Job opening: Huntley Meadows Park E-Status Naturalist

Part-Time: 1560 hrs/year
$14.50 – $15.00/hour Benefits eligible*

Location: Huntley Meadows Park and Historic Huntley located in Alexandria Virginia.
Over 1500 acres of forest, meadow and wetland habitat.
Instructor Description: Plan, design and present interpretive programs in natural and
cultural history and science topics for age groups ranging from preschool to adults
(preschool aged children on a regular basis). Groups can include: school groups, scout
groups, general public, thematic class series, birthday parties, camps, wagon rides,
events and special request programs. Responsible for RecDynamics functions.
Front desk, administrative, manager on duty, historic house tours, animal care and other
variable jobs included.
Hours: Variable. Hours will include mornings, afternoons, evenings, weekends and
holidays.
Preferred Qualifications: Any combination of education and experience equivalent to a
bachelor’s degree in natural, life, or physical sciences, natural history, education or a
closely related field and six months experience creating and presenting interpretive
programs for children aged 2-5 years old. Ability to communicate effectively, both orally
and in writing. Ability to deal effectively with citizen inquires and questions.
Note: *Individuals in these positions are eligible for limited employee benefits,
including medical, vision and dental insurance coverage, and participation in flexible
spending programs, but are not eligible to earn leave or receive holiday pay. This
position cannot exceed 1,560 hours per calendar year.
To Apply: Please send cover letter and resume to Kylie.Starck@fairfaxcounty.gov

Birding and binocular fundamentals, Aug. 10th

LL Bean – Tysons Corner Mall
8095 Tysons Corner Center, McLean, VA 22102
Saturday, 10 August 2019
10 – 11 am

Birding is one of the fastest growing hobbies around and a great addition to any outdoor activity. It’s a wonderful way to connect to nature and fun for the whole family. Join Audubon Society of Northern Virginia’s good friend Larry Meade at LL Bean for a FREE one-hour clinic on birding and binocular fundamentals. Questions? Please contact the store at (888) 552-9876.

Edible Landscaping Plants with Fairfax Food Council, Sep. 10th

Daniels Run Peace Church
3729 Old Lee Hwy., Fairfax VA
Tuesday, 10 September 2019
6:30- 8 pm

Are you trying to figure out how to grow food without upsetting your HOA or subtracting from the beauty of your existing landscaping? Do you want a garden that delights all five of your senses? Permaculture farmer, Cory Suter, will lead a tour of Daniels Run’s edible landscaping and then discuss selecting edible perennials for challenging conditions such as shade, clay soil, and hungry deer. He will introduce dozens of successful edible landscaping plants for Fairfax County, including beautiful evergreens, and deciduous plants with multi-season interest that produce food.
Hosted by the Virginia Cooperative Extension and Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth. Registration is required. Learn more and register here.

2019 4th Annual Farm to Table Dinner for Environmental Education, Aug. 24th

Windy Knoll Farm
11602 Kettle Run Rd, Nokesville, VA 20181
Saturday, 24 August 2019
3-7 pm

The Prince William Environmental Excellence Foundation will be hosting their 4th annual Farm to Table fundraiser dinner to support environmental education. Windy Knoll Farm is a working farm in addition to being an event center that hosts a variety of the education programs that the Foundation funds for county residents. The event will run from 3 – 7 p.m. The meal will be served from 4:00-5:30 with the ability to eat anytime within that time frame. Tickets for the meal are; $35 for adults, $15 for children ages 13 – 18, and free for children 12 and under. Following meal time, a live auction and speaker on rural development, Chris Price PWC Planning Director, will commence. In addition to the meal and live auction, there will also be a silent auction, photo sessions, opportunities to meet local artisan & farm sponsors, view vendor displays, farm hayride tours, and antique equipment displays.

All proceeds from the event go towards the implementation of beyond the walls of the classroom environmental and agricultural education for the Prince William County Community. This mission is achieved through educational programs: Farm Field Days, Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEE’s), Arbor Day activities, Water Quality Monitoring, and Adopt-A-Stream, to name a few. Your support of the Foundation and the community enable them to provide these outreach programs.

Purchase your tickets early and bring a friend or neighbor to a dinner that highlights the wonderful agricultural products produced in Prince William County. All ticket sales for this event are final. If you are unable to attend this wonderful event we ask that you consider making a tax exempt donation through this site to help us expand the learning environment of Prince William County youth. Register for the event here.

For the event menu or more information about the event, visit their website.

