Volunteers Sought for Frying Pan Farm Park

Photo: Fairfax County Park Authority

Frying Pan Farm Park
2739 West Ox Rd, Herndon

Frying Pan Farm Park is installing a beetle bank / pollinator strip between a pasture fence and the vegetable garden.  The Beetle Bank will provide overwintering habitat for beneficial insects, as well as pathway for visitors to enjoy.  The park would appreciate one or two volunteers to be the point people to maintain the garden.  Tasks would include weeding – especially during the summer, coordinating donations of echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower) plants this fall or next spring, and mulching in the fall.  If you are interested, please email: Marjorie.Landis@fairfaxcounty.gov

Make Room for Turkeys! November 20th

Photo courtesy of the National Wild Turkey Federation, A female (hen) wild turkey in front of a male (tom)

Sunday, November 20, 2022
3-4 pm

ELLANOR C. LAWRENCE PARK LOCATION
Visitor Center & Amphitheater
5040 Walney Road
Chantilly, VA, 20151


Fee: $8.00
Register here.

Turkeys are native to the Americas and have been everything from decorative to Thanksgiving centerpiece. They’ve been here for 10 million years but how can you make sure they have a place here for a million more? Find out more about the role of turkeys in different cultures and how important habitat restoration will make room for turkeys!

Beginner Lichen Identification Workshop, December 17th

Photo/Image: Clifton Institute Beginner Lichen Identification Workshop

Saturday, December 17, 2022
1-3 pm

The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road, Warrenton, VA
38.775154, -77.798197

$10 ($8 for Friends of the Clifton Institute)
Register here.

Lichens: part algae, part fungi, all mystery! Did you know that we have more than 400 species of lichens in our region and that many of them can be identified with a little practice and a hand lens? Lichens in our area are diverse in their appearance, in where they grow, and in how they reproduce. The northern Piedmont is a great place to learn lichens because we have a fascinating blend of mountain and coastal plain species. The 900-acre Clifton Institute hosts at least 75 species, including some mature forest specialists like the Shaggy Fringe Lichen.

In this program, lichenologist and mycology teacher at George Mason UN Dr. Natalie Howe will teach us the basics of lichen biology and then lead us on a walk around the field station to see how many species we can find. No experience with lichens is necessary.

Stream Cleanups, Invasive Removal and Habitat Restoration, and Stream Monitoring Activities for November and December

Photo: Stream monitoring, Pohick Creek.  by J. Quinn

Stream Cleanups

There are dozens of calls for community action and volunteering, particularly for stream cleanups across the county and region, but here is one you may be interested in.

Surveys

Join these efforts to track biodiversity in the region by conducting surveys, monitoring nests, and more!

Invasive Removal and Habitat Restoration

Join these efforts to remove invasive species, repair trails, and otherwise beautify natural spaces!

  • Habitat Restoration- Friends of Accotink Creek – Klub Kudzu- reoccurring Mon/Thu/Fri in November and December, varying times and locations

  • Habitat Restoration Eakin Park – Friends of Accotink Creek– Saturdays December 3/10, Eakin Park in Annandale 

  • Invasive Plant Removal- Plant NOVA Natives– Tree Rescuers vine ID hands-on training opportunity- Wednesdays/Saturdays in November, varying times and locations

  • Invasive Plant Removal –Friends of Dyke Marsh– November 19 and December 3/17,10:00am- 12:00pm

Stream Monitoring

*NVSWCD Supervised Event*

VASOS Field Exam for Stream Monitoring Certification
When: Friday, November 11, from 3:00-5:00pm OR Saturday, November 12, from 1:00-3:00pm
Where: Wolftrap Creek Stream Valley Park, Vienna
This event is for volunteers taking the field exam only! If you are interested in becoming a certified stream monitor, click here for detailed steps and FAQs. Although it is not required, it is highly recommended to attend a workshop to get some field experience before taking this exam.

