Virginia State Parks Youth Conservation Corps accepting applications

Virginia State Parks Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) is now accepting applications for the 2019 Crewmember position (available to youth both residents and non-residents of Virginia).

During YCC you rise with the sun everyday as you persevere daily seeking new adventures, hard work, and unforgettable memories at Virginia State Parks. Choosing an experience with the YCC has a unique way of shifting the way you view the world around you. Three weeks with the YCC is an opportunity to relinquish social media and texting and a time to focus on nature, real relationships, character building and fun!

The YCC seeks ambitious youth, ages 14-17, to serve on a crew with nine fellow crew members. Crews are led by three adult crew leaders who guide crew members through day to day operations and decision making. 

Crew members will find a million little things to be discovered, admired and appreciated; from the quiet beauty of a bonfire to the time spent constructing a new project; youth should be willing to actively participate in all activities and are expected to work diligently on service projects as one cohesive team.

While the YCC may be a ton of fun it is not a summer camp, crew members are expected to complete many laborious tasks immersing members in a world unlike anything they are used to. It takes away a few modern comforts and conveniences and replaces them with hard work and friendship. Youth learn the value of a one-on-one conversation with a trusted friend, a job well done and all the natural beauty that surrounds them.

While in the park, the crew will work on various projects such as trail maintenance, construction of new park facilities, and park beautification. Work can be difficult but it is also extremely rewarding for crewmembers to see the projects they are able to complete during their time with the YCC.

Applicants do not need to have any prior experience; however, an interest in working outdoors, a good attitude, and the diligence to complete projects is critical. Upon successful completion of the program a $500 stipend is awarded

Learn more, or if you have any questions just email the staff here.

2019 Virginia Environmental Education Conference February 7-9, 2019

Virginia Association of Environmental Education (VAEE) has extended the earlybird registration for the 2019 Virginia Environmental Education Annual Conference, at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, VA

Enjoy a gathering full of professional development, networking opportunities, learning, and field experiences that will expand your knowledge of Environmental Education efforts and resources in the Commonwealth and help you in your VMN endeavors. 

This year’s conference will feature many exciting presentations, keynote speakers, and field trips, including the annual member meeting for the Virginia Association for Environmental Education. 

Other events include various networking opportunities and the annual VAEE Social and Silent Auction.

Information about this year’s conference and registration can be found on the conference webpage

Early-bird registration is extended until January 11, 2019. Registration ends February 4, 2019.

For general registration questions, contact: Bruce Young at [email protected]

NOVA Green Festival 2019, April 25th

Photo by Barbara J. Saffir (c)

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), Annandale Campus
8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA 22003
Saturday, 25 April 2019
9-4 pm

The theme for the 2019 event will be “Biodiversity and Urbanization.” At this time, the College hopes to host several presenters who will be able to touch on the many challenges of maintaining biodiversity in an urban environment.

The purpose of NOVA’s Annual Green Festival is to increase both the college and local community awareness of regional, national, and global environmental issues and provide information regarding ways that individuals can help preserve the environment. Participants at this community event will include faculty, staff, students and local community members. While the target audience is high school and college students, the event is free and open to the public.

The festival will be a combination of presentations, panel discussions, interactive demonstrations, film viewing, and informational displays. Ideally, it will help the audience to recognize ways they can conserve resources, promote change, and make a difference as individuals.

Join the College for this topical and educational festival. If you have questions or would like to participate as an exhibitor, you are welcome to contact Cheryl Robinette at, or Rob Johnson.

Five stream monitoring volunteer opportunites

Photo by Barbara J. Saffir (c)

Bull Run Watershed Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Sunday, January 6, 12:00-2:30pm
Where: James Long Park, Haymarket
Join Elaine Wilson, one of Prince William SWCD’s pioneers/certified monitors and her team for winter monitoring at this beautiful site in Catharpin Creek in the Gainesville area. This site has some outstanding critters that are unique only to this site.  STEM kids are welcome. Spots are limited. For more information and RSVP, contact Elaine Wilson.  

Pohick Creek Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Sunday, January 13, 10:00am-12:30pm
Where: Wadebrook Terrace, Springfield
Join 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.

Reston Association Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Saturday, January 19, 1:00pm
Where: Reston
Assist in important winter stream monitoring by getting your feet wet in one of Reston’s streams? RA welcomes new volunteers to assist with stream monitoring at several locations. Get involved with a small team to collect data and identify insects with the goal of assessing the health of Reston’s stream. Not only do you get to learn about streams, it also provides an opportunity to make new friends. Learn more and register.

