Have you ever seen a dragon fly? Learn more Dec. 8th

Jammes House
Mason Neck State Park
Sunday, 8 December 2019
2 pm

Join the Friends of Mason Neck State Park for their annual holiday event and listen to a fascinating program presented by naturalist and author Bob Blakney. Bob is author of the field guide “Northern Virginia Dragonflies and Damselflies.” He has participated in regular surveys of the Mason Neck area for the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia for more than 12 years. Bob will present photographs he has taken of dragonflies and damselflies in the region and talk about these fascinating creatures that inhabit our local ponds and streams.

Did you know that:
Dragonflies have been around for about 300 million years.
Fossil dragonflies have been found with two-foot wingspans.
Dragonflies can fly straight up and down, backwards and hover like a helicopter.
Dragonflies are among the most efficient predators on Earth.

The Holiday Party is open to members of the Friends of Mason Neck State Park. Each member may register one guest. The program fee is $15 per person, which includes admission to the park.
You can register at Holiday Event Registration.
Not a member? Has your membership expired? You can join or renew your membership for as little as $20 per year for up to two people at Join the Friends of Mason Neck State Park.
Be sure to register soon. Space is limited and this event always sells out!

Restoration of an Extinct Ecosystem: Lessons Learned with Dr. Douglas Gill

The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road
Warrenton, VA, 20187
Friday, December 6
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

For 20 years, the Native Grassland Restoration project on the eastern shore of Maryland has studied the processes of restoring native Mid-Atlantic warm-season grasslands. Come hear Dr. Gill share an overview of his involvement with the project and practical advice from years of experience with grassland restoration. The talk will be valuable to anyone with similar goals on their own land, no matter how small-scale!

Douglas E. Gill, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biology at University of Maryland, College Park where he has worked since 1971. In 2010, Dr. Gill was named Conservationist of the Year by the Maryland Ornithological Society. $10 per person.

 

ASNV Accepting Applications Now for Educator Scholarship, deadline Feb 14, 2020

Each summer Audubon Society of Northern Virginia offers a full scholarship and transportation to “Sharing Nature: An Educator’s Week” at National Audubon Society’s Hog Island Camp in Maine. Next year’s session is July 12-17, 2020 and will feature workshops on educational techniques, a boat trip to the restored Atlantic Puffin and Tern colony on Eastern Egg Rock, intertidal explorations, and hiking through Hog Island’s unspoiled spruce-fir forest.

Applicants must be a public classroom teacher, specialist or school administrator in the ASNV chapter territory. Counties: Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, and Stafford. Independent cities: Alexandria, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Manassas Park.

Application Deadline: February 14, 2020

Scholarship Announcement: March 16, 2020

Link to scholarship application: http://audubonva.org/hog-island-scholarship

Questions: info@audubonva.org. For further information about this session at Hog Island, visit https://hogisland.audubon.org/sharing-nature-educator-s-week.

101st Green Breakfast: Helping the Land Heal, Nov 9th

Brion’s Grille
10621 Braddock Rd, Fairfax, VA 22032
Saturday, 9 November
Breakfast begins at 8:30am, $10 at the door, cash preferred
No prior registration required

Kristen Sinclair, Ecologist
Fairfax County Park Authority, Natural Resource Management Branch

As the county’s largest landowner with 23,890 acres in 427 parks (August 2019), much of the responsibility for preserving Fairfax County’s rich natural heritage rests with the Fairfax County Park Authority. These landholdings include large, biodiverse forests along the Potomac Gorge and in the western region of the county, emergent wetlands at Huntley Meadows, a tidal freshwater marsh on Mason Neck, and nearly all of Fairfax County’s stream valleys. They also include dozens of community parks and numerous lakefront parks.

The Park Authority’s Natural Resource Management Plan is structured to support several guiding principles that will inform all aspects of natural resource management on parkland, including stewardship of our natural capital, preserve biodiversity and sustain wild and healthy ecosystems, protect, restore, and expand ecosystem services, manage resources adaptively and learn through experience, and preserve a legacy of natural heritage for present and future generations.