More Training and Stream Monitoring Opportunities

The Northern Virginia Water and Soil Conservation District (NVSWCD) is very excited to contribute their stream data to state and national datasets. If you’d like to see data from all the NVSWCD regional stream monitoring team’s active sites, you can find our organization on the Clean Water Hub. Keep in touch with NVSWCD on our Facebook and Instagram.

 

ASNV Project FeederWatch Workshop with Greg Butcher, November 22nd

Photo: Northern Cardinal by Alexis Hayes

Tuesday, November 22,2022
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Workshop is virtual
Workshop is FREE

Please click here to register. 


Project FeederWatch is the easiest citizen science you will ever do!

From the comfort of your home, you simply count the winter birds that visit your feeders and report your data to Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

This FREE workshop will cover a bit of Project FeederWatch history, its purpose, tips for identifying birds, and the protocols to be followed while counting. After the presentation, your identification skills will be tested with a Kahoot!

Greg Butcher is a Ph.D. ornithologist and Audubon Society of Northern Virginia (ASNV) board member. In addition to the U.S. Forest Service, Greg has worked for the National Audubon Society, American Birding Association, Partners in Flight, Birder’s World magazine, and Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Greg is a lively and informative public speaker and interpreter for bird conservation and ecology worldwide.

The 2022 Butterfly Count Results from the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy

Photo of Crossline Skipper on Teasel by Michael Myers

Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy has coordinated the Annual Loudoun Butterfly count since 1997. The count takes place in early August, which is the peak time for butterflies in our area. They report their data to the North American Butterfly Association (NABA), which tracks butterfly populations.

This year on August 6, a typical warm, humid summer day, 60 volunteers set out to count as many butterflies as they could find in a single day. It was their 26th Annual Butterfly Count, and they tallied 3,756 butterflies of 45 species in an area of about 178 square miles in the northwestern corner of Loudoun County.

When the count day is over, team leaders tabulate their results, which are consolidated into a report submitted to the NABA. NABA collects reports from all over the country and makes them available to researchers.

Anne Ellis, Butterfly Count Coordinator, has written a very informative article, How Does One Count Butterflies?“, in which she describes this year’s count experience and answers the question, “Exactly how does one count butterflies?”

If you would like to know which species have been seen during previous years, you can view butterfly count data and reports A summary report of species count by year can be viewed here

Take a few moments to enjoy the 2022 Butterfly Count video too.

The 2023 count will be on Saturday, August 5. Please join the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and count the butterflies!

Beginner Grass Identification Workshop, December 10th

Image: Courtesy of Clifton Institute

Saturday, December 10, 2022
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Fee: $8.00 – $10.00
Click here for registration.

The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road, Warrenton, VA
38.775154, -77.798197

At first glance, it might seem like grasses all look the same and that they don’t offer the same beauty that showy flowers do. But you may find it’s worth taking the time to learn to tell grasses apart and to appreciate their unique beauty. And winter is a great time to do it because the grasses have gone to seed and are easy to see in an otherwise quiescent landscape. In this workshop for beginners, Executive Director Bert Harris will take participants on a walk through some of the Institute’s fields and teach participants how to identify common grasses.

 

Christmas Bird Count, December 14th – January 5th

Photo: Winter Wren, Therese Scheller/Audubon Photography Awards

The 123rd Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will take place between this December 14 and January 5, 2023. General information about the CBC is available on the Audubon website.

Audubon Society of Northern Virginia sponsors the Manassas-Bull Run CBC, which will be held for the 41st year on Sunday, December 18. Those who participated in our count last December will to be contacted no later than Thanksgiving. Anyone who would like to participate in this count but did not participate last year should contact the compiler, Phil Silas, at epsdcva@aol.com, or 703-987-0817, as soon as possible but not later than December 8.

Information on other local CBCs that you may be interested in is available in the November 2022 issue of The Siskin, the newsletter of the Northern Virginia Bird Club. Look for the list on page 3.

If you have any questions or concerns about participating in this fun and very useful annual event, you can email or call Phil Silas.

Songbird Research: Prothonotary Warblers with Shirley Devan, Webinar December 15th

Photo: Prothonotary Warbler, Heather Orkis/Audubon Photography Awards

Thursday, December 15, 2022
7-8 pm
Webinar
ASNV Members $15/Nonmembers $25
Register here.

