Join Alonso Abugattas at Thompson Wildlife Management Area for Trillium Walk, 28 April

The Virginia Native Plant Society is sponsoring Alonso Abugattas, noted naturalist, ethno-botanist, and host of the Capital Naturalist blog as he leads a Trillium Walk at Thompson Wildlife Management Area on the east slope of the Shenandoahs, east of Front Royal. This site is recognized for the abundance of spring ephemerals, especially the native trilliums.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

9 am – 2 pm

If you are a Fairfax Master Naturalist, this activity counts toward continuing education credits

Learn more

Go Birding on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and Chincoteague Island

Enjoy special access to Wallops Island and other protected birding destinations, where you’ll learn from experts as you look for the region’s more than 400 species of birds. During the migratory season, millions of birds along the Atlantic Flyway “funnel” through a small area along Virginia’s Eastern Shore, where more than 400 species have been recorded. Explore the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge’s restricted back country on Chincoteague and Assateague islands with Chincoteague Bay Field Station.

The 6-day event costs $599. April and May are waitlisted; September and December are accepting applications.

If you are a Fairfax Master Naturalist, this activity counts toward continuing education credits

Learn more

April Activities at Huntley Meadows

Twilight Boardwalk

7 April 2018

7-9 pm

(6-Adult) Join a naturalist at Huntley Meadows Park on a guided tour through the forested paths to the wetland, and experience the park as it transitions from day into night. Watch and listen for beavers, owls and other nocturnal residents. The  cost is $9 per person. For more information, call 703-768-2525. Register online

 

Wetlands Spring to Life: Sketch Hike

21 April 2018

10 am-noon

(10-Adult) Join artist and naturalist Margaret Wohler to explore and sketch the wetland at Huntley Meadows Park as it wakes up for spring. Learn to identify and draw the first plants and animals that spring to life. Enhance your observation and sketching skills. The cost is $9 per person. For more information, call 703-768-2525. Register online

 

Get Ready for Warbler Migration

22 April 2018

8-11 am

(Adults) Learn or refresh your warbler calls and identification skills with this educational session at Huntley Meadows Park. Common warbler migrants of Huntley Meadows will be covered. The cost is $10 per person. For more information, call 703-768-2525. Register online

Learn more

 

Service opportunity: Help monitor beautiful Holmes Run Creek, in Annandale, 22 April

Valerie Bertha, a certified stream monitor, is looking for naturalists to help her observe the health of Holmes Run Creek, in Annandale.

Date and time: 22 April, Sunday, 9 am-noon. The group will meet at the end of Hockett Street, off of Annandale Road. If you have trouble finding the site, please call Valerie at 703-473-2789.

Please also RSVP to valerie.bertha@gmail.com by 15 April so that she knows how much equipment to borrow. Wear rain boots because you will be in the creek.

This service project receives credit for C020: NVSWCD Biological Stream Monitoring.

A Taste of Spring at Scott’s Run Nature Preserve

A Walk with Carrie Blair

Sunday, March 25th, 9.00 am to 12 noon

Scott’s Run Nature Preserve, Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA 22102

“Bud break” at Scott’s Run Nature Preserve shows that spring has come. Scan the tree tops to see the brown of the elms, the red of the maples, and the yellow of the willows. The American hazelnut is flowering with golden catkins and the red, silver and boxelder maples are flowering. These are joining the greens that made it through winter on the forest floor, including ground pine, white avens, and patridgeberry.

Carrie has led hundreds of tree identification walks and classes over the last 25 years of volunteering with the VNPS Piedmont Chapter and as a docent at the State Arboretum of Virginia, part of the  Blandy Experimental Farm in Boyce, Virginia. She is a Virginia Master Naturalist and has served as a Front Royal/Warren County Tree Steward since 2010. She has been a board member, including president, of the Virginia Native Plant Society Piedmont Chapter for many years. Carrie lives in the Marshall, Virginia, area and knows the land intimately by walking and riding horses.

Sponsored by the Potowmack Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society.

VNPS programs are free and open to the public, but space on walks is limited.

Please click here to REGISTER.

To CANCEL your registration or ask a QUESTION, please email vnps.pot@gmail.com.

The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors, by David G. Haskell

Reviewed by Ann DiFiore

“To listen to the songs of trees is to know their communities, their network of family of which we and our voices are members”

David Haskell’s most recent book, The Songs of Trees (2017, 252 pp) continues his examination of forests and the interconnectedness of organisms. This book, however, is marked by a feeling of particular urgency as he explores not only the natural history of trees, living and dead, wild and cultivated, but the impact of climate change, deforestation, and political pressures on trees, the populations that depend on them, and the planet as a whole.

Haskell divides his work into three parts. Part I profiles individual trees and their environments, from the rainforest to the boreal forest; part 2 covers living and fossilized trees; and part 3 introduces cultivated, or urbanized, trees, ranging from cottonwoods to bonsai.

By tree songs, Haskell means the music of water, sunlight, insects, rock, machinery, fungi—every living and non-living thing with which trees interact. For example, the rainforest’s Ceiba pentandra tree’s song incorporates the rush and patter of rain flowing from canopy to roots, across the myriad bromeliads, ferns, and philodendrons that make this tree ecosystem a “sky lake.”

Sensors on the trunk of a Bradford pear growing at 86th and Broadway records the rumbles of the subway beneath its roots and the screech and blare of taxis hurdling down neighboring thoroughfares. A ponderosa pine’s melody combines the whine of windswept needles, the grating of a sapsucker probing for ants, the pop of wood cells thirsty for water, the grinding of beetles under its bark.

For Virginia Master Naturalists Haskell’s book serves as both inspiration and guide to ways in which we can enlighten and engage the public. By helping people interact with trees and experience them—seeing, listening, touching, smelling, tasting– the trees become animate. When we educate the public on their role as living community centers, we communicate their value and the interconnectedness of all lives.

As in The Forest Unseen, Haskell provides fascinating insights into the ecology and evolution of the forest. In this book, human attitudes and ethics vis a vis their environment play prominent and compