Birding By Ear for Beginners with Colt Gregory, April 23rd

Photo: Carolina Wren, David Smith/Audubon Photography Awards

Tuesday, April 23, 2024
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Virtual Seminar
ASNV Member ticket: $10 (Non-member ticket: $20)

Registration required!

Did you know you don’t even need binoculars to explore the big world of birds? Often it is faster and easier to identify a bird by its song – if you know how to bird by ear. In this program, Colt Gregory will:

  • explain the many benefits of birding by ear

  • introduce some of the most common birds by their songs and calls

  • share resources and apps to help you practice and improve your birding by ear skills.

This program is intended for beginning birders but may be a helpful refresher for more experienced birders. This program welcomes children aged 10+ if they are accompanied by a participating adult.

Colt Gregory is a member of the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia, Northern Virginia Bird Club, and Arlington Regional Master Naturalists, serving on ARMN’s Training Committee. Colt co-leads the weekly Sunday bird walks at Great Falls National Park and leads several routes in regional Christmas Bird Counts. He enjoys hiking, camping, and birding during both. He believes that Audubon programs provide a better understanding of the relationships among plants, animals, and the environment while giving us all opportunities to volunteer, educate, and learn.

Colt will lead an optional field trip in northern Virginia on Saturday, April 27, 2024, at 8:00 AM for up to 15 local Birding by Ear participants. The fee is $30 per person. Click here to register for the field trip. The field trip is first come, first served, and there will be a waitlist. The field trip will be in Great Falls, VA. The exact location will be shared only with field trip registrants.

The Hidden Worlds Within Ice Sheets and Glaciers, March 19th

Photo: Mouth of the Matanuska Glacier in Alaska (Richard Moore, CC-3.0-BY-SA)

Tuesday, March 19, 2024
7 pm
Sign up on Zoom to watch live or on-demand

The world’s ice sheets and glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates. Meanwhile, one of our best tools to quantify what’s happening beneath the surface remains largely untapped. Geophysicist Dustin Schroeder specializes in ice-penetrating radar: a powerful technique for studying ice sheets and glaciers on Earth and other planetary bodies. In this webinar, he will explore the hidden interiors of ice sheets through radar images and radar sounding data. When brought to their full potential, these tools can help us zero in on some of the most urgent questions surrounding Earth’s ice sheets and glaciers: How do they flow? What controls their behavior, evolution, and stability? And how will they impact sea level rise?

View more SERC Life on a Sustainable Planet webinars

ASNV Presents: Aquatic Ecosystems in Northern Virginia with Professor R. Chris Jones, April 18th

Photo: Sycamores at Riverbend Park by Ana Ka’ahanui

Thursday, April 18, 2024
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Virtual Presentation
ASNV Member ticket: $15 (Non-member ticket: $25)

Registration is REQUIRED.

Aquatic ecosystems in the Northern Virginia area are subject to a variety of stresses, most related in some way to urban/suburban land use. Professor Jones will present an overview of the major aquatic ecosystems in northern Virginia: the tidal Potomac River, lakes (large and small), and streams (larger and small) and their current status and prospects for improvement.

Dr. R. Christian “Chris” Jones is Founder and Director of the Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center (PEREC) located on the tidal Occoquan River in Woodbridge, VA. PEREC is home to eight faculty researchers from George Mason University’s College of Science and three from its College of Engineering and Computing. Dr. Jones has been a Potomac researcher since 1980 and founded the long-term Ecological Study of Gunston Cove, which has been conducted annually since 1984, making it one of the longest continuous aquatic ecosystem studies in the world. He has published in major journals such as Estuaries and Coasts, Journal of Phycology, Ecology, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, Hydrobiologia, and Inland Waters. He has mentored over 20 Ph.D. students and over 40 Masters students and been awarded the Jack Wood Award for Town-Gown Relations and the Earl C. Williams Presidential Medal for Excellence in Social Impact at GMU.

Audubon Society of Northern Virginia Presents Author Talk: “Flight Paths” with Rebecca Heisman, March 26

Tuesday, March 26, 2024
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Virtual Presentation
ASNV Member ticket: $15 (Non-member ticket: $25)

Registration is REQUIRED.


We’ve all heard amazing facts about bird migration—the long distances that birds travel and the ways that they navigate. But did you ever wonder how we figured all of this out? While working for the American Ornithological Society, Rebecca Heisman became fascinated with the varied and creative techniques that scientists have used to study bird migration, and this eventually became the basis for her book, Flight Paths: How a Passionate and Quirky Group of Pioneering Scientists Solved the Mystery of Bird Migration. In her talk, she’ll share some surprising stories from the history of bird migration research and discuss why understanding migration is so crucial for bird conservation.

Rebecca Heisman is an award-winning science writer who lives in Walla Walla, Washington, and has worked with organizations including the National Audubon Society, the American Bird Conservancy, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and the American Ornithological Society. Flight Paths is her first book.