Stream monitoring events, August 14-24

Reston Association (RA) Stream Monitoring Workshop

Walker Nature Center
11450 Glade Dr., Reston VA
Wednesday, 14 August 2019
1-4 pm

It’s hot! What better way to enjoy summer than to get 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 streams. Not only do you get to learn about streams, it also provides an opportunity to make new friends! Learn more and register.

Wolftrap Creek Stream Monitoring Workshop

Wildwood Park, Vienna, VA
Valley Drive SE to Mashie Drive SE
Friday, 16 August 2019
5-7:30 pm

Join the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District as they discover aquatic life in Wolftrap Creek at certified monitor Ho Yeon’s site in Wildwood Park! 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. This workshop will also help to prepare you to become a certified stream monitor. Registration is limited. Send questions to Ashley Palmer and RSVP here.

Holmes Run Stream Monitoring Session

Near Hockett Street, Falls Church VA
Sunday, 18 August 2019
9 am-12 pm

Join certified stream monitor Valerie Bertha at her site in Holmes Run. Registration is limited. Contact Valerie for more information or to register.

Pohick Creek Stream Monitoring Session

Hidden Pond Nature Center
8511 Greeeley Blvd., Springfield VA
Sunday, 18 August 2019
1:30-4 pm

Join certified stream monitor Susan Demsko at her site at Hidden Pond Nature Center. Registration is limited. Contact Susan for more information or to register.

Reston Association (RA) Stream Monitoring Workshop

Reston, VA
Saturday, 24 August 2019
8 -11 am

Cool off 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 streams. Not only do you get to learn about streams, it also provides an opportunity to make new friends! Learn more and register.

Volunteer with the Farmers Market team

Are you a local food enthusiast?

Love the outdoors and don’t like being tied to a desk? 

Would you like to help bring fresh, healthy, local produce to your community?

Are you interested in supporting local farmers/producers and contributing to their livelihood?

Then this volunteer opportunity is for you!

The primary Market Manager duties include opening and closing the markets, and serving as the face of the Farmers Market Program to customers and vendors. The Market Manager helps promote the markets and answers customer questions. They monitor safety and help resolve minor issues or report incidents. Volunteers should be outgoing, passionate about buying local, and enthusiastic about connecting community members with local farmers and producers. Must offer a three month to one year commitment. We are currently seeking assistance at the following markets:

McCutcheon/Mount Vernon

Wednesdays, 8 a.m. – noon

May 2 – December 19

Sherwood Library

2501 Sherwood Hall Lane

Annandale 

Thursdays, 8 a.m. – noon

May 3 – November 1

Mason District Park

6621 Columbia Pike

Kingstowne 

Fridays, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

May 4 – October 26

In the Giant parking lot

5870 Kingstowne Towne Center

Burke

Saturdays, 8 a.m. – noon

April 14 – December 22

VRE parking Lot

5671 Roberts Parkway

Lorton

Sundays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

May 6 – November 18

VRE parking lot

8990 Lorton Station Blvd

The primary Market Manager duties includes to open and close the markets, and serve as the face of the Farmers Market Program to customers and vendors. The Market Manager helps promote the markets and answer questions of the customers who visit. They monitor safety and help resolve minor issues or report incidents.

Volunteers should be outgoing, passionate about buying local, and enthusiastic about connecting community members with local farmers and producers. Must offer a three month to one year commitment.

For more information or to join our team please fill out an application through Fairfax County’s Volunteer Management System (VMS). If you have additional questions give us a call at 703-642-0128 or email us at Hala.Elbarmil@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Working together to keep Fairfax County streams healthy

Valerie Bertha

Front Row left to right: Victoria Skender, Richard Skender. Back row, left to right: volunteer, Bradley Simpson, representing Audubon, Terri Skender

Over three years ago, I started attending stream monitoring sessions with Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD). I was amazed at how much fun I had learning how to identify the benthic macro invertebrates (tiny spineless bugs) that live on the bottom of the streams in our community. I learned that the type and diversity of the creatures we found would tell us how healthy or impaired the stream was.

But the goal wasn’t just for me to learn something, stream monitors are citizen scientists whose work complements that of the NVSWCD. By submitting the data we collect to Virginia Save Our Streams, citizens have the opportunity to identify streams that need help and work with the county to determine a plan of corrective action. Our efforts also provide a baseline for monitoring pending construction projects to prevent any degradation of water quality.

So is the work valuable? Yes, and it’s not overly time consuming. Each session takes a mere 3 hours of the volunteer’s time.