Reston Association Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Thursday, January 31, 12:30pm
Where: Walker Nature Center, Reston
Assist in important winter stream monitoring by getting your feet wet in one of Reston’s streams! RA welcomes new volunteers to assist with stream monitoring at several locations. Get involved with a small team to collect data and identify insects with the goal of assessing the health of Reston’s stream. Not only do you get to learn about streams, it also provides an opportunity to make new friends. Learn more and register.

Reston Association Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Saturday, February 2, 1:00pm
Where: Reston
Assist in important winter stream monitoring by getting your feet wet in one of Reston’s streams! RA welcomes new volunteers to assist with stream monitoring at several locations. Get involved with a small team to collect data and identify insects with the goal of assessing the health of Reston’s stream. Not only do you get to learn about streams, it also provides an opportunity to make new friends. Learn more and register.

Great winter gardening lectures at Green Spring

Photo: (c) Barbara J. Saffir

WINTER LECTURE-IDEAS FROM EUROPE FOR U.S. GARDENS

(Adult) Winter is the perfect time to plan improvements to our gardens. Garden designer and international traveler Carolyn Mullet shares design images from her European garden travels that we can adapt and use for our own garden designs. Carolyn will show us how we can modify these “foreign” inspirations, both fun and functional, and how to find inspiration of our own.

Register

WINTER LECTURE-PUSHING LIMITS OF TROPICAL PLANTS

(Adult) Botanist and plant breeder John Boggan grows and writes about hardy palms, bananas, begonias, gesneriads, and just about anything else that’s tropical or exotic to the DC area. John shares his experience and trials of growing these beautiful tropicals and how you can have success pushing the growing zones.

Register

WINTER LECTURE-ROSE CARE 101

(Adults) Learn the fundamentals for selecting and growing fabulous roses. Lewis Ginter Botanic Garden horticulturalist Laurie McMinn will introduce you to old family heirloom roses as well as many new roses that may become your favorites! Laurie shares the essentials of rose care and beyond, including pruning for spring plant health, nurturing great blooms, and identifying pests and diseases. Your roses will thank you.

Register

WINTER LECTURE-SELECTING AND PLANTING TREES

(Adult) Trees are the keystone plants of a garden. With careful selection and proper planting, they can thrive with minimal care, rewarding us with beauty, shade, energy savings, and wildlife habitat. National Arboretum Head of Horticulture Scott Aker turns us into smarter consumers and gardeners as he illustrates how trees are marketed to homeowners. He offers, tips on proper planting techniques, and demonstrates a quick and easy way to determine a tree’s health. Learn about trees that are well-adapted to our area and that Scott recommends to homeowners.

Register

WINTER LECTURE-THE GARDENS OF PIET OUDOLF

(Adult) Join the Friends of Green Spring in viewing the documentary, Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf. This documentary immerses viewers in Oudolf’s work and takes us inside his creative process, from his beautifully abstract sketches, to theories on beauty, to the ecological implications of his ideas. Discussion to follow.

Register

WINTER LECTURE-UNCOMMON CUT FLOWER

(Adults) Make the most of your gardening efforts by growing plants that are beautiful outside and inside as cut flowers and fillers. Horticulturalist Karen Rexrode shares some favorite plants that are both beautiful ornamental garden plants and unusual cut flowers. These lovely arrangements exercise your creativity, give you confidence in plant combinations and allow you to appreciate individual plants details.

Register

WINTER LECTURE-VEGETABLES LOVE FLOWERS

(Adults) Learn how to grow an organic garden where good bugs eat bad bugs, pollinators are abundant and the beautiful bouquet on the table came from your garden! Flower Farmer Lisa Ziegler tells all as she shares why flowers are the missing piece in many vegetable gardens as they attract pollinators, beneficial insects and other good creatures to complete the circle of life. Learn how to garden without using any pesticides that can harm and kill the very beneficial creatures we want to live in the garden.

Register

WINTER LECTURE-WHAT’S BUGGING YOU?

(Adults) What was that insect I saw in the garden last summer? Why didn’t I see many butterflies last summer? How can I have more fireflies in my backyard? Bring your bug questions and stories to this mid-winter information exchange about insects. Join entomologist Nate Erwin for a colorful slide show of insects and their associated plants and then join a lively discussion about those spineless creatures that do so much for and in our gardens.