FMN Spotlight: Tammy Schwab and FCPA

Cover photo – Jerry Nissley

FMN would like to shine the spotlight on our Chapter Partners and introduce the partner contacts so you can associate a name with an organization when you receive information from them. This also provides FMN a chance to thank them for their tireless contributions to our chapter over the years.
It makes sense to start off by spotlighting Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA), that is by far FMN’s most supported Chapter Partner. The venerable Tammy Schwab, who really does not need an introduction, is our FCPA partner contact and an FMN member. She is responsible for many of the FCPA programs and keeps FMN engaged year after year. So please join us in a big thank you to Tammy for the big and small things she does for the chapter!

Tammy running the bug identification station at Lewinsville park Bug Fest. This event was supported by FMN. Photo FCPA

In addition to chapter partner contact for the FCPA she has provided extraordinary support to the Chapter from its inception and was recognized with an FMN Trailblazer Award. From her trailblazers award: Tammy played a key role in initiation of the Fairfax Chapter, serving as first Continuing Education Committee Chair and long-term Mammalogy and Interpretation instructor for the Basic Training Course. Tammy’s experience as Manager, Education & Outreach for the Fairfax County Park Authority’s Resource Management Division provides a wealth of knowledge that greatly benefits the chapter. Tammy has made significant individual contributions, including:

• Served as the first Continuing Education Committee chair. She identified training opportunities, evaluated training proposals, and coordinated FMN-oriented training classes,
• Serves as Mammalogy and Interpretation instructor for the Basic Training Course, providing interesting authoritative information both in class and on field trips,
• Taught FMN-oriented Animal Tracking and Wildlife Mapping courses,
• Led a Sully Woodlands walk for an FMN chapter meeting,
• Identifies FMN volunteer service opportunities with FCPA.

Tammy continues to develop and enhance county programs and she would like to promote the newest park initiative and identify a sample of continuing programs that FMN volunteers can get involved with now.

FCPA Wonder Wagon – Photo FCPA

The newest initiative for FCPA and FMNs to partner on is the Wonder Wagon Mobile Nature Center. WONDER stands for Wild Outdoor Nature Discovery Everywhere Revealed.
FMN and FCPA share a mission to spread the knowledge and love of nature to local residents.  The purpose of the Wonder Wagon Mobile Nature Center is to bring nature exploration straight to the underserved and underrepresented members of the community. FCPA will enhance current programming by activating the exploration of nature in the community and connecting people with nature where they are.  Thanks to the support of Community Partners like the Fairfax Master Naturalists we can meet the community members where they are – Libraries, community centers, events, unstaffed parks and School Age Child Care centers. Through these “Nature activations”, previously underserved members of the community will feel a stronger connection to the nature that is around them where they live and play. This effort will promote equity and community engagement by removing the barrier of accessibility and will result in a deeper connection to nature for our residents.

FMN is currently vested in the Wonder Wagon through a financial donation in 2023 and FMN can now signup as volunteers to support the program in the field.  Members interested in volunteering for Wonder Wagon can contact [email protected]

Additional volunteer opportunities in the parks:

Ongoing opportunities to be part of a team:
Youth Program Support; 2-4 volunteers; Primarily weekday mornings, shifts can be 9am-1pm

Share your passion for nature with school aged children at Hidden Pond Nature Center. Help with school programs and public programs for ages 3-11 year olds.Some experience working with kids preferred. Background check required. Must commit to at least one program a month for a season.

Contact [email protected] for more info.

Animal Care:

Help with the care of animals at Hidden Oaks Nature Center, including feeding and watering turtles, snakes, toads, and other animals and cleaning their enclosures. Learn about the natural history of reptiles and amphibians. Training provided. Contact Janet Siddle at [email protected] or 703-941-1065. 

Volunteer on Duty (Front Desk Support):

If you love nature and enjoy talking to people, consider volunteering at Hidden Oaks Nature Center’s front desk. You will welcome visitors, orient them to the park, answer questions, and check in program participants. This is an opportunity to learn about the natural resources of the county and share your knowledge. Contact Janet Siddle at [email protected] or 703-941-1065. 

Assistant Program Leader:

Help us teach kids and have fun doing it, at your local park! Children learn all about the local environment, nature and history during our programs and while on field trips. This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone with a passion for the outdoors and a drive to help instill it in a new generation. Opportunities are intermittent and based on registration. Contact Janet Siddle at [email protected] or 703-941-1065. 

Elklick Preserve (in western Fairfax County near Centreville): has significant openings.  It is part of an on-going forest restoration project to restore a rare forest type.  It involves using hand tools like loppers and pruners to cut competing vegetation to promote oak and hickory seedlings.  The learning opportunities involve forest tree and shrub identification in the winter, spring and summer and to learn about the process of forest restoration. This would be an ongoing effort throughout the year and not a one time event. Training will take place from FCPA staff. Anyone who is interested can contact Owen at [email protected].

