Be a Citizen Scientist at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts! Bluebird and Purple Martin monitors needed. Training March 15th

Orientation and Training
Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
1551 Trap Road, Vienna, VA 22182
Sunday, 15 March 2020
1:00 to 3:30 pm

The National Park Service and Friends of Wolf Trap, would like to enlist the help of a team of volunteers who would form a Bird House Monitoring Team to monitor and maintain the Bluebird boxes and Purple Martin housing at the Park. No experience is necessary, as volunteers would be provided with training and guidance by our lead bluebird trail volunteer, Mr. Dale Thornton. Volunteers would learn about Bluebird stewardship efforts, including how to monitor the nest boxes, nest identification, and collecting and reporting nesting data to track population trends. In addition, volunteers would receive training from Mr. Mike Bishop of the Northern Virginia Purple Martin Initiative who will provide an overview of the Purple Martin and the process for monitoring and maintaining the colony.

The bluebird and purple martin monitoring season typically starts in late March and continues through August.  Nests are monitored on a weekly basis during the spring/summer nesting season and volunteers will help with box repair and maintenance during the off season, on an as-needed basis.  A team of trained monitors who will work on a rotating basis throughout the season and continue next year and into future seasons.  Ideally, each trained volunteer would be on a three- or four-week rotation; however, the monitoring schedule and associated details will partly depend upon how many people choose to volunteer.

The interested volunteers should be adults who have received the appropriate training and hands-on experience monitoring bluebirds on the Wolf Trap bluebird trail.  Children under the supervision of the trained volunteer monitor are welcome to assist the volunteer while they are conducting their monitoring duties.

Interested volunteers please sign up here. For more information, contact Allen Hoffman (Friends of Wolf Trap and FMN)

Master Naturalists may receive service hours at S263, Wolf Trap Stewardship Projects.

Derelict Crab Traps and How Volunteers Can Help

2020 VMN Continuing Education Webinar Series

When: Wednesday, March 4, 2020, 12:00 pm

Meeting Number: 863-745-357

Link to Join: Join Webinar

Link for recordings of this and past webinars:

VMN Continuing Education Webinar page

Reminder – We still have our February webinar on February 25, discussing feral swine management. Information on that is on the CE Webinar page.

Derelict fishing gear represents a major challenge to marine resource management through deliberate abandonment or accidental loss. Derelict crab traps in particular have significant negative effects, both economic (e.g., reduced fishery harvest from ghost fishing and reduced efficiency of active gear) and ecological (e.g., crab, fish and other animal mortality). This webinar will discuss the derelict crab trap issue in the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay, the recent commercial waterman removal effort, and how volunteer Citizen Scientists can help.

Volunteers who are interested in participating in this project in the 2020 season should request approval from their chapter now, because the period for marking and removing traps ends March 14, 2020. Volunteers must register with the project, be 18 years of age, have a smartphone, and have an email address. For additional information and registration, visit the Crab Trap page. We have a project proposal form that you can take to your chapter available here.
Kirk Havens received his B.S. in Biology and M.S. in Oceanography from Old Dominion University and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Public Policy from George Mason University. He is a Research Associate Professor, and Assistant Director of the Center for Coastal Resources Management at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. He also serves as a collaborating partner in the William & Mary School of Law, Virginia Coastal Policy Center. His research has spanned topics as diverse as hormonal activity in blue crabs to tracking black bears and panthers using helicopters and thermal imaging equipment. His present work involves wetlands ecology, adaptive management processes, marine debris, micro-plastics, and biopolymers. He hosts the VIMS event “A Healthy Bay for Healthy Kids: Cooking with Virginia’s First Lady” and the public service segments “Chesapeake Bay Watch with Dr. Kirk Havens”. He serves as the gubernatorial appointee to the Chesapeake Bay Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee and is a past chair of the Committee. He was originally appointed by Gov. Warner and re-appointed by Governors Kaine, McDonnell, McAuliffe and Northam. He also serves as the chair of the Leadership Council for the North Carolina Albemarle Pamlico National Estuary Partnership. He lives in King & Queen County, Virginia with his wife, Karla, and son Kade where he serves as the chair of the County Wetlands Board.

Ornithology Topics: Avian Biology, Spring Session (The Study of Birds)

National Wildlife Federation
11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Reston, VA 20190
Tuesdays, 24 March – 5 May 2020
7 – 9 pm
Cost: $250 ASNV members, $275 non-members

Join Dr. Chris Haney for a new class, “Ornithology Topics: Avian Biology, Spring Session.” There is no prerequisite for this course and it does not repeat the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia’s fall session of Ornithology but offers all new material.

This course is designed and presented at an introductory, university level in 6 parts, with each classroom session 2 hours long. Ornithology Topics: Avian Biology will feature major underpinnings to ornithology within the fundamental context of U.S. national history. Topics covered in Part 2 of this class will encompass: bird song; avian diet and foraging; mate selection and social behaviors of birds; breeding biology (incubation, chick-rearing, post-natal care); bird populations; and avian conservation and sustainable management. Instructional presentations will include PowerPoint slides, auditory or video supplements, and some in-class participatory exercises. Each night’s classroom lecture will be made available to all participants in PDF format by the following day.

Required textbook: Manual of Ornithology: Avian Structure and Function, 1993, Procter and Lynch, ISBN-10: 0300076193

Optional textbook: Handbook of Bird Biology (Cornell Lab of Ornithology), 3rd edition, 2016, Lovette and Fitzpatrick, ISBN-10: 1118291050

Recommended supplement: The National Geographic Society’s Field Guide to the Birds of America, The Sibley Guide to Birds, or a similar guide for field identification

Register here.