Cure your winter blues with a pop of yellow! Learn all about the Prothonotary Warbler, the only Eastern warbler species that nests in cavities. Populations of this striking bird, affectionately described by some as a “flying lemon,” have declined by 34 percent since 1970. It is a watch list species for Partners in Flight. The Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory (CVWO) has been studying the species since 1995 by banding and monitoring nestlings at 130+ nesting boxes along Virginia’s coast. Shirley Devan, a member of the board of directors for the CVWO, will provide a brief life history of the Prothonotary Warbler. She also will describe CVWO’s banding efforts and what the organization has learned in the process. You also can expect to see some great photos. Brought to you by Audubon Society of Northern Virginia.

Rock Hound 101 – The Hole Story

FMVA roadshow booth display; photo Jerry Nissley

As previously announced, FMN recently established a partnership with Friends of Mineralogy Virginia (FMVA). During the summer of 2022 FMN Katy Johnson completed their Rock Hound 101 course and subsequently initiated an introduction of FMVA to FMN. FMN president, Marilyn Parks, then solidified an understanding with FMVA, which resulted in our educational and service partnership. In October 2022, FMN Jessi Tong and I also completed their Rock Hound 101 course.

Mt. Athos Quarry;  photo Jerry Nissley

The objective of FMVA is to promote and expand the study of mineralogy and the hobby of mineral collecting. Their mission is to promote and preserve Virginia mineral and mining heritage while expanding the knowledge of minerals more broadly through community programs and industry partnerships. FMN and FMVA share many mission values so the partnership is a natural opportunity to exchange service hours and continuing educational programs. To that end, FMN approved FMVA as a CE partner; and service hours obtained while working collaborative projects with FMVA may be entered using Community Outreach – E543: Educational and Outreach – – FMN.

Epidote, quartz, ilmenite, actinolite, magnetite collected from Mt. Athos; photo Jerry Nissley

The 101 course consists of five online learning sessions and two field trips to big holes in the ground – also known as quarries. The field trips for this cohort were to the Dale quarry in Chesterfield county, Virginia and to Mt. Athos quarry in Lynchburg, Virginia. The course curriculum consists, in part, of an introduction to basic Geology and in-depth discussions on geological characteristics specific to Virginia formations. Once the basics of Virginia geology are covered the students learn basic skills required to Rock Hound. This includes how and where to hunt for rocks and minerals, an introduction to a vast library of online resource material/databases, and an overview of some basic rock hound tools. Must haves and nice-to-haves.

Rock Hounds in action at Dale Quarry, Chesterfield, Va; photo Jerry Nissley

The field trips provide students active experience using tried and true field techniques on how to safely discover rocks and minerals and how to extract what is found. Safety is stressed at every turn. Rock hounds are given pre-trip safety instructions and inspections by the instructor and each quarry is required to provide a mandatory safety session to go over active ‘day-of’ quarry operations and instructions.

Smokey Quartz with garnets and beryl collected from Dale Quarry; photo Jerry Nissley

Rock hounding in quarries with an experienced instructor provides a controlled learning environment that facilitates the educational value of the day. In addition, fresh samples are essentially scattered all around ready for discovery with minimal digging required. Once honed, rock hound skills may be used in the field of your choice – on hikes, while camping or kayaking, on the beach, in the mountains, or in your local cave. Always be respectful of the land you are on and cognizant of prevailing governance while on private or public lands.

Please contact FMN Jerry Nissley at fmncontinuinged@gmail.com for details on how to register for future FMVA Rock Hound courses.

Rock Hound tools; photo Jerry Nissley

Thomas Hale, President of FMVA and our Rock Hound 101 instructor, authored the first book published under FMVA titled, ‘The Northern Virginia Trap Rock Quarries”, Primedia eLaunch LLC, July 2022. This is the first major publication on Virginia Minerals in thirty years and the book includes color photography.

Available through friendsofmineralogy.virginia@gmail.com.