Caterpillars Count! – NEW at Riverbend Park, Training May 11th

Riverbend Park
8700 Potomac Hills St., Great Falls, VA
Saturday, 11 May 2019
9 am-12 noon

Interested in insect studies and research? Become a Caterpillars Count! citizen scientist! Caterpillars and other insects live on the trees and plants all around us. They make up a critical part of many ecosystems and are an important food source for birds and other organisms. Riverbend Park is a premier site for Caterpillars Count! a new citizen science project designed by biologists from the University of North Carolina.

Volunteers will learn about insect life cycles and phenology of foliage arthropods while enhancing their identifying skills through weekly surveys.  Great for Master Naturalists, scouts, families, and individuals interested in wildlife studies.

More information/register here.

Learn to be a dragonfly surveyor & collector, May 18th

Photo (c) by Barbara J. Saffir

Riverbend Park
8700 Potomac Hills St., Great Falls VA
Saturday, 18 May 2019

Participate in a long term citizen’s science project monitoring dragonfly species that live in and around the Potomac River above Great Falls. Learn the protocols for collecting exuviae (shed skins) that dragonfly larvae leave behind when they emerge from the river and metamorphose into flying adults. Understand dragonfly life cycles and make the Virginia shoreline of the Potomac river one of your sites for nature appreciation through the seasons.
Training with Jerry Peter & Rita Peralta on Saturday May 18th!
*Must attend training to participate
More info/register here. Questions?  Contact Valerie Espinoza or call 703-759-9018.

Audubon Afternoon: Raptors of Virginia, Maryland, and DC, June 9

Sunday, June 9, 2019
2:30-5:00 PM
National Wildlife Center, 11100 Wildlife Center Drive Reston, VA, 20190

Please join the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia for an exciting Audubon Afternoon.

As Secret Garden Birds and Bees presents “Raptors of Virginia, Maryland and DC,” they will have with them five live raptors for us to see and photograph, including a Red-tailed Hawk and a Red-shouldered Hawk.

The audience will gather for refreshments at 2:30 p.m., have a brief Annual Meeting to elect officers and directors at 3:00, and begin the main program at about 3:15.

This is an event the whole family will enjoy!  As always, they welcome any food and drink that you would like to share with everyone.

World Migratory Bird Day Workshop (WMBD), May 9th

National Wildlife Federation
11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Reston, VA 20190
Thursday, 9 May 2019
7-9 pm

Join the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia (ASNV) for a FREE workshop to prepare for the longest running annual spring bird count in this area. The class will include an overview of WMBD, the Lower Potomac River Important Bird Area (LPR-IBA), key species, and techniques (eBird) used to count them. You’ll also learn how the data is used. Follow up what you’ve learned in the classroom by participating in the count on Saturday, May 11 with Jim Waggener.

Instructor: Larry Meade. Larry is President of the Northern Virginia Bird Club, and a former Board member of the Virginia Society of Ornithology. He has served as a Sector Leader for a number of years for several of our local Christmas Bird Counts and is an avid nature photographer (

This event is FREE, but registration is required.

Help develop a feasibility study for community choice renewable energy options

The goal of this Thriving Earth Exchange project is to carry out a feasibility study for the creation of a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program to provide options for the residents and businesses of Arlington, outside the incumbent electric utility, to choose their rate plans and energy sources. Arlington was chosen due to its transformative Community Energy Plan, though Arlington is not an official partner of this effort. This project will be accomplished through a study on CCA options to explore how Arlington could procure, generate and competitively fund renewable energy projects and inform policymakers and ratepayers of opportunities for renewable energy generation. The options to use of solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal energy in buildings has become increasingly cost-effective over time and aids in energy resilience to peak load events at the macro level when coupled with advanced energy storage. This project will align with Arlington County’s commitment to climate action and stand in accordance with the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, and may serve as a demonstration model for similarly-urbanized communities or those with comparable energy use patterns and volumes.

The team will work in hand with Virginia Clean Energy led by local residents Silvia Zinetti and Morris Meyer. Virginia Clean Energy is a new nonprofit fiscally sponsored by LEAN Energy US, a 501 (c)(3) organization based in California.

Silvia and Morris seek a scientific partner to help Virginia Clean Energy with:

  • data analysis, visualization, and interpretation for the implementation of a technical study to incorporate renewable energy into the electricity market with a CCA.
  • resulting price structures and GHG reduction scenarios of various energy combinations.
  • Preparation and development of the findings for local conferences and County board meetings.

The community is looking forward to working with an energy engineer or energy economist and enthusiastic graduate student assistants with an interdisciplinary mindset.


