NAI Region 2 Spring Workshop, February 23rd-25th

Tuesday, February 23 – Thursday, February 25, 2021
Cost: $25/person for members, $35/person for non-members
Full schedule here.
Register here.

The Region 2 Chapter of the National Association for Interpretation, Chesapeake, is a society of professionals dedicated to helping visitors make connections at parks, zoos, museums, nature centers, aquariums, botanical gardens, and historical sites. Join them for this virtual series featuring the most knowledgeable professionals in our region as they discuss the ever-evolving role of interpretation in the post-2020 world. In addition to two keynote speakers, they will have six sessions with 13 presenters.

Public Health Perspectives on Sustainable Diets

Coursera offers this excellent 7-hour intro-level class from Johns Hopkins (no charge so long as you don’t need the certificate). In addition to the easy-to-follow lectures and short assessments, the class offers downloadable reports and other resources, and enables you to download the videos and slides as well.

Overview

What we eat and how we produce that food have significant effects on human health and the sustainability of our planet. But what is a ‘sustainable’ diet? A sustainable diet, as defined by the FAO, promotes health and well-being and provides food security for the present population while sustaining human and natural resources for future generations. This short course looks at the urgent need to address the sustainability of our food systems, including better understanding the complex relationship between diet and climate change. Learners explore current research on dietary shifts needed in high, middle, and low-income countries to achieve both sustainability and food security goals and discuss evidence-based strategies to promote sustainable diets. This course is offered by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and draws from the graduate-level food systems curriculum at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. You may also be interested in our eight-week flagship Coursera course, “An Introduction to the US Food System: Perspectives from Public Health”.

Introduction to Food Systems Sustainability and Public Health 

Our food system is much more than a supply chain that brings food from the farm to your plate. What is a food system? How can thinking about food as a system help us understand and address the messy overlapping issues of diet, food production, planetary health and climate change? What does ‘sustainability’ mean, in the context of food systems, and is it the same as resilience? How has COVID-19 pandemic amplified the many challenges faced by vulnerable workers and consumers? Roni Neff addresses these questions – and many more – in this opening series of lectures. 

Sustainable Diets and Climate Change

What defines a sustainable diet? Why do sustainable diets matter? And what might sustainable diets look like in the US and around the world? The answers may surprise you. In this engaging and thought-provoking set of lectures, Brent Kim will address these questions and explain recent research that compares the impact of different diets on greenhouse gas emissions and water use across 140 countries. 

Strategies for Advancing Sustainable Diets 

The final week explores sustainable diets through the lens of a public health practitioner and registered dietician. They apply the concept of a sustainable diet to different parts of the world, considering the nutritional needs of different populations and why it is difficult to define a ‘sustainable’ diet for everyone. They share evidence-based strategies for communicating about sustainable diets and how different sectors can play a role in advancing change. 

For FMN members: The course has been submitted to the continuing education calendar for credit. check back for information on approval.

The Secret Life and Folklore of Winter Trees, January 21st

Thursday, January 21, 2021
12-1pm
Please register for the free event here. It will be recorded.

Join Capital Nature and well-known local naturalist Alonso Abugattas, the Capital Naturalist, for a fascinating talk on trees during the winter months. Evergreens like American Hollies and the Eastern Cedar provide life-sustaining food and shelter for birds and other wildlife, and reward us with sightings of refreshing green and red in the winter environment. Deciduous trees reveal stunning winter forms while they gather strength for spring blooms.

With a keen eye you can recognize amazing oaks, beech trees, and sycamores by their distinctive bark, nuts, and fruits. Alonso will draw on his abundant knowledge of the natural world, and on the legends of indigenous peoples to reveal the amazing living world of trees in winter.

Find out more about Capital Naturalist at http://capitalnaturalist.blogspot.com

City Nature Challenge, April 30th – May 3rd

Photo from City Nature Challenge

Invented by citizen science staff at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (Lila Higgins) and California Academy of Sciences (Alison Young). The City Nature Challenge is an international effort for people to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe. It’s a bioblitz-style competition where cities are in a contest against each other to see who can make the most observations of nature, who can find the most species, and who can engage the most people.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers made some modifications to City Nature Challenge 2020 to help keep everyone safe. Firstly, CNC 2020 pivoted to be a collaboration rather than a competition. Instead, they wanted to embrace the healing power of nature and encourage the celebratory aspect of the CNC. This allowed people to safely document biodiversity in whatever way they could, even from the safety of their own homes. They urged all participants to carefully follow public health guidelines provided by their local governments, as they are changed in real-time. Individual safety and public health were and will be their utmost priority. The decision as to whether CNC 2021 will be a competition or collaboration will be announced in 2021.

The observation period for the City Nature Challenge will take place April 30th through May 3rd. Then during May 4-9, observations can still be uploaded to iNaturalist and identified. The global results will be announced on Monday, May 10. Please join the project on iNaturalist which will automatically collect all of the relevant observations during those 4 days.

For the DC metropolitan area (including DC and parts of MD, VA, and WV), we’ll have monthly meetings to coordinate our activities and foster new collaborations. Any organizations or individuals who want to play a role in encouraging and supporting participation anywhere in the metro area are invited to join these calls. January 29 will specifically be a call for anyone new to the City Nature Challenge, so please invite others who may be interested to join.

This year, all calls will take place on Fridays from 11 am to noon.

