The Hospitable Gardener
When: July 17, 10-11:30am
Are you interested in inviting butterflies to visit your garden? This talk will help you learn how to be a good host to Lepidoptera, providing cultural tips and plant suggestions to help your winged guests feel at home. Learn more and register.

Groundcovers
When: July 22, 11am-12pm
Do you have spots in your landscape that turf won’t grow, have high erosion potential or you would like to add a little seasonal interest, color and texture? Plan to attend this seminar to help you choose the right groundcover for each place in your landscape. Learn more.

Fruit Trees and Berries for the Urban Landscape: Part II – Natives
When: July 24, 10-11:30am
From shade to supporting wildlife, erosion control, and screening, you can choose a fruit crop to suit your home garden. Learn about growth habits, pros and cons, and how to acquire and care for these native plants. Learn more and register.

Waterwise Gardening
When: July 31, 10-11:30am
We will discuss which plants can best survive our long, hot summers, how to group plants to take advantage of existing water sources, and use of water gardens, rain barrels, and best landscaping practices. Learn more and register.

Soil Your Undies Campaign

The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District is challenging residents all across Fairfax County to bury a pair of cotton underwear as part of a campaign to promote soil health awareness. How does it work? Just bury a pair of cotton underwear and dig it back up after at least 60 days. It’s the quick and dirty way to test the microbial activity in your soil. The more the underwear is deteriorated, the healthier your soil!

Although you can use the Soil Your Undies Challenge to check your soil health at any time, the 2020 NVSWCD Soil Your Undies Challenge runs from July to September 2020.

JOIN THE CHALLENGE!
Step 1: Look for a place where you want to study the health of the soil. Make sure you are only studying sites on your property or with the permission of the landowner.
Step 2: Bury a pair of white cotton undies (or any white cotton clothing item) 3 inches under the soil’s surface. Be sure to take a “before” photo.
Step 3: Don’t forget to mark your study site with a flag or other easily-identifiable marker!
Step 4: Wait at least 60 days (this is the hard part…)
Step 5: Locate your marked study site and dig up your cotton undies. Be sure to take an “after” photo.
Step 6: How healthy is your soil? Healthier soils have a lot of microbial activity, and the healthy fungi and bacteria in the soil will break down your cotton undies. The more degraded your undies are, the more microbial activity you have in your soil, and the healthier your soil is.
Step 7: Share the results of your citizen science project! Email your photos and any notes you may have to conservationdistrict@fairfaxcounty.gov, and share your results with us on Facebook @nvswcd and on Instagram @NorthernVirginiaSWCD. We’ll be sharing our results with you, too!

Learn more about the challenge and soil health here.

Annual Butterfly Count at Clifton Institute

Saturday, July 25, 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Join Clifton Institute, as they host their 25th annual butterfly count and celebrate their 18th year of collaboration with the North American Butterfly Association. 

Novice and experienced butterfly enthusiasts are needed! Citizen scientists will be assigned to small teams, led by an experienced butterfly counter. Teams will survey a variety of sites within our count circle.

Fee: $3 per person (Children 8 and older may participate for free, when accompanied by a parent.)

Register here

Communicating and Acting on Climate Change: A Success Story from Thriving Earth Exchange

Hallandale Beach, Florida operates a Green Initiatives Program within its Department of Public Works to provide sustainability-related information and programs to residents and employees. Most of the City’s Green Initiatives work focuses on Water and Energy Conservation and Recycling. A main impetus for the water conservation focus includes the loss of 6 out of 8 of the City’s freshwater wells to saltwater intrusion in the past decade. In 2018, the City adopted the Sustainability Action Plan which includes short-term and long-term projects to help the City increase its sustainability and resiliency between now and 2040.

Thriving Earth Exchange supported this program. Keep reading for details of how the team carried out its mission, their sensible reflections, and a link to a nifty table top climate change awareness game that you can download and reproduce for your own workshops or classes.

This is a wonderful success story.

Nature’s Notebook Mobile App Course

The Observer Certification Course provides instructions to help you get started using Nature’s Notebook, or provide a refresher if you need one! The organization just released the second module which provides step-by-step instructions on how to use the Nature’s Notebook mobile app. You will learn how to use the app to set up your account, create sites, add plants and animals, and enter and review observations. You will need to be logged into your Nature’s Notebook account to take the course.