Sea Level Rise, Its Impact on the Potomac River Shoreline Ecosystems, May 15th

Norma Hoffman Visitor Center, Huntley Meadows Park
3701 Lockheed Blvd., Alexandria Virginia 22306
Wednesday, 15 May 2019
7:30 pm
FODM will host an informal social gathering at 7:00 p.m. before the event.

Join the Friends of Dyke Marsh to hear Geoffrey Sanders, a National Park Service (NPS) biologist, give a presentation on the impact of sea level rise on Dyke Marsh and other shoreline communities based on modeling of several scenarios. His study concluded that “significant habitat changes are likely at Dyke Marsh as a result of rising water levels,” including changes in vegetation.

From 1900 to 2017, sea levels rose about a foot and a half along the Chesapeake Bay, according to scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. An Old Dominion University study, “Climate Change, Global Warming and Ocean Levels,” assumes a mid-range estimate of a 3.7-foot increase in sea level rise by 2100. Former Governor Tim Kaine’s Commission on Climate Change in 2008 predicted that sea levels in the Chesapeake Bay region will be 2.3 to 5.2 feet higher by 2100.

The program is sponsored by the Friends of Dyke Marsh and cosponsored by the Environmental Council of Alexandria, the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, the Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation, and the Potomac Riverkeeper Network.

Rain Barrel Workshops, 18 & 25 May

Walker Nature Center, 11450 Glade Dr., Reston VA
Saturday, 18 May 2019
10:30 am-12:30 pm

Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, 5040 Walney Rd.,
Saturday, 25 May 2019
10 am-12 pm

Rain barrels purchased from retail sources can be expensive. As part of a regional initiative, Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District offers build-your-own rain barrel workshops and distributes low-cost rain barrels to Fairfax County citizens. You will learn how to install and maintain a rain barrel and take one home! By installing a rain barrel at your home you will provide your plants with water they will love, save money and water, and protect the Chesapeake Bay! The workshop fee is $55, which includes the rain barrel for you to take home. Learn more about the program and register to attend a workshop.

Green Breakfast, May 11th

Photo (c) by Barbara J. Saffir

Brion’s Grille
10621 Braddock Rd., Fairfax VA
Saturday, 11 May 2019
8:30 am

Thinking about the “wild” spaces in and around a busy metropolitan area can be difficult, but we are fortunate to have several wildlife refuges at our fingertips. How did these areas become protected and what’s next for the system? Patuxent Wildlife Refuge Manager Brad Knudsen will present “The Evolution of the National Wildlife Refuge System.” He will present information on the important wildlife resources the NWRS conserves, how the NWRS as grown in its 116 years, how legislation and public involvement have impacted the direction the NWRS has gone, and a glimpse at what the future holds.

Breakfast begins at 8:30am, $10 at the door, cash preferred. No prior registration required. Breakfast includes an all-you-can eat hot buffet with fresh fruit and coffee, tea, orange juice or water. If you have any questions, please contact the Northern Virginia Soil and Water at

Raptor Rapture

Belle Haven Park, Alexandria VA
Saturday, 20 April 2019
10 am – 12 pm

Friends of Dyke Marsh, Secret Gardens Birds and Bees, and the National Park Service will “host” live raptors.  Free. Learn more.

Caterpillars Count! A citizen science workshop for educators

Looking for a new way to engage your students or visitors in hands-on science learning and contribute valuable information to local research about insects and birds? Become aCaterpillars Count! citizen scientist! Caterpillars and other insects live on the trees and plants all around us. They make up a critical part of many ecosystems and are an important food source for birds and other organisms.In this workshop, we’ll introduce you to Caterpillars Count!, a new citizen science project designed by biologists from the University of North Carolina, and show you how you can become a part of research linking birds to their insect food sources on trees. Learn how to conduct surveys of insects with your students/visitors, monitor changes in the abundance and type of insects present over time, and report your data using our free mobile app. We’ll also introduce sample learning activities and the Caterpillars Count! website, where you can explore the data collected by your group with others from around the state.

This workshop is open to and designed for both formal (grades 6-12) and non-formal educators. Each participant will receive a handbook of instructional materials and sample learning activities. Lunch provided.

Friday, May 3; 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Riverbend Park

Location: Riverbend Park, 8700 Potomac Hills St, Great Falls, VA 22066

Cost: FREE

Registration: We have limited space, so click here to apply now. Applications will be accepted until 4/30/19.


Questions about the workshop?

Contact Sarah Yelton, Caterpillars Count! Project