February Author Lecture: Dr. Doug Tallamy

February 23, 2020 03:00 pm – 05:00 pm

Location: Manassas Park Community Center, 99 Adams Dr, Manassas Park, Virginia

Join the Prince William Wildflower Society for February’s Author Lecture, given by renowned entomologist and ecologist Doug Tallamy. Dr. Tallamy will have his new book available for signing, Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard. (Timber Press, Available February 4, 2020) 

Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 95 research publications and has taught insect related courses for 39 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His book Bringing Nature Home was awarded the 2008 Silver Medal by the Garden Writers’ Association. The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke, was published in 2014.  Among his awards are the Garden Club of America Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation and the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence, and the 2018 AHS B.Y. Morrison Communication Award.

For more information, click here.

Simple composting for the whole family, Mar. 7th

Belvedere Elementary School
6540 Columbia Pike, Falls Church VA
Rooms 136/138; Enter at Door #2
Saturday, 7 March 2020
10 – 11:30 am

Curious about composting? Learn how it can work for you and your family. There is something for the children too!

In this family-friendly workshop presented by the Fairfax Food Council, learn how your food waste and shredded office paper can save you money and enrich your property. Fairfax County Extension Agent Adria Bordas will demonstrate the basics of home composting, including how to build simple, inexpensive composters if you don’t want to buy one.

Environmental educators Ivy Mitchell and Stacey Evers will entertain children in the adjacent room, providing hands-on activities with worms, worm composting and gardening basics. Organic waste is the second largest contributor to landfills, so come find out how easy it is to be part of the solution!

Questions? Email Stacey Evers at

Please register for this workshop by March 1st.

FMN Quarterly Chapter Meeting and Bluebird Box Monitoring presentation, Mar. 16th — CANCELLED!

Hidden Oaks Nature Center
7701 Royce St., Annandale VA
Monday, 16 March 2020
7:30 pm

The Fairfax Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalists will hold a short quarterly chapter meeting which will be followed by a presentation from volunteers who monitor bluebird boxes. They work on behalf of the Virginia Bluebird Society which was founded in 1996 to promote bluebirds and other native cavity nesters. Volunteers record data and ensure that boxes are clean and free of pests to promote bluebird breeding success.

The meeting is free and open to the public. Please join us to learn about this worthwhile project and how you can become a nest box volunteer.

Parking at Hidden Oaks is limited, but there is overflow parking at the Fred M. Packard Center, 4022 Hummer Rd., Annandale, VA 22003. It is just a short walk along a wooded trail to the Hidden Oaks Nature Center from the parking lot.

Master naturalists earn one hour of continuing education credit for the presentation and can record service hours under code C034: Bluebird Trails if they participate in the project.

“Audubon at Home” program presentation, Mar. 21st

Jammes House
Mason Neck State Park
Saturday, March 21, 2020
2 pm

The Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and Plant Nova Natives will present “Creating a Wildlife Sanctuary on Your Property: The Audubon at Home Program” at 2 PM on March 21. The program will explain the importance of native plants to restoring and maintaining a balanced ecosystem and give guidance on how to do it.

The program is free and is open to everyone. The Friends of Mason Neck State Park, which is hosting the program, will provide light refreshments. Registration for the program will open on February 15. Space will be limited, so be sure to register as soon as you can.

Let’s Get Growing Symposium, March 21st

Leesburg Community Church
835 Lee Avenue, SW, Leesburg VA 20176
Saturday, 21 March 2020
9 am – 4 pm

Join the Loudoun County Master Gardeners at their 11th Annual Gardening Symposium featuring noted speakers, knowledgeable practitioners, plant sellers and vendors of garden related items The Symposium is a great way to get motivated and jump into the spring gardening season with new information and refreshed enthusiasm.

More information and registration here.

Getting to Know and Love Your Ferns, Feb.13th

A talk by Kit Sheffield

Green Spring Gardens 
4603 Green Spring Road 
Alexandria, VA 22312 
Thursday, February 13, 2020
7:30 – 9:00 pm 

Please join the Potowmack Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society for a talk by Kit Sheffield, who will answer the following
questions: What is a fern and what makes it different from other organisms? What is a “fern ally”? How do ferns grow and reproduce? How can you tell ferns apart from each other?

Kit Sheffield is a Virginia Master Naturalist who has led fern-related hikes for the Virginia Native Plant Society, the Audubon Naturalist Society, the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, the Fairfax Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Earth’s Climate: Present, Past, and Future, VNPS Annual Workshop, Mar. 14th

Piedmont Virginia Community College
V. Earl Dickinson Building Theater, 444 College Dr., Charlottesville VA
Saturday, 14 March 2020
9 am – 3:15 pm

Many are concerned about climate change and no longer need to be convinced that it is real. But we can always learn something new about the study of climate and its changes and impacts on Earth’s ecosystems. This Workshop will focus on climate changes at different periods of time, how it might relate to our current climate, and inform our thoughts about today’s changes.

The speakers this year will cover more than 50 million years of Earth’s climate history. From the present state of our coastal ecosystems, to climate perturbations during the historic period, to the glacial ages and their influence on eastern forests, and finally to the fossil record far in the past, we will explore environmental changes in our world.

More information, workshop brochure and registration here. Brought to you by the Virginia Native Plant Society.