Register

Virginia Working Landscapes 2018 Biodiversity Survey Results

The central mission of Virginia Working Landscapes (VWL) is to promote sustainable land use and the conservation of native biodiversity through research, education, and community engagement. First assembled at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute: Front Royal, VA in 2010, VWL was formed at the behest of regional landowners, citizen scientists, and conservation organizations who wanted to better understand how to conserve Northern Virginia’s native wildlife on working (i.e., agricultural/forestry) lands. 

According to The International Union for Conservation of Nature, grasslands are “the most endangered, the most altered, and the least protected biome on the planet.” Today, many plants and animals that depend on grasslands have declined, due primarily to the loss or fragmentation of their native habitat and one-third of North American species considered endangered are found on grasslands. Recognizing the need to consider grassland species when studying native flora and fauna on working landscapes, VWL’s initial research focused on grasslands. Since 2010, they have expanded our focus to other working lands (forests) and to consider the impact that changes in the overall landscape mosaic have on native biodiversity. 

VWL partners with scientists, graduate students, interns, and volunteer citizen scientists to organize and conduct annual biodiversity surveys on public and private lands throughout the region. This work is important because humans receive many tangible and intangible benefits from the natural world — from the spiritual (a walk through nature) to the utilitarian (the value of food production). 

Research prioritizes studies of biodiversity, threatened species, and ecosystem services to answer such questions as: 

  • How will current land-use practices (and projected changes thereto) impact grassland biodiversity? 
  • How are ecosystem services, like pollination, related to species presence or native biodiversity? 
  • Are quail Habitat Management Areas effective at restoring bobwhite populations? How might they be improved? 
  • Does arthropod community composition or nutritional value differ in cool- vs warm-season grass fields? What are the implications of this difference for birds or other insect-eating animals? 
  • What impact does field management timing have on overwintering bird or insect diversity? 
  • How does the establishment or maintenance of native grasses impact plant communities?

To this end, VWL conducts six surveys on breeding birds, bumble bees, grasslands, orchids, mammals, soil, and arthropods.

Each year, VWL and SCBI train a group of citizen scientists to conduct these surveys on private and public lands and recruit private landowners who enable us to collect these data on their property. FMN supports this work and you can claim service hours for your participation (C200: Citizen Science Projects for the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute).

For more information, please contact Outreach Coordinator, Charlotte Lorick, at 540-635-0038, visit www.vaworkinglandscapes.org), or find VWL on Facebook & Instagram. 

This specific report is on the survey results for The Clifton Institute. Reports for other sites are available from VWL.

Start a Thriving Earth Exchange Project

Jump to submission form.

Thriving Earth Exchange projects start with community priorities. Communities of any size from around the world are encouraged to submit a local issue and/or project idea related to natural hazards, natural resources, or climate change. Any community can start a Thriving Earth project. All we ask is that you commit to the time and energy needed to work hand-in-hand with a volunteer scientist. (Read more about what it means to be a Thriving Earth Exchange community leader.)

The submission process is meant to be simple, allowing you to provide baseline information about local challenges.

Thriving Earth Exchange projects can be completed as part of a cohort, individually, or via a dialogue. How it works video.

Thriving Earth Exchange Project Types

Type Description Benefits
Cohort A cohort is a group of projects that communicate
with and support one another. They are often launched at regional or theme-based Project Launch
Workshops. Communities in the cohort move through the Thriving Earth milestones at the same pace.
Communities benefit from
peer support,
sharing and
learning.
Individual Your project team will be supported “1-on-1” with a
Thriving Earth project liaison, and you will move
through the milestones at your own pace. Thriving
Earth is only able to accommodate a limited number
of individual projects.
This is ideal
for
communities with time-
sensitive
Thriving
Earth
projects.
Dialogue This is ideal for communities who wish to explore  how community context intersects with Earth and space science. A team of 3-5 community leaders will engage with 3-5 scientists using an online platform. An example of this is the Resilience Dialogues, a program Thriving Earth is a partner in. A dialogue
may serve as a precursor to individual or cohort Thriving Earth participation.

Once You Submit an Idea:

We will reply within one week with information about next steps.