Take the course 

Create an account if you do not have one

National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation

The National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI) is launching a new training opportunity: The NNOCCI Crash Course!

This is a 6-week, 25-hour, fee-based online course for those interested in gaining strategic framing skills. 

NNOCCI is a partnership between climate scientists and informal science educators who have public trust and large audiences, and who are dedicated to using our platforms to have productive conversations about climate action.

We operate as a supportive community of practice using and teaching evidence-based tools to inspire hope and action. Together, we can change the national conversation around climate change to be more positive, productive and solutions-focused.

In the Crash Course, participants will learn basic framing elements including why framing matters, values, metaphors, and solutions. These framing techniques are all based on rigorous social science and have been extensively tested across the United States. Participants will create a final project to demonstrate their framing skills and practice critiquing communications with the framing skill rubric. This course is ideal for those who have an interest in learning more about strategic framing to incorporate these techniques into their personal or professional communications. For more information on NNOCCI Training Offerings, visit www.climateinterpreter.org/training.

Benefits of the NNOCCI Crash Course 

1.    Gain skills to engage others on climate change. Training includes a series of online video modules, facilitated webinars, and practice assignments to provide a comprehensive introduction to strategic framing, an overview of NNOCCI tools and messaging, and access to experienced trainers to support you in crafting impactful climate messages.

2.    Accessible from anywhere. This online, 6-week, 25-hour module provides a comprehensive overview of strategic framing tools from the comfort of your home/office.

3.    Network with like-minded individuals across the country. Expand your professional network and explore the challenges, opportunities, and best practices of climate communication within a supportive community of practice.

4.    Join the NNOCCI Network. NNOCCI has built and fostered a community of practice to help scientists and science educators share best practices and challenges of communicating climate research. NNOCCI’s reach is broad, with a network of more than 440 individual members from 184 informal science learning centers across 38 states.

Course Offerings:

  • Summer Course taking place the weeks of July 12th through August 16th, 2020
  • Fall Course taking place the weeks of October 11th through November 15th, 2020

Course Sizes: Courses will range in size from 20 to 40 participants. For courses with 30+ participants, the cohorts may be divided into smaller groups.

Additional Program Details: The cost of the course is $249/person with additional discounts for attendees joining in groups of 5 (5%), 10 (10%) and 20 (20%) people.

How to Apply: Applications are live. Please reach out to NNOCCI@neaq.org with questions in the meantime.

More info and FAQs: https://climateinterpreter.org/content/nnoccis-new-online-crash-course

Registration: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeS8r2pIoO0igoey_T6awUer6xuARSv24mQd3gXRmSSBpgavw/viewform

A Chance for Some Fun!

Do you work in the Natural Resources field? Do you think you know a lot of about Natural Resources? Do you want a chance to test your knowledge? 

Due to Covid-19, the 2020 Virginia Dominion Energy Envirothon competition was cancelled and pivoted to an online testing week where 9th-12th graders from all of Virginia tested their knowledge in Aquatics, Forestry, Soils, Wildlife and Water Resource Management.

But seeing the interest, the Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts Educational Foundation wanted to offer a chance for adults to test their knowledge in Aquatics, Forestry, Soils, Wildlife, and Water Resource Management.

WHAT: The Natural Resources (Adult) Test Week will be 5 tests. Each test will have a 25-minute time limit.

Test Areas include:

  • Aquatics
  • Forestry
  • Soils
  • Wildlife
  • Water Resource Management: Local Control and Local Solutions

You can sign up to take one or all of the tests.

HOW: To sign up to take the tests, visit this link to register.  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7H6T585

If you register, you agree to not look up answers.

WHAT THEN? You will receive links to the test(s) on Monday, June 22, and must complete the test(s) by midnight on Sunday, June 28. Top scoring participants will be recognized by the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD) Facebook page.

Please share this email with anyone you know who would be interested in testing their natural resources knowledge.

QUESTIONS: Please email Bonnie Mahl: Bonnie.Mahl@vaswcd.org

Website www.vaswcd.org