Hellgramites from Holmes Run

But is it fun? Yes, it is! So much fun that I decided to take the next step and become a certified stream monitor. I adopted a site on Holmes Run near my house to monitor quarterly. My goal is to have around 8 volunteers per session. We find a variety of macro invertebrates: net spinners, beetles, hellgrammites, black flies, midges, flat worms and sometimes stone flies.

Anyone can volunteer. I have trained multiple girl scout troops, run workshops for high schoolers, and always accept individual volunteers. You do not need to be an FMN member. I enjoy working with NVSWCD because they provide the equipment and training certification, and they are always helpful.

Are you curious about the water quality of your local stream? Would you like to make a positive difference in our environment? Join me or other volunteers and participate in stream monitoring. Start here. Just search under Fairfax County Stream Monitoring.

If you would like to come to one of my quarterly stream monitoring sessions please send me an email at valerie.bertha@gmail,com. My next session is August 18, 9 am – noon. I will host another in November, time to be determined.

Rain, rain, drain away?

Article by NVCT staff

Are you as concerned as the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust about the severe storms and flash flooding that have affected our region in recent weeks? These events also impact local wildlife, trees and plants while overtaxing our stormwater infrastructure. Take a look these ways that you can help reduce the impacts of flooding in your own backyards.

How to Reduce the Impact of Flooding

1. Level a sloping yard. To avoid incoming water, the ground should always slope away from your home in all directions. Locate the high and low points of your home and use extra dirt to slope the yard away from your house. This way, melting snow and rain will flow away from your home and basement, preventing flooding in your home. Work with a professional to make sure vents, basement windows, pipes, drains, and other areas aren’t negatively impacted during the grading process.

2. Choose native plants that prevent flooding. Indigenous plants can help to prevent soil erosion while also allowing rainwater to drain more efficiently. Some examples of plants great for this task are shrubs, ferns, wildflowers, and small, native trees. These can often be found at local plant nurseries.

(Ed. note:  Plant NOVA Natives has terrific advice for such plants on their website.)

3. Add mulch to your garden. In garden areas graded away from your home, fill with a few inches of mulch. This will help keep soil in place and hold in rainwater. If mulching near your home, make sure the mulch is at least six inches from your siding to avoid moisture wicking and rotting of your home’s exterior.

4. Plant grass to reduce the impact of floods. The root structure of grass can help absorb water. It’s important to research what kind of grass would be most effective for your area. Once it grows in, avoid cutting your lawn too short, which weakens the roots and can lead to flooding in your yard, and possibly your home.

5. Plant a rain garden. Rain gardens are the perfect solution for curbing erosion and improving water quality. They collect rainwater and water that runs from your gutters and downspouts, and create a runoff, filtering it away from your house. They are often created in shallow, landscaped depressions.

(Ed. note:  Plant NOVA Natives has terrific advice for rain gardens on their website.)

6. Add drainage areas near driveways. Paved driveways can quickly lead to rainwater runoff, which can increase your home’s risk for flooding. Installing a gravel or spaced paver driveway are two options. For something less expensive, consider adding drainage next to your driveway by way of channel drains, pavers, or other landscaping-based solutions.

7. Install a rain barrel. Rain barrels, which are placed at the bottom of downspouts to collect the water, are a great way to redirect moisture and protect your home from flooding. As an added bonus, rain barrels allow an eco-friendly way to water your gardens and lawn when it’s dry out, as well as decrease pollution runoff into lakes and natural waterways.

8. Check your sump pump. A well-maintained sump pump will ensure that your basement stays dry by directing water out of your basement and away from your home. A sump pump can mean the difference between proper water flow and costly water damage. It’s important to check your sump pump to make sure everything is in proper working order. If you don’t have a sump pump, you might want to see if getting one is right for you.

 

 

Join Nature’s Notebook Pest Patrol citizen science work

PROJECT BACKGROUND

Nature’s Notebook is seeking observers to report their sightings of insect pest species that cause harm to forest and agricultural trees. Your observations as part of this campaign will help validate and improve the USA-NPN’s Pheno Forecasts, which help managers know when these species are active and susceptible to treatment.

JOIN US!

You can contribute by reporting observations of key pest species over the course of the year. The campaign focuses on 13 species that are considered to be insect pests.

Learn more about these species on the species profile pages and Pheno Forecast pages linked below. You’ll find a phenophase photo guide linked at the bottom of each species profile page to help you with identification of key life cycle events, such as active caterpillars and active adults. Each Pheno Forecast page shows maps of which locations have reached key life cycle event stages this year, and gives information on why managers care about that species.