The World and Me Family Programs at the Q’rius Room

Toakase’s Tapa: Saturday, January 12, 10:30 a.m.-12:00 noon

Q?rius, The Coralyn W. Whitney Science Education Center, Ground Floor, Natural History Museum

Learn more about your place in the world through explorations of nature and culture. Every second Saturday of the month, museum educators lead a program that combines a book reading, activities, and a chance to look more closely at the museum’s collections. These programs are designed for pre-K to 3rd grade.

What happens during a “World & Me” program?

10:30-10:45 a.m.: Free exploration of hands-on stations

10:45-11:00 a.m.: Book reading

11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon: Hands-on activity

This month, we’ll explore traditional textiles of Pacific Island cultures, specifically barkcloth. After a book reading of “Toakase’s Tapa,” families will participate in an artist-led demonstration on the process of making paper from raw materials, like mulberry tree bark. Participants will take home handmade paper that they’ve decorated.

Register for this free program

Looking for some serious family fun? Bring your competitive spirit to the museum for an evening of Arctic- and climate-themed games and activities for the whole family!

Family Game Night: Arctic Edition Saturday, January 12, 5:00-8:00 p.m.

Q?rius, The Coralyn W. Whitney Science Education Center, Ground Floor

  • Play different types of Arctic-themed games for ages 10 and up
  • Explore Arctic objects and specimens with anthropologists and other scientists
  • Discover the Arctic ecosystem and the animals that live there through games, puzzles, and hands-on activities designed for kids under 10

Register for this free program

New Years Day Hikes at Mason Neck State Park

Meet at the Woodmarsh Trail parking lot, which is on the left side of High Point Road about a quarter mile BEFORE the Mason Neck State Park Contact Station
1 January 2019
2 pm

Join the Friends of Mason Neck State Park for a walk to the see the Tundra Swans! This hike is open to everyone.

Each year, the Mason Neck area is host to one of Northern Virginia’s largest concentrations of Tundra Swans. Depending on the day, you may see as many as 400 swans and hear their haunting calls. You may also see other waterfowl, including Northern Pintails, Mergansers, Shovelers, Coots, Black Ducks and Mallards — and who knows what else? Bring your binoculars if you have them. If not, the group will have binoculars and telescopes for people to share. The tide will be high when they get there, which will maximize the likelihood that the birds will be close.

It is about a 1-mile walk on level ground to the bird blind at the marsh. Please wear sturdy shoes because it may be a little muddy.

There is no charge for the hike, no registration, and no need to pay the State Park entrance fee. NOTE: Due to the partial Federal Government shutdown, the rest rooms at the Woodmarsh Trail are closed. You can use the restrooms at Mason Neck State Park picnic area or Visitor Center before or after the hike. Admission to the Park is free on New Years Day.

Please note: if it is unusually cold and the marsh is frozen, the hike will be postponed and the group will announce the postponement on their website.

The Park is also offering First Day Hikes.  There’s an easy-paced 3.5 mile hike at 10 AM; a fast-paced 5.5 mile hike at 11 AM; and a leisurely 1-mile hike at 3 PM.  You can get more details on the hikes at Mason Neck State Park First Day Hikes.  And you can learn about the Virginia Department of Recreation’s Photo Contest and New Year Challenge at First Day Contests.

A Preview of Upcoming Virginia Tree Events

SAVE THE DATES – February to April, 2019

Tree Farm Dinner

February 21 – King & Queen County, VA

“One-stop shop” for woodland owners wanting to better manage their land and citizen scientists desiring to expand their applied knowledge base! 

Details and registration  

Landowner’s Woods & Wildlife Conference(s)

February 23 – Culpeper, VA (15th annual)

February 23 – Roanoke, VA (new)

This popular event is different every year with diverse topics and speakers throughout the day for you to choose from.  Geared toward woodland owners, and great for citizen scientists desiring to expand their applied knowledge base! 

Details and registration

On-line Woodland Options for Landowners

March 4 – May 24 – from anywhere you can “connect”

Self-paced, with “coach/mentor” interactions.

More information and registration https://forestupdate.frec.vt.edu/landow

Free Seminar:  A Primer on Pruning

March 27 – Fredericksburg, VA

Hosted by the Master Gardener Association of the Central Rappahannock Area

Central Rappahannock Regional Library, Main Branch (1201 Caroline Street,  Fredericksburg, 22401). Free and open to public. 

More information: [email protected]

Virginia Forestry Summit

April 30 – May 3  – Norfolk, VA

For Forestry professionals and Forest landowners organized by VFASAF (Virginia Division) and ACF(Virginia Division)

Details and registration forthcoming