Join us for a presentation by Kristen Sinclair, Ecologist with the FCPA-Natural Resource Management Branch, who will give an update on the Park Authority’s ecological restoration program, known as “Helping Our Land Heal” and highlight other recent projects completed by the FCPA-Natural Resources Branch.

Breakfast includes an all-you-can eat hot buffet with fresh fruit and coffee, tea, orange juice or water. No prior registration required. If you have any questions, please contact the Northern Virginia Soil and Water District at conservationdistrict@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Learn all things bluebird, conference Nov. 16th

Dorothy Hart Community Center
408 Canal St, Fredericksburg, VA
Saturday, 16 November 2019
8am – 3pm

The Virginia Bluebird Society’s 2019 Biennial Meeting will be an all day bluebird fest. The keynote speaker will be Bet Zimmerman Smith, a North American Bluebird Society board member and Life Member of NABS. Her highly regarded and hugely popular website, sialis.org was ‘developed as a resource for people interested in helping bluebirds and other native cavity-nesters survive and thrive.’

The registration fee ($40 VBS-members, $50 non-members) includes continental breakfast, lunch, programs and door prizes.

View the breakout session topics and register here.  Master naturalists, earn 3.5 hours of continuing education credit.

Cutting edge: Water Chestnut Program (WCP) Meeting, Nov. 15th

Twin Lakes Golf Course, Club House, Ball Room
6209 Union Mill Rd., Clifton VA 20125
Friday, 15 November 2019
10 am – 2 pm

The Fairfax Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalists is facilitating an informational meeting about the invasive water chestnut (Trapa bispinosa).

The water chestnut program (WCP) would be an early detection and rapid response project for naturalists who would like to identify, verify, map and remove this novel species of water chestnut before it becomes established. The focus area is within the Potomac River watershed in Virginia.

This type of water chestnut, discovered by Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries (VGIF) in the tidal Potomac River at Pohick Bay in 2014, is not known to be established elsewhere in the USA. Scientists at the US Geological Survey (USGS) have found that it is spreading, but it is not yet considered widespread, or outside the Potomac Watershed. This is an opportune time to take measures to remove it before it becomes a huge menace in the Potomac River and watershed. Species of water chestnut (Genus, Trapa) are known to spread extensively and be invasive in Virginia and other regions of similar climate. Trapa can quickly grow over the surface of shallow water, completely shade out native submerged aquatic plants, impede water flow, clog irrigation pipes, alter biodiversity, and obstruct recreational boating and swimming.

Come to learn about this water chestnut species and explore options for eradicating it.  Virginia Master Naturalists, natural resource managers, pond owners, gardeners, naturalists, invasive species managers, pond management companies, and other interested parties are welcome to attend.

Program is free and open to the public. Please see the agenda and register here.  Questions? Email vmnfairfax@gmail.com.

Fairfax Master Naturalists:  This program qualifies for Continuing Education credit.

Wildlife Conservation in a Changing World: Can Wildlife Adapt?, a talk Nov. 13th

Huntley Meadows Park
3701 Lockheed Blvd., Alexandria VA
Wednesday, 13 November 2019
7:30 pm

Climate change is happening now. Even if we drastically reduce emissions soon, changes will continue into the future because greenhouse gases already emitted can stay in the atmosphere for decades. How will this affect wildlife? Can wildlife adapt? What can we do to help? Climate change on its own, and in combination with other stresses, may push many species to their limits. Climate change can adversely affect wildlife, for example, when the life cycles of interdependent species get out of sync and when rising coastal waters flood nesting sites. Too little or too much precipitation can stress whole ecosystems. Dr. Sally Valdes will explore how climate change is affecting wildlife and offer some steps for addressing this threat.