Species Profile (overview of protocol) Phenophase Photo Guide (ID tips and photos of life cycle stages) Pheno Forecast (and why you should observe this species)
Leaf-feeding insects
Bagworm Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis Photo Guide  Forecast
Eastern tent caterpillar Malacosoma americanum Photo Guide  Forecast
Gypsy moth Lymantria dispar Photo Guide  Forecast
Winter moth Operophtera brumata Photo Guide  Forecast
Sap-feeding insects
Hemlock woolly adelgid Adelges tsugae Photo Guide Forecast
Magnolia scale Neolecanium cornuparvum Photo Guide Forecast
Pine needle scale Chionaspis pinifoliae Photo Guide Forecast
Spotted lanternfly* Lycorma delicatula Photo Guide There is currently no forecast available for this species, but your observations can help researchers to develop one!
Wood-feeding insects
Asian longhorned beetle* Anoplophora glabripennis Photo Guide  Forecast
Bronze birch borer Agrilus anxius Photo Guide  Forecast
Emerald ash borer Agrilus planipennis Photo Guide  Forecast
Lilac (aka ash) borer Podosesia syringae Photo Guide  Forecast
Fruit-feeding insects
Apple maggot Rhagoletis pomonella Photo Guide  Forecast

*If you see these species, please report them immediately to USDA APHIS via the reporting forms for Asian longhorned beetle and Spotted lanternfly

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

1. Select one (or more) species to track from the list of species. To see which species are available in your state, go to The Plants and Animals page, and filter for your state and Pest Patrol Campaign (under the Animal Types dropdown in the Advanced section).

2. Join Nature’s Notebook. If you haven’t already, create a Nature’s Notebook account. See our specifics of observing if you need more details on getting started.

3. Sign up to receive Pest Patrol messaging (in the right sidebar of this page – you may need to scroll back up to see it). You will receive information about how to identify species and phenophases, as well as results of your efforts. You will also receive notifications when your area is approaching the time to look for the activity of pest life cycle stages of interest.

4. Take observations. We invite you to look for pests approximately two to three times a week once you receive the message that your area is approaching the activity period. We encourage you to continue to observe your pest species until it is no longer active.

5. Report your observations. As you collect data during the season, log in to your Nature’s Notebook account and enter the observation data you recorded. You can also use our smartphone apps to submit your observations!

Join the 2019 International Monarch Monitoring Blitz

The 3rd Annual International Monarch Monitoring Blitz is happening in Canada, Mexico and the United States from 27 July to 4 August 2019.

For one week, the Blitz invites people across North America to go out to gardens, parks and green areas and monitor milkweed plants for monarch eggs, caterpillars, chrysalises and butterflies. This information will help researchers identify priority areas for monarch conservation actions.

You can help by spreading the word, hosting a monitoring event, or monitoring yourself during this time!

To take part in the Blitz, simply observe milkweed and monarchs, and report your observations. Record the location and area where you monitored, the number of milkweed plants observed, and the number and life stage of monarchs counted (even if there are no monarchs!).

In Canada, report observations to Mission Monarch. If you are east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States report to Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, and if you are west of the Rocky Mountains report to Western Monarch and Milkweed Mapper. In Mexico, you can report to Naturalista or use the Red Monarca app. You can also share about and follow the Blitz on social media using the hashtag #MonarchBlitz.

Regular observations at your MLMP site will also contribute to the Blitz. You do not need to enter weekly site monitoring data in both places. However, we encourage you to find some additional milkweed outside your site to monitor this week using the MLMP Blitz data entry form!

If you want to participate in or host an event, you can find or register one on SciStarter! Just make sure to select ‘International Monarch Monitoring Blitz’ in the ‘What Type of Event’ section.

The Blitz is an initiative of the Trinational Monarch Conservation Science Partnership, created through the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC). Through the Blitz, scientists from the Insectarium/Montréal Space for LifeEnvironment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Monarch Joint Venture, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and Mexico’s Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas(Conanp) are asking the public to help them understand monarch and milkweed distribution throughout North America. Data gathered during the Blitz will be uploaded to the Trinational Monarch Knowledge Network, where they will be accessible for anyone for consultation and download.

FACTS ABOUT THE 2018 MONARCH BLITZ

  • 486 participants across Canada, Mexico, and the United States
  • 1,323 records
  • 53,588 milkweed plants monitored
  • 13,796 monarchs observed
  • 6,905 eggs
  • 4,900 caterpillars
  • 470 chrysalises
  • 1,521 butterflies

For more information, contact André-Philippe Drapeau Picard, Blitz Coordinator, Insectarium/Montréal Space for Life at xdrapan@ville.montreal.qc.ca.