Bluebell Fest Saturday, April 6, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Riverbend Park, Great Falls:

Contact Andrew Wilk at Riverbend park for more information and to volunteer [email protected]

Earth Day Fairfax April 20th at Sully historic site Chantilly VA:
Help the Wonder Wagon at its first public event! To get on the Wonder Wagon volunteer interest list for this and other opportunities contact:

Nikki Zita [email protected] or

Molly Neeson [email protected]


2024 Quarterly Chapter Meetings

Quarterly Membership all-hands meetings.

This article announces the schedule for the 2024 chapter all-hands meetings. All meetings have been entered into the BI calendar for your convenience. They can also now be found listed on the BI home page.
Details will be added as the date approaches.
Each meeting will include 1 hour of FMN CE.
The March meeting was changed to a Tuesday to accommodate the speaker’s schedule.

Tuesday March 19 – Virtual; guest speaker is Doug Tallamy
Monday June 17 – In person; location TBD
Monday September 16 – Virtual
Monday December 16 – In person; location TBD

Registration in BI is not required. However, by registering, the event is placed on your personal BI calendar as a reminder. Events you register for may be seen on your BI Home page and edited under your BI Schedule tab.

FMN CE: Riverbend Wildflower Walk

What: FMN CE Wildflower Walk for Fairfax Master Naturalists
When:  Thursday April 11, 2024 @ 4:30-7:00 pm
Where: Riverbend Park, Great Falls, Va.

How long: Approximately 2 hours.
Group limit: 20 individuals

The venerable Alonso Abugattas will lead the trail walk.  In April, expect to see an abundance of Blue Bells, Dutchman’s Britches, and White Trout Lily, along the river’s edge; and maybe Trillium, Valerian, and an orchid or two in the forest.

Please contact FMN John Wilson if you have questions
[email protected]

This is an FMN only CE event and registration is required thru BI

To register:

  1. Login to BI and click on your ‘Opportunities’ tab.
  2. Select ‘Opportunity Calendar’ from the pull-down list.
  3. Find event in the displayed calendar and click on it to display event details.
  4. To sign up, Click on the ‘Sign Up’ box in the lower right. This automatically signs you up and puts the event on your calendar.
  5. To claim 2 CE hours: use All Continuing Education -> FMN All other Chapter Training

FMN CE: South Run Herp Hike

What: FMN CE Herp Hike for Fairfax Master Naturalists
When: Tuesday, April 16th, 2024 @ 1:30 pm
Where: South Run Park and Rec Center in Springfield
How long: Approximately 2 hours.
Group limit: 10 individuals

Caroline Seitz from Virginia Herpetology Society (VHS) will lead a walk to discover reptiles and amphibians.
The parking is plentiful and easy. Plan to meet at the parking lot after the dog park parking area as you come in on Reservation Drive towards South Run Rec Center.

7550 Reservation Drive Springfield, Virginia

Please contact FMN John Wilson if you have questions
[email protected]

This is an FMN only CE event and registration is required thru BI

To register:
1. Login to BI and click on your ‘Opportunities’ tab.
2. Select ‘Opportunity Calendar’ from the pull-down list.
3. Find event in the displayed calendar and click on it to display event details.
4. To sign up, Click on the ‘Sign Up’ box in the lower right. This automatically signs you up and puts the event on your calendar.
5. To claim 2 CE hours: use All Continuing Education -> FMN All other Chapter Training

The Braddock District Tree Forum, Trees Need More Than Hugs: How to Care for Your Trees! March 20th

Photo: Plant NOVA Trees

Wednesday, March 20, 2024, 7-9 pm
7:00-9:00 pm

No registration is required.
Kings Park Library Conference Room
9000 Burke Lake Rd, Burke, VA, 22015-1683

Questions: [email protected]

Come to this informative event to hear three experts in the field talking about tree care.  Information tables will be set up to visit before and after the talk. Win a chance to receive a free native tree seedling!  Free, no registration, all are welcome. Come to learn about why you should care, and how to care, for your trees.  For more information, click, or copy and paste, this link:  2024 Braddock District Tree Forum flyer final.pdf

NVSWCD Green Breakfast: Knockout Natives, March 9th

Saturday, March 9, 2023
9 am
Speaker: Sam Hoadley, the Manager of Horticultural Research at Mt. Cuba Center
Registration required. 

Join Sam Hoadley, the Manager of Horticultural Research at Mt. Cuba Center, as he highlights knockout native species and cultivars from their trials. Top performers and favorites of MonardaPhloxEchinacea, wild hydrangea, Carex represent some of the best native plants for the mid-Atlantic region and beyond. Sam will discuss their horticultural and ecological performance and will share important information on standouts that will make beautiful additions to your garden.

NVSWCD’s popular Green Breakfasts are now virtual! All Green Breakfast webinars begin at 9:00am and are hosted on Teams. No prior registration is required.

January Green Breakfast Recording available: Conserve Energy, Save Money, and Take Climate Action with OEEC

Speaker: Dr. Neely Law, Senior Planner, Fairfax County Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination
The January Green Breakfast was chock full of information, be sure to check it out if you weren’t able to join us! To watch the recording on our YouTube channel, click here.