A Birder’s Garden: Habitat for Feathered Friends with Alyssa Morel, February 28th

Photo of Alyssa Morel, Courtesy of the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia

Tuesday, February 28, 2023
7:00 – 8:00 PM
Tickets: $10

Click here for registration.

Birders who want to see feathered friends without leaving the comforts of home can create a garden that attracts and supports them. This talk gives practical gardening advice for new gardeners as well as suggested plant species to help turn your bit of ground into an avian sanctuary.

Speaker Alyssa Ford Morel is one of our Audubon at Home Ambassadors, as well as a member of the Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia and the Arlington Regional Master Naturalists. She also helps coordinate the Glencarlyn Library Demonstration Garden.

This event is brought to you by Audubon Society of Northern Virginia.


Doug Tallamy On Hope and Restoring Biodiversity, February 26th

Image: Courtesy of Friends of Hollin Hills, Doug Tallamy

Sunday, February 26, 2023
Book signing and reception starts at 3 pm
Talk starts at 4 pm

Mt Vernon Unitarian Church,
Main Building, 
1909 Windmill Lane Alexandria, VA 22307

Tickets: $25

Click here for tickets and additional details. 

Friends of Hollin Hills are hosting an in-person event with professor and author Doug Tallamy on Sunday, February 26.

Doug Tallamy addresses the need to restore our natural world. Global insect declines and 3,000,000,000 fewer birds in North American are a bleak reality check about how ineffective our current landscape designs have been at sustaining the plants and animals that sustain us.

To create landscapes that enhance local ecosystems rather than degrade them, we must 1) remove invasives and 2) add native plant communities that sustain food webs, sequester carbon, maintain diverse native bee communities and manage our watersheds.

​If we do this in half the area now in lawn, we can create Homegrown National Park, a network of viable habitats throughout the US that will provide vital corridors connecting the natural areas that remain. This approach to conservation empowers everyone to play a significant role in the future of the natural world. It is also enormously satisfying and restorative for those who act.


Approved for FMN Continuing Educattion Credit as ‘Other’ as the Approved CE Org

Arlington Regional Master Naturalists Presents Seminar: Too Many Deer? February 22nd

Photo: Whitetail Deer Courtesy of National Park Service

Wednesday, February 22,2023
7:00 p.m.

Free Zoom Seminar

Register here for Zoom details

Click here for presentation flyer.

Are too many deer endangering our local flora and fauna? If so, what can be done about it?

As humans have transformed landscapes, many species have lost their habitats, struggling to survive, while whitetailed deer have thrived. Overwhelming evidence points to high deer populations as a main factor in reducing
biodiversity and limiting forest regeneration. Cornell University Professor Blossey, a leading expert on forest health in
the Eastern United States, will present evidence for this imbalance and discuss potential solutions. “Deer are
charismatic native species that belong in our fields and forests,” Blossey said. “Humans have allowed them to become
ecological bullies, and if we are serious about our responsibilities to protect all native species, we need to embrace the
need to reduce deer impacts through reductions in the local deer herds.” This presentation, sponsored by a network of
Northern Virginia environmental organizations, comes as Arlington County studies the impact of deer.

See more information on the Arlington Regional Master Naturalists web page:  armn.org/deer


Conference in Spanish – Learn About Native Plants and Managing the Local Natural Landscape

Photo: Courtesy of Plant NOVA Natives

Wednesday, February 15, 2023
9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Northern Virginia Community College –
Campus de Annandale
Forum Room – Ernst Community Cultural Center
8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA 22003

Free parking anywhere in lot B
Meet on the second floor, “CE” building.

Please click here to register.


  • Why native plants? (Elisa Meara)
  • Proper tree planting and maintenance (Patricia Greenberg)
  • Control of invasive plants (Patricia Greenberg)
  • Taking care of the soil (Beth Sastre)
  • Spotted Lanternfly (Beth Sastre)
  • Natural pruning (Jose Lara)

In Spanish: For more information can be found at this link.