Call dates for organizers:
Jan 22: meeting for returning organizers
Jan 29: first time organizers (if you haven’t participated in the City Nature Challenge before, this will orient you)
Feb 19: monthly meeting for all CNC organizers
Mar 19: monthly meeting for all CNC organizers
Apr 16: monthly meeting for all CNC organizers
May 21: post-CNC debrief call for all CNC organizers

The January 29th meeting will be recorded, so it won’t be too late to get involved! For more information join https://groups.google.com/g/dc-area-citynaturechallenge.

Virginia Association for Environmental Education Virtual Mini-Conferences, Feb. 20, July 17, Oct. 23

Want to connect with other environmental educators? The Virginia Association for Environmental Education (VAEE) is offering a virtual mini conference series! Each day will highlight one of Virginia’s different regions, seasonal changes, and the educators that work within that area.

February 20 – Winter in the West
July 17 – Summer on the Shore
October 23 – Fall in the Piedmont

Registration is currently open only for the full conference (all three dates together as a package) and the February event.

VAEE is now also accepting proposals for presentations, so if you would like to lead a session or workshop, submit your proposal. Many volunteers have had great presentations at past conferences.

Please see the VAEE website for all the details you need on both registration and submitting a proposal.

Proposals to Reintroduce Red Wolves to Virginia, webinar January 27th

Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Wednesday, January 27, 2021
6:30 -7:30 pm
Hosted by the Great Falls Group of the Sierra Club
Learn more and register.

Richmond-based journalist Stephen Nash has been looking into proposals to reintroduce red wolves, Canis lupus rufus, to Virginia. In the 1970s, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service caught the last 17 known representatives of this critically endangered species. The agency has worked to enlarge the captive population, and reintroduce these animals to the wild. Today, only a handful of red wolves remain in the wild in coastal North Carolina, and 200 or so are in captive breeding facilities, including nine at Roanoke’s Mill Mountain Zoo.

Drawdown 101: An Introduction to the Science of Climate Change

A well-reasoned, thoughtful conversation on climate, with data, stories, and counsel.

Dr. Jonathan Foley is the Executive Director of Project Drawdown and the California Academy of Sciences (which brings us iNaturalist).

Yup, the video is an hour, and absolutely worth the investment of time. Learn the science behind bending the curve, viable drawdown scenarios, environmental justice, potential technical interventions, and steps we ourselves can easily take.

Look here for curated Creative Commons classroom materials.

Your turn: Which videos and resources are your own go-to’s? Share them in Comments and we’ll add them here with pleasure and great interest.

Back to our Roots: Leveraging Native Plants to Restore the Environment, GreenScapes Symposium, February 19th

Photo (c) by Barbara J. Saffir

Friday, February 19, 2021
9:30am – 4pm
Early Bird registration fee of $45 ends on Friday, January 8th
Standard fee is $55
Register using this link ActiveMontgomery.org (Course #87621) or call 301-962-1470.

Join industry experts as they tackle the native vs. non-native plant debate: Is a native plant-only prescription necessary? Under what conditions should non-native plants be incorporated, and what are the risks of using cultivars? Join the conversation as experts assess the scope of environmental benefits that native ecosystems create, such as decreasing pollution and fighting climate change.

They’ll explore the latest strategies to combat pollinator population collapse, considering key factors like pollination syndromes, specialist pollinators, plant genetics and floral balance.
Speakers will demonstrate the latest tools to assess the sustainability of sites, including best practices for evidence-based designs that maximize the ecological, social and economic benefits of native landscapes.

Key note: Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard, Doug Tallamy, Professor & Chair, Department of Entomology & Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware

View full Symposium details.

About GreenScapes
The GreenScapes Symposium, formerly Green Matters, is an annual program sponsored by Brookside Gardens since 2004. The symposium will continue to concentrate attention on the intersection of horticulture and environmental issues Environmental stewardship is a core value of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), Brookside Gardens’ parent organization. As such, we strive to provide timely information and viable solutions to environmental challenges.

NVSWCD Green Breakfast: Valuing our Urban Forest, January 9th

Huntley Meadows, photo by J. Quinn

Saturday, January 9, 2021
9 am
Free

To register for this webinar or learn more, please email conservationdistrict@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Recently, Fairfax County adopted the updated Tree Action Plan unifying many program efforts to enhance Fairfax County’s urban forests. At the same time new climate and pest stressors have been discovered.

Grab the breakfast of your choice and pull your comfy chair to your computer to hear from Jim McGlone, Urban Forest Conservationist with the Virginia Department of Forestry. Jim will share an overview of these activities and concerns, as well as new tools available to help capture information on a wide variety of tree plantings across the Commonwealth and help DOF meet its goal of planting 56,000 trees over the next two years.

National Council for Science & the Environment and Project Drawdown 2021 Virtual Conference, Jan 5-9

Science & Solutions for a Planet under Pressure

Co-hosted by the National Council for Science & the Environment (NCSE) and Project Drawdown

January 5-9, 2021

The NCSE Drawdown 2021 Conference is bringing together leaders, research partners, scientists, decision-makers and friends from across the globe to share their science and solutions to the world’s most pressing global challenges. This joint conference will:

  • focus on the physical and social realities of climate change and the way this impacts people, ecosystems, markets and the places people live; and 
  • how implementing climate solutions produces positive co-benefits to society, the economy, and the planet.

Read more about the themes, schedule, and speakers, and register (the last two days are free!)

For Fairfax Master Naturalists: This opportunity is posted to the Continuing Education Calendar.