Dr. Valdes has a Ph.D. in aquatic ecology from Cornell University with minors in natural resource policy and ecosystem ecology. She worked for almost 25 years as a biologist in several federal government agencies. Since retiring, she has taught an environmental health and a wildlife ecology class. As a federal employee, Dr. Valdes served on an advisory group that developed the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center and was responsible for integrating climate change concerns into environmental reviews of proposed federal projects.

The program is sponsored by the Friends of Dyke Marsh.

The Local Lens: Engaging communities through participatory photography

Tuesday, October 29

12:00pm – 1:00pm ET

REGISTER

For coastal fishing communities in Zavora, Mozambique, the ocean is a way of life. Yet coastal overfishing threatens this small and dynamic community on the southeastern coast. Designing a lasting solution first requires understanding the community and the perspective of people. One way to do that is through participatory photography.

Working with renowned photographer, Jason Houston, Rare gave cameras to four community members to document their lives and share their experiences through their own lens. What emerged was a personal look at the daily lives of the people of this extraordinary place along Mozambique’s Wild Coast.

Join Houston and Rare’s BE.Center for a free webinar exploring how participatory photography can be used as a powerful tool for practitioners looking to engage communities and better understand their world.

During this webinar, you will:

  • See stunning photos from this fishing community shot both by Jason Houston and members of the community
  • Hear from Jason Houston about his experience embedding himself in a fishing community
  • Learn the core principles of participatory photography and how you can apply it in your own work to gain insight into community experiences

While the webinar is free, space is limited.

REGISTER TODAY!

Using Service Learning and Citizen Science as a Meaningful Context to Teach Plant Science, a talk Nov. 17th

Green Springs Gardens
4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, VA
Sunday, 17 November 2019
1 – 4pm

Join the Potowmack Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society at their annual meeting with speaker Dr. Peter Mecca.

Dr. Mecca will describe some of the science-learning opportunities available to students at George Mason High School in Falls Church, Virginia. For example, every fall and spring, Mason students assist National Park Service Staff at Shenandoah National Park to remove invasive plants along the Appalachian Trail. In addition, Mason students are leaders in urban agriculture through traditional gardening (raised beds) and alternative gardening (hydroponics, FarmBot) methods. The presenter will share information about a potential new learning opportunity for students – a citizen science experience in Puerto Rico.

Dr. Peter Mecca has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction and Ecology from Pennsylvania State University, an M.A. degree in Environmental Biology from Hood College, and a B.S. degree in Secondary Education – Biology from Penn State. He has served as a public school teacher, science education consultant, administrator, and a university faculty member. Prior to his current position, Dr. Mecca was the Instructional Systems Specialist for Science with the U.S. Department of Defense Schools. He is a member of the National Association of Biology Teachers, the Virginia Association of Science Teachers, the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association, and the Council of State Science Supervisors and was awarded the Conservation Education Teacher of the Year by the VA Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

Welcome to Project eTrout, citizen science from USGS

Welcome to Project eTrout [instructional video]!

Virtual reality (VR) provides exciting opportunities for environmental education and research. We invite your participation in a new program to engage students, anglers, and citizen scientists in fish ecology and climate change research using new VR methods. Participants will learn about fish ecology first-hand by exploring streams in VR and will be members of a research team lead by US Geological Survey (USGS) scientists. This program is free and designed for students, anglers, and citizen scientists of all ages.

Here’s how it works:

1. USGS collects 360-degree video samples from trout streams in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia (completed during summer 2018).
2. Participants access videos from a website and use standard computer monitors or VR headsets (e.g., Google cardboard) to watch them.
3. Participants then record data on fish abundance.
4. USGS then analyzes the combined data and reports key findings to participants.

 

Click here to begin.

Click here for a summary of results.

 

For more information and how to register contact:

Nathaniel (Than) Hitt, PhD
US Geological Survey, Leetown Science Center
304-724-4463

https://www.usgs.gov/staff-profiles/nathaniel-hitt