English translation: please click here.

The Virginia Geological Field Conference

Feature photo: An outcrop showing boudinaged felsic leucosomes and quartzofeldspathic domains. The location is along the south bank of the South Anna River a few yards east of Route 673, Rockville, VA.

Article and photos by FMN Stephen Tzikas

Every autumn the Virginia Geological Field Conference (VGFC) provides geologists, university students, and the public an opportunity to participate in a geologic field excursion within the State. In 2022 the event was held November 11-12 and explored the Goochland Terrane, just west of Richmond, VA. Attendance levels usually necessitate the need for two coach buses to transport the participants to the various locations on the agenda. The event is usually hosted by universities, community colleges, and/or State organizations. The field experience is invaluable. The VGFC website provides the details and should be monitored: https://vgfc.blogs.wm.edu/

These conferences and field trips are not just found in Virginia, but they are not available in every state. Fortunately for Virginia Master Naturalists, our neighboring States have very active programs as well:

I highly recommend these State excursions as learning experiences for Fairfax Master

This is one of the many outcrops at Hidden Rock Park in Goochland, VA. These leucogranite dikes display boudinage structure.

Naturalists, even though only the VGFC excursion is applicable as FMN CE training.*  I have been to several of these and they are excellent, especially the ones found in northern states offering glacial geology exploration opportunities.

There were plenty of boudins at visited locations in the 2022 VGFC site itinerary. A boudin is a geological term for structures formed by extension (stretching), forming sausage-shaped boudins.

Photo: Close-up of the center of the outcrop in the photo to the right, above.

*Fairfax Master Naturalists: Enter CE using All continuing Ed ->Other and then make a note of the trip in the description field.

Welcome Fairfax Tree Stewards

Cover photo: Public Domain

In January 2023, the FMN board approved a chapter partnership with Fairfax Tree Stewards (FTS). FTS is an educational, non-profit, volunteer organization providing specialized training and certification focusing on trees. It is a program under the auspices of Trees Virginia, registered with the state as Virginia Urban Forest Council and is a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance the quality of life through the Stewardship of our Commonwealth’s urban and community trees. Founded in September 1990 and incorporated in June 1991, the organization works to promote an awareness of our community forests and the value of trees. Approved chapters, such as FTS, use the newly updated Manual to form the basis of training classes, and FTS will supplement book learning with hands on field classes on tree selection, tree planting, tree pruning and tree ID by season.
The first FTS certification class, scheduled for February 2023, is full and includes a few FMNs. FTS is an approved CE organization and service codes for collaborative projects have been created in BI for use by FMN volunteers as projects develop.

Habitat creation and restoration – E405: Educational Projects Fairfax Tree Stewards – – FTS
Educational project code for Fairfax Tree Stewards (FTS).
Educational Projects could be advising a homeowner or association on proper tree selection and planting, education about maintenance, developing resource lists, or FTS tabling events at selected locations in Fairfax County.
When recording these hours in BI, ‘FTS’ should be entered as the Project Organization.

Habitat creation and restoration – S405: Stewardship Projects Fairfax Tree Stewards – – Department of Forestry (VDoF)
Stewardship project code for Fairfax Tree Stewards (FTS).
Stewardship Projects could be helping a homeowner or association with proper physical design, planting, tree pruning, or maintenance, at selected locations in Fairfax County.
When recording these hours in BI, ‘Department of Forestry (VDoF)’ should be entered as the Project Organization.

To participate in FTS projects, one must be a certified Fairfax Tree Steward along with being an FMN member.

Please see FTS website for more information.

