Free Native Plant Clinics: Cultivate Nature

Photo: Eastern Shooting Star, Virginia Department Conservation and Recreation

Thursdays, March 30, through April 27, 2023
10:30-11:30 AM

All clinics located in Great Falls, VA
Specific public location will be sent via email to registrants one week before each clinic.

Please register via email with name and dates.
All details will be sent via email.
[email protected]  

Join Botanist and Ecologist Meghan M. McGinty, Phd. Learn how to cultivate wildlife habitat anywhere, help save biodiversity and create your own Homegrown National Park.


March 30- Replace your lawn with cardboard mulching and native ground covers.

April 6- Restore native habitat by replacing invasive plants commonly found in nurseries.

April 13- High wildlife-value trees and shrubs to plant today.

April 20- Habitat gardens for containers.

April 27- Make more of what you already have by propagating the natives on your property.

Habitat gardens designed and photographed by Meghan M. McGinty, PhD.

Photo: Courtesy of Joan E. Strassmann

The Audubon Society of Northern Virginia presents Author Talk: Slow Birding with Joan E. Strassmann on March 7

Photo: Courtesy of Joan E. Strassmann

Tuesday, March 7, 2023
7:00 – 8:00 PM
Fee:$25 ($15 ASNV Members)

Click here for registration details.

Join this presentation for an engaging talk with author and evolutionary biologist, Joan E. Strassmann. Her book, Slow Birding: The Art and Science of Enjoying the Birds in Your Own Backyard, invites us to re-examine the birds closest to home. Professor Strassmann will share stories and facts about common birds and the scientists (professional and amateur alike) who study them. She will offer advice and guidance on what to look for when slow birding, so that you can uncover clues to the reasons behind specific bird behaviors. Participants will leave with concrete bird-focused activities to do at home to practice slow birding.

Learn more about her book in this recent article in the New York Times.

Joan Strassmann has been a slow birder all her life. She is an award-winning teacher of animal behavior, first at Rice University in Houston and then at Washington University in St. Louis, where she is Charles Rebstock professor of biology. She has written more than two hundred scientific articles on behavior, ecology, and evolution of social organisms. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the Animal Behavior Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has held a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives with her husband in St. Louis, Missouri.

VMN Continuing Education Webinar: Exploring the Mineral Resources of Virginia, March 15th

Photo: Courtesy of The Smithsonian-National-Museum-of-Natural-History, Quartz-var.-amethyst, Photographer-unknown

Wednesday, March 15, 2023
12:00-1:00 pm


Pre-registration is required.

Description:  With over 430 unique mineral species, Virginia hosts a wide variety of unique mineral deposits. In this presentation you will learn more about Virginia’s unique geologic provinces and the various mineral resources and famous ore deposits found within them. Many of these historical sites were the backbone of Virginia’s economic prosperity and for decades provided mineral collectors and scientists with stunning specimens which told a story about Virginia’s geologic past. The presentation will also explore a brief history of Virginia’s key mining developments dating back hundreds of years ago to stone-tool manufacturing and all the way to modern discussions about critical minerals and the future of the state’s extractive industry. An additional goal of this presentation is to provide VMN members and leaders with the best resources and literature available about Virginia’s geology and mineral resources to aid in discussions about why minerals are essential in everyday life and global discussions on energy transitions and climate change mitigation. No presentation on Virginia’s mineral resources could be complete without an array of beautifully photographed images of some incredible mineral specimens collected here in the Commonwealth! 

Presenter:  Thomas Hale is the president of the Friends of Mineralogy Virginia Chapter Inc., a non-profit organization established in 2020 dedicated to promoting the state’s mineral resources and working with industry and teacher associations, along with academic institutions and museums, to increase awareness around minerals in our everday life. Thomas Hale is currently a PhD student at the University of Delaware, in the Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences focusing on the nexus between the extractive sector and national security. His expertise in mineral diplomacy focuses on using minerals and materials as a method of exploring global challenges facing society. His research areas span the globe, with studies on Afghanistan, Central Africa, and recent work focused on legacy mining operations in Greenland.

These classes are approved FMN CE.  Record hours in Better Impact under Continuing Education > All Continuing Education.  For Approved CE Organization, choose VMN-State or Chapter offered.  In Description, include the name of the class.

Spring Ornithology Course with Dr. Chris Haney, Begins March 27th

Photo: Courtesy of Chris Haney

Dates: March 27, 29; April 3, 5, 17, 19, 24, 26; May 1, 3, 8, 10,
Time: 7:00 – 8:00 PM
Where: Virtual
Members:  $150
Non-Members:  $175

Click here for Registration and additional details.

This 12-part online course is designed and presented at an introductory, university level, with two one-hour sessions per week over 6 weeks.

The course will cover:

  • Bird song
  • Avian diet and foraging
  • Mate selection and social behaviors
  • Breeding biology (incubation, chick-rearing, postnatal care)
  • Bird populations
  • Avian conservation and sustainable management

Instructional presentations will include PowerPoint slides, auditory or video supplements, and some in-class participatory exercises. Each Zoom session will be made available to all participants by the following day.

This course will be fully virtual. Participants are encouraged to attend at least 3 group bird walks during the 6-week period as homework. Residents of Northern Virginia are encouraged to participate in walks organized by Audubon Society of Northern Virginia or the Northern Virginia Bird Club.

Instructor: Dr. Chris Haney’s expertise in ornithology includes marine science, climate change, wildlife biology, ecosystem management, and conservation policy. His projects and scholarly work have taken him to Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Bahamas, Lesser Antilles, several countries of southern Africa, and the former Soviet Union. He has authored over 80 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and technical notes, over 150 reports, abstracts, testimony, blog communications, and other public documents, and delivered more than 150 invited seminar, conference, and workshop presentations. Chris’s knowledge and enthusiasm in the classroom consistently inspire his students!

