Upcoming stream monitoring sessions

Photo by Barbara J. Saffir (c)

Bull Run Stream Monitoring Session
When: Saturday, 8 December, 10 am-12:30pm
Where: Manassas
Join a stream monitor at this outdoor learning site along Bull Run Trail. Registration is limited. RSVP to Jess Cushman at cushman.jess@gmail.com.

Pohick Creek Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Sunday, 16 December, 10 am-12:30pm
Where: Wadebrook Terrace, Springfield
Join Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD) as we discover aquatic life in Pohick Creek! This official NVSWCD stream monitoring workshop covers watershed health, what macroinvertebrates tell us about stream quality, and what you can do to prevent pollution in your local stream. Registration is limited. RSVP to Ashley Palmer at Ashley.Palmer@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Shenandoah Valley Plant Symposium, March 15th

Best Western Inn & Conference Center
109 Apple Tree Lane, Waynesboro VA 22980
Friday, 15 March 2019
8 am – 4:15 pm

Regular Registration- $90 per person

Early Registration (before 7 January) – $80 per person; Late Registration (after 24 February) – $100 per person

Space is limited this year so register early!

Join Waynesboro Parks and Recreation as they present A Gardener’s Palette. They’ll dip your brush in a variety of topics offering something for everyone from garden hobbyist to experienced landscape architect. In the end, you’ll have a canvas filled with colors and perspectives to consider and put in practice.  Topics include Ironclad and Essential Native Trees and Shrubs, The Foodscape Revolution (planting edibles), Hanging Out with Shady Characters, and Plants of the Bible.

Register or learn more by planting yourself here.

Join Clifton Institute Christmas bird count, 16 December

Photo by Barbara J. Saffir (c)

Clifton Institute invites you to the Plains Christmas Bird Count, to be held on Sunday, December 16th. Bird watchers of all skill levels are welcome!

The count will cover a 7.5 mile radius circle in northern Fauquier County and western Prince William county. We have a great variety of habitats in the count circle and always turn up a good diversity of species. Last year, we found 92 species, including Short-eared Owl and Cackling Goose.

Start times vary by sector leaders. Most meet around 7 am at various locations within the circle, ranging from Haymarket to Warrenton.  We will have food and hot drinks at compilation, which will be held at the Clifton Institute, north of Warrenton, just after sundown. Please contact Bert Harris directly (bharris@cliftoninstitute.org) if you’d like to join!

Volunteers needed for the 2019 Mason Bee Monitoring Project

Kate LeCroy, graduate student at the University of Virginia, is recruiting participants for

Horn face mason bee

her 2019 Mason Bee Monitoring Project.  She is looking for people across all of Virginia to join in monitoring efforts for March – May 2019. Fill out this interest form to be considered for the 2019 Monitoring Project, and feel free to share with friends, fellow Virginia Master Naturalists, and neighbors: https://goo.gl/forms/cg4DTkALU4YpuYd22

Kate produced a video to share the data she has so far from the 2017 monitoring, as well as outline the timeline for getting the rest of the data for our projects. You can listen to and watch the webinar recording here in a video: https://video.vt.edu/media/VMN+CE+WebinarA+Mason+Bee+Project+Update/1_7c7dqr9a

You can contact Kate at masonbeemonitoring@gmail.com.

(Fairfax Master Naturalists,  record your hours as C252: Native Blue Orchard Bee Monitoring Campaign.)

Opt outside on Black Friday and visit our parks

Embrace the cooler weather at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park as you learn about the signs of fall. Visit the Walney Visitor Center and get a fall identification chart for your park exploration.

At Frying Pan Farm Park, you can borrow a program backpack at the Country Store. Inside you will find instruction for activities at six trail stops to help your child learn about the natural wonders found at the park.

Visit Hidden Oaks Nature Center to enjoy a visual scavenger hunt along the 1/3-mile Old Oak Trail. There are options available for preschool and elementary age children and their families. Hidden Pond Nature Center is also offering a scavenger hunt to explore the surrounding trails.

Discover the plants and animals of Huntley Meadows Park. Come to the front desk in the Norma Hoffman Visitor Center and ask to borrow a scavenger hunt sheet to aid your outdoor adventure.

At Riverbend Park, families can look, listen, learn and create along the Duff N Stuff Trail. Stop by the Visitor Center to get a copy of a new Scavenger Hunt, designed by a local Girl Scout.

The county’s lakefront parks have ways to keep you busy, too. Burke Lake Park offers a tree scavenger hunt. At Lake Accotink Park, there are self-guided hikes, or you can go on a scavenger hunt at Lake Fairfax Park. Lakefront parks are open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

All of these activities are free, and no registration is required. Please call the park offices for site specific check-in locations and activity times. Add to your day of outdoor fun by doing a little hiking, biking, picnicking or fishing on your own.

For more information and directions to each park visit Fairfax County Park Authority or please call their respective offices at:

Burke Lake Park 703-323-6600; Ellanor C. Lawrence Park 703-631-0013; Frying Pan Farm Park 703-437-9101; Hidden Oaks Nature Center 703-941-1065; Hidden Pond Nature Center 703-451-9588; Huntley Meadows Park 703-768-2525; Lake Fairfax Park 703-471-5414; Lake Accotink Park 703-569-3464; Riverbend Park 703-759-9018.

