Audubon Afternoon: “Winter Waterfowl of the Potomac River,” Jan. 12th

National Wildlife Federation
11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Reston, VA 20190
Sunday, 12 January 2020
2:30 – 5 pm
Potluck

Join Audubon Society of Northern Virginia (ASNV) to learn about waterfowl that visit our area in winter. Greg Butcher, ASNV Vice-President and Migratory Species Coordinator for the US Forest Service, will be the guest speaker. Please bring a dish to share. This event is FREE and open to the public.

Greg Butcher first became an Audubon member when he was 11 and his grandfather bought him a membership. He has been birdwatching ever since, the last 16 years in the D.C. area. During weekdays, he is the Migratory Species Coordinator for U.S. Forest Service International Programs, working with birds, bats, monarch butterflies, and dragonflies. Greg has previously worked for National Audubon Society, American Birding Association, Partners in Flight, Birder’s World magazine, and Cornell Lab of Ornithology. He studied ecology in Costa Rica with Organization for Tropical Studies and has worked closely with BirdLife International over the past 16 years. He is a Fellow of the American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU) and a 2010 TogetherGreen Fellow.

ASNV Winter Waterfowl Count Workshop, Jan. 23rd

National Wildlife Federation
11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Reston, VA 20190
Thursday, 23 January 2020
7 – 9 pm
Field Trip: Saturday, January 25, TBD

Learn about waterfowl that visit our area in winter. Please bring a dish to share. This event is FREE and open to the public.

Join Greg Butcher, Audubon Society of Northern Virginia (ASNV) board member and migratory species coordinator for U.S. Forest Service International Programs, for an introduction to waterfowl identification. Get to know many of the species that winter in the open waters of our region. You’ll learn how to tell a Bufflehead from a Hooded Merganser, and, with luck, you will see the beautiful Tundra Swans that winter in our area. Strategies will include identification by shape and color pattern. This workshop will include an outdoor field trip and bird walk on Saturday, January 25—details will be given in class.

After the workshop and field trip, you’ll be ready to rally for a tally during the ASNV 12th Annual Waterfowl Count, Saturday, February 8, and Sunday, February 9. Volunteer teams will survey the Potomac River from Algonkian Regional Park in Loudoun County south to Quantico Marine Base in Prince William County. Several important inland ponds, lakes, and marshes are included in the survey. To register contact Larry Cartwright: prowarbler@verizon.net or info@audubonva.org.

RSVP here.

Limit: 30
Fee: FREE

Take a Walk to See the Tundra Swans

Wednesday, January 1, 2020, 12:15pm

Mason Neck State Park, Lorton VA

Have you ever seen Tundra Swans, those amazing birds that migrate thousands of miles from the Arctic to spend the winter in our region? Their haunting calls are nearly impossible to forget!

You’ve got a great opportunity to see the Tundra Swans at 12:15 pm on January 1, when the Friends of Mason Neck State Park will lead a guided walk to see them. We’ll start from the Woodmarsh Trail parking lot, on the left side of High Point Road a short distance BEFORE you get to the Park’s Contact Station. 

We’ll walk about a mile over fairly level ground to the viewing area. You’ll likely hear the birds before you see them. We’ll have binoculars and telescopes so you can view the swans and other water birds and we’ll also help you identify them. There’s no charge for this event, which is open to everyone. Come out and enjoy the first day of 2020 with the Friends! The trails can be a little muddy, so be sure to wear sturdy shoes or boots. 

Learn more.

The Secret of Species

The Clifton Institute, 6712 Blantyre Road, Warrenton, VA, 20187

Thursday, Jan 16, 2020

7:00pm – 8:00pm

When we hear about scientific discoveries, conservation breakthroughs, or just what’s been seen in the area recently, the stories are usually about species. “New species discovered!” “Endangered species need our help!” “I saw 20 species last weekend!” We hear and talk about species all the time, but we don’t usually stop to think about what a species is. In this presentation, Managing Director Eleanor Harris, Ph.D., will discuss what it means to be a species, why they’re so important, and how they have evolved. Throughout the talk she will focus on local examples, for example, why we distinguish Alder and Willow Flycatchers, but not red-spotted purples and white admirals.

This event is open to the public and free to attend. Please register.

See Tundra Swans, Jan. 1st

Mason Neck State Park
7301 High Point Rd., Lorton, VA 22079
Great Marsh Trail Parking Lot
Wednesday, 1 January 2020
12:15 pm

Have you ever seen Tundra Swans, those amazing birds that migrate thousands of miles from the Arctic to spend the winter in our region? Their haunting calls are nearly impossible to forget!
You’ve got a great opportunity to see the Tundra Swans when the Friends of Mason Neck State Park will lead a guided walk to see them. They’ll start from the Great Marsh Trail parking lot, on the left side of High Point Road a short distance BEFORE you get to the Park’s Contact Station. They’ll walk about a mile over fairly level ground to the viewing area. You’ll likely hear the birds before you see them. They’ll have binoculars and telescopes so you can view the swans and other water birds and they’ll also help you identify them.
There’s no charge for this event, which is open to everyone. Come out and enjoy the first day of 2020 with the Friends! The trails can be a little muddy, so be sure to wear good shoes or boots.
Mason Neck State Park is also offering guided First Day Hikes in the park on January 1. You can see their schedule of hikes at Mason Neck State Park First Day Hikes.

Virginia Association of Forest Health Professionals, Jan 27-28

Each year VAFHP holds a conference for professionals and others interested in learning more about forest health and ecology of the Mid-Atlantic. The 2020 Conference will be held in Glen Allen, VA, just west of Richmond, on January 27-28, 2020.