FMN and FTS contact is Jeanne Kadet: [email protected]

5th Annual Prince William Native Plant Symposium, February 11th

Photo: Butterfly Bush Pollinators by FMN Ana Ka’ahanui

Saturday, February 11, 2023
9:00 am – 4:00 pm

This is a hybrid event.
Participants can either choose to join in-person, or online.
Location: Verizon Auditorium 
George Mason University
George Mason Circle
Manassas, VA 20109

In-person tickets: $30
Online tickets: $15

Click here for more information and registration details.

Whether you are new to native plants and what they can do for your property or you are looking for alternative landscaping ideas, this event is for you! Native plants can:

  • Create a beautiful yard
  • Save time so you can enjoy other activities
  • Create habitat for birds & pollinators
  • Save money on fertilizer & pesticides
  • Improve water quality
  • Curb Erosion



Ducks and Waterfowl Identification with Greg Butcher, February 2nd

Photo: FMN Ana Ka’ahanui

Thursday, February 2, 2023
7 – 8:30 pm
$10 ASNV members/$15 Nonmembers

Register here.

Join Greg Butcher, Audubon Society of Northern Virginia board member and recently retired migratory species coordinator for the 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, you’ll learn the features (and hear the call) of the beautiful Tundra Swans that winter in Northern Virginia. Strategies will include identification by shape and color pattern. After the presentation, test your identification skills with a Kahoot!

This event will be helpful for those participating in the Winter Waterfowl Count on Feb 11-12 but is open to anyone who would like to know how to identify winter waterfowl!

There is an optional field trip for a limited number of participants, but you are encouraged to do your own independent field trips to see winter waterfowl! Some good locations to see waterfowl in NoVa are Huntley Meadows, Dyke Marsh and Mason Neck State Park.


Photo: Courtesy of ASNV Savannah Sparrow, Jon Boeckenstedt/Audubon Photography Awards

Wednesday, February 15, 2023
7:00 – 8:00 PM

This is a virtual event

ASNV Members-$15.00 (Non-members $25.00)

Click here for registration details.

Sparrows can be difficult to identify. They are small birds that often skulk in the underbrush, and their plumage shows a very limited palette of colors. This class will help you to tell apart the sparrows you might see in Northern Virginia and to separate them from other small brown sparrow-like birds.

Bill Young is a writer who lives in Arlington. He is the co-creator (with Ashley Bradford) of the MPNature.com website, and he has taught numerous classes for ASNV.

Winter Animal Tracking with Ranger Emily Jones, January 24th

Photo: Courtesy of the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia, inset – Ranger Emily Jones

Tuesday, January 24, 2023
7:00 – 8:00 PM

Virtual Program

ASNV Members-$15.00 (Non-members $25.00)

Click here for registration details.

Winter is a great time to practice your detective skills. While many mammals are nocturnal, they do leave behind evidence of their activities such as footprints and scat. Join this informative webinar to learn how to identify tracks and scat of our common Virginia wildlife. Ranger Emily will also lead the class through some interactive tracking mysteries to help you practice your observation and naturalist skills. Do you have a photo of some mystery tracks? Email it to [email protected] and iy may be covered during the presentation!


Emily Jones is a Natural Resource Specialist at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ John H. Kerr Dam and Reservoir with over 2.5 years’ experience as an Outreach Park Ranger managing partnerships, coordinating the water safety program, and facilitating educational programs for groups of all ages with a range of topics including animal track ID, watersheds, hydropower, wildlife, forestry, and water safety. Emily also is a Virginia Master Naturalist with the Southern Piedmont Master Naturalist Chapter. By focusing on connecting people with nature Emily has been able to put her MA in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development (American University and University for Peace), BS in Environmental Studies, and BA in Civic Innovation (Emory and Henry College) to good use. Over the years, Emily has garnered recognition as an outreach park ranger earning the 2021 South Atlantic Division (SAD) Water Safety Employee of the Year Award and multiple SAD Quarter Environmental Education Awards. When not working as a park ranger or volunteering as a Master Naturalist, Emily enjoys traveling with her friends, gardening, stand-up paddle boarding, and spending time with her cats.