Learning opportunities with Friends of the National Zoo

Photo: Barbara J. Saffir (c)

Sunday, December 2

Animal Nutrition Talk: beginning at noon, Mike Maslanka, Manager of the National Zoo’s Animal Nutrition Department, will  discuss captive animal nutrition from perspectives of history, current science and research, interactions between researchers and institutions, application in zoos, as well as the National Zoo’s approach to all of these and its own work.

Sign up here!

 

Sunday, December 16.

Zoo Commissary Tour: beginning at 11 am, you will visit the place where animal food is stored and prepared. You will learn the  history and the concepts of the Zoo’s nutrition program as well as how the Zoo does this work and you’ll see some food prep in action.

Sign up here!

 

Learn what birds eat, December 2nd

Jammes House, Mason Neck State Park
Sunday, 2 December 2018
2-4 pm

Registration is now open for Swanfall 2018, the Friends of Mason Neck State Park‘s annual holiday party.  They will meet at 2 PM on December 2, 2018 at the Jammes House in Mason Neck State Park.  The Jammes House is a former hunting lodge in Mason Neck State Park, located on the banks of Occoquan Bay.  It will be decorated for the holidays, and has stunning views over the Bay and the Potomac River. The Jammes House is not normally open to visitors, so take advantage of this opportunity to see the house and experience its magnificent setting.  They’ll have lots of tasty treats for you to sample at a light buffet.

After you enjoy the buffet, take a fascinating look into the lives of  birds as you watch Ashley Kennedy’s stunning videos of birds bringing food to their young in her program “What Birds Eat.”  Ashley is a PhD candidate at the University of Delaware’s Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology.  Ashley’s research focuses on determining which insects are the most important in birds’ diets.  Learn what you can do in your own backyard to attract the insects that are vital to a healthy bird population.

Swanfall 2018 is open only to members of the Friends of Mason Neck State Park.  If you aren’t currently a member, you can join the Friends for as little as $20 per year at Join the Friends of Mason Neck State Park.  Once you join, you will be able to register for Swanfall at Swanfall 2018.  Each member can bring one guest.  The cost of the program is $10 per person and includes admission to the Park.

Please register soon.  This event always fills up, and you won’t want to miss this great event!

Diversity Inclusion in Environmental Education webinar

The United States prides itself as a melting pot and with the current overall demographic shifting, we are seeing more nonnative- English-speaking students engage in both the traditional and outdoor classrooms. However, various stereotypes and misconceptions tend to follow this multicultural student, and it is our job as educators to evolve to meet the needs of all of our students. Whether you are interacting with nonnative English speakers during a school presentation or offering educational programs in a nature center, this webinar focuses on various techniques you can use to better connect with your audience. And, no, you do not need to learn a second language!

Presenter: Mariya Hudick, Tri-County/City Soil & Water Conservation District

Mariya Hudick is an Education Coordinator with Tri-County/City Soil & Water Conservation District. Her primary focus is to educate the local community on soil and water conservation efforts. For the last three years, Mariya worked for the Department of Conservation & Recreation as a Park Ranger where she provided meaningful environmental education opportunities for the general public. Mariya is originally from Russia and immigrated with her family in the early 2000s. As a former ESL student, Mariya has used her experiences to better connect with other non-native English speakers in the hopes of inspiring future stewards. She has been conducting research on the multicultural student in environmental education and has partnered with various Master Naturalists to collect and interpret data on the subject for the last two years.

Webinar Details

When: November 27, 2018, 12:00 pm

Meeting Number: 225-404-939

Link to join: Join Webinar

(This link will connect you to the video feed, but you will need to connect your audio separately to hear the speaker.  Zoom will prompt you to do that once you have connected the video feed.  See the technical information below for details on connecting your audio.)

Link for recordings of this and past webinars:  VMN Continuing Education page 

Native plants for beginners symposium: Save the date

Photo by Barbara J. Saffir (c)

  • Create a beautiful yard
  • Save time so you can enjoy other activities
  • Create habitat for birds & pollinators
  • Save money on fertilizer
  • Improve water quality
  • Reduce erosion
  • Stop mowing, Start growing!

Learn more at the Prince William Native Plant Symposium on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at the McCoart County Administrative Building

1 County Complex Ct., Woodbridge, VA 22192.

9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  

The $15 fee covers coffee and donuts, lunch, and materials.  

Registration begins December 1, 2018.

Let us help you to stop mowing and get going on your dream landscape!  

Call 703-792-7070 for more details and share the flyer.

Explore the Clifton Institute in November and December

Photo: Barbara J. Saffir (c)

YHikes!

Saturday, November 17, 9:00AM – 12:00PM

Our monthly YHikeS! (Youth Hikes) program continues. Children ages 5 and older are invited to come along as we explore the field station and learn about the plants, animals, and fungi that live here. Parents are welcome to drop off their child or they may attend the program.

Monthly Bird Walks

Wednesday, November 14 and Saturday, December 1 at 8:00AM

Novice and experienced birders will enjoy these guided 1-2 mile hikes to look for the many species of birds that can be found on the field station. The ducks are starting to show up and pretty soon our ponds will be full of waterfowl. You never know what we’ll find!