Attendees include local, state and federal officials, independent contractors, consultants, horticulture and forest industry representatives and students. We encourage anyone interested in the ecology of the Mid-Atlantic to participate. VAFHP is committed to developing and providing education and training for natural resource professionals.

The Virginia Association of Forest Health Professionals (VAFHP) invites you to apply for their 2020 Conference Scholarship.

This scholarship provides you with a front row seat to pertinent Virginia forest health topics and a chance to network with professionals in forestry related fields.  You will also learn about conference logistics and provide support to the VAFHP Steering Committee throughout the conference.

This opportunity is available for first-time conference attendees and will fully cover registration costs (hotel accommodations and travel costs must be covered by scholarship recipients). Two scholarships will be available; one for recent college graduates and one for professionals or citizen scientists without dedicated travel funds. The deadline to apply is December 6, 2019, recipients will be notified by December 16, 2019.

Please visit https://www.vafhp.org/conference for conference details and registration.

Botany and Bloom Workshop Series, Apr. 27 and Jul. 27 and Nov. 23, 2019

27 April and 27 July 2019

10:00 am – 02:00 pm

Location: Sky Meadows State Park, Edmonds Lane 11012, Delaplane, Virginia

Explore the rich natural diversity of Sky Meadows State Park with this three-part series. Each workshop includes a lecture in the Carriage Barn, followed by a 3-mile field hike for hands-on application. Receive a colored print-out of the lecture. Each workshop is $15/adult, $5/child (12 and under), payable the day of the workshop. Workshop fee includes parking. Bring water and lunch to eat along the trail, dress in layers, and wear sturdy shoes.

Spring Ephemerals – Saturday, April 27, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Summer Blooms – Saturday, July 27, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Winter Tree Identification – Saturday, November 23, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For complete workshop descriptions, and to sign up for the series, go to: www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/sky-meadows

Birding the Blue Ridge, Nov 23

November 23, 2019

8:00 am – 11:00 am

Location: Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, Harpers Ferry Road 11661, Purcellville, Virginia

Join Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship (BRCES) for a walk through parts of this beautiful 900-acre preserve and see what lives in this diverse habitat.  As the leaves fall, it gets easier to see birds on trees. This outing takes place every fourth Saturday of the month except in December. Meet at the Education Center; bring binoculars if you have them. Click here for more information.

BRCES is located just north of Neersville at 11661 Harpers Ferry Road (Route 671); detailed directions at www.blueridgecenter.org.

Join Other Environmental Educators at the 2020 VAEE Conference

The 2020 VAEE Conference has a lot to offer Virginia Master Naturalists!

On Wednesday, Feb. 26 there will be many outdoor workshops and classes such as “Wandering the Winter Woods” or “A Wetland Wander at Sweet Briar.” There are full day workshops such as “Communicating Climate Change” and “Lynchburg’s Urban Water Cycle Tour.’’ Plain old fun can be had in the “Make-n-Take” session in which you can make a Mason bee house, a Bluebird box, a Rain Barrel, or Nature Crafts such as corn husk dolls, vine baskets, cordage or memory keepers.  The Interactive Activity Showcase will give you many new tools for your education toolbox.

On Thursday, Feb. 27 nineteen different concurrent sessions will be offered, the Awards Luncheon, and most importantly the keynote speaker, Dr. J. Drew Lanham, an author, poet, wildlife biologist and Clemson University’s Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology. In 2019 he was awarded the National Audubon Society’s Dan W. Lufkin Prize for Environmental Leadership, recognizing “individuals who have dedicated their entire lives to the environment”.

His research focuses on songbird ecology, as well as the African-American role in natural-resources conservation. A South Carolina native, Lanham is active on a number of conservation boards, including the South Carolina Wildlife Federation, Audubon South Carolina, the Aldo Leopold Foundation, BirdNote, and the American Birding Association, and he is a member of the advisory board for the North American Association of Environmental Education.

On Friday, Feb. 28 there will be 14 more concurrent sessions and a closing session with the keynote speaker, our own Nancy Striniste, author of the new book Nature Play at Home: Creating Outdoor Spaces that Connect Children to the Natural World (Timber Press, 2019). Nancy is founder and principal designer at EarlySpace, is a landscape designer, an educator, and an author.

Registration is now open! Early Bird Registration Ends on 12/31/2019 so you have through the end of the year to get in at the reduced rate! You will have many options from full conference registration to only attending one day. Full conference includes all meals for the 2.5 days. https://vaee.wildapricot.org/VAEE2020

If you have further questions contact Page or Bruce.

Flying squirrels, FMN annual meeting, December 6th

Photo (c) by Barbara J. Saffir

St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in the parish hall
1830 Kirby Rd, McLean, VA 22101
Friday, 6 December 2019
7 – 9 pm

Join the Fairfax Master Naturalists for the graduation of their Fall 2019 training class, election of chapter officers and a presentation by Barbara Saffir on SECRET NIGHT GLIDERS: Our Uncommonly Seen (Yet Super Common) Southern Flying Squirrels.

An introduction to America’s smallest — and arguably cutest — flying squirrel. They’re nearly as common as our seemingly ubiquitous eastern gray squirrels though you’ve probably never glimpsed one. If you live in Fairfax, these “fairy diddles” probably visit your backyard — or at least your neighborhood.

Master naturalists earn one hour of continuing education credit.

Event is free; everyone is welcome to attend.