Spotted Lanternfly Egg Mass Surveys– a virtual training for volunteer community scientists, February 21st

Photo Credit: Spotted Lanternfly by Stephen Ausmus, USDA

Tuesday, February 21, 2023
12:00 – 1:00 PM EST

Brown Bag Webinar

Registration and additional details.

The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect that was discovered in Virginia in 2018, and has the potential to cause significant economic and ecological impacts. Help us monitor its spread by looking for egg masses in high-risk areas. This training will cover the biology and identification of the spotted lanternfly, its current distribution, how and where to conduct egg mass surveys, and how to record data.

Presentations will be given by Lori Chamberlin and Katlin DeWitt from the Virginia Department of Forestry.

These classes are approved FMN CE.  Record hours in Better Impact under Continuing Education > All Continuing Education.  For Approved CE Organization, choose VMN-State or Chapter offered.  In Description, include the name of the class.

Life is short but snakes are long: diversity and natural history of Virginia’s snakes, February 21st

Photo: VMN Michelle Prysby of Eastern garter snake

Tuesday, February 21, 2023
12:00-1:00 pm


Registration and additional information.

Presenter: Arianna Kuhn, Assistant Curator of Herpetology, Virginia Museum of Natural History
February 21, 2023, 12:00-1:00 pm

Other Information:
Pre-registration for webinars is required.  You will receive a confirmation email with the link to join the webinar.

Links to captioned recordings of each webinar will be posted on this page approximately two weeks after the webinar.

If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact Michelle Prysby, VMN Program Director at 434-872-4587/TDD*) during business hours of 8 am. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations five days prior to the event.
*”TDD number is (800) 828-1120.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law.

These classes are approved FMN CE.  Record hours in Better Impact under Continuing Education > All Continuing Education.  For Approved CE Organization, choose VMN-State or Chapter offered.  In Description, include the name of the class.

Woodcock Watch Presented by The Clifton Institute, March 4th and 11th

Photo: Courtesy of The Clifton Institute, American Woodcock

Saturdays, March 4 or March 11, 2023
5:45 – 7:15 PM

Cost: $10 for general public, $5 for Friends of Clifton

The Clifton Institute

6712 Blantyre Road
Warrenton, Virginia 20187

Registration for the March 4th event.

Registration for the March 11th event.

The American Woodcock is one of the stealthiest birds, but it’s also one of the most fun to watch when they do show themselves. On early spring evenings, the males perform their mating displays, flying high into the air and falling back to the ground, making calls and sounds with their wings as they do so.

There will be a brief talk about these interesting birds, followed by a walk out into our fields where you will be able to watch and hear the birds perform.

For FMN CE credit use All Continuing Ed and select ‘Clifton Institute’ as the Approved Organization. Please make a note in the description that it is for the Woodcock Watch.


Saturday, March 25, 2023
9:30 AM–3:45 PM

Administration Building Auditorium,
U.S. National Arboretum
3501 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002

Reserve your spot now! $100 (FONA members $80)
View the full program here.

What do George Washington, the National Arboretum’s bonsai curators, and several of the region’s grassland restoration experts and landscape designers have in common? An appreciation of the ecosystem services provided by native plants and a commitment to their conservation.

Learn from the National Arboretum’s line-up of native plant professionals about efforts to reestablish beautiful and unusual habitats and how you can successfully manage and design your cultivated landscapes. The 36th Lahr Native Plant Symposium provides inspiration from the wild and practical advice for your gardens.

Registrants attend all plenary sessions and one concurrent session of their choice.

Registration is required and includes all sessions, morning coffee and refreshments, and box lunch.

Questions? Email us at [email protected].

For FMN CE credit use All Continuing Ed and select ‘Other’ as the Approved Organization. Please make a note in the description that it is for the NBG symposium.

As with all CE, VMN does not permit travel time to be included. Also, with symposiums and conferences, only actual ‘learning sessions’ can be claimed. Lunch, plant sales, intros, breaks, etc. are not considered learning sessions.

Wetland Dynamics through the Seasons

Photo: Courtesy of the National Park Service, Vernal Pool

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

This is an On-line program.

Click here for program registration.

Wetlands like those at Mason Neck State Park experience dramatic changes over the course of a year. The Friends of Mason Neck State Park are co-sponsoring the Friends of Dyke Marsh’s online program “Wetland Dynamics through the Seasons” at 7 PM on March 1. The presentation will explore the secrets and wonders of freshwater and tidal wetlands and associated woodland over the course of a year: spring’s avian migrations, quickening of vegetation, burgeoning of myriad invertebrates and the assaults of extreme weather conditions; summertime’s proliferation of flora, fish, fowl and mammals; amazing feats of biological inventiveness during the autumnal preparation for winter; and how plants and animals adapt to winter’s harsh conditions.

The program will be presented by Dr. Colin Rees, retired biodiversity specialist at the World Bank and professor of Zoology at the University of Maryland. He is one of the developers and founders of Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary on the Patuxent River, part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed in Southern Maryland, which is the focus of his recent book, Nature’s Calendar: A Year in the Life of a Wildlife Sanctuary.


Winter Stream Life, February 18th

Photo: Courtesy of Fairfax County Park Authority, E C Lawrence Park

Saturday, 02/18/2023
1:00-2:00 PM

Visitor Center & Amphitheater
5040 Walney Road
Chantilly, VA, 20151

Enrollment Fee: $8:00

Click here for additional details and registration information.

Explore Walney Creek with a naturalist to meet some of the small creek critters (macroinvertebrates) that call it home. Learn why so many different types of macroinvertebrates are active in winter streams. The naturalist will demonstrate winter collecting and participants can help pick, sort and learn to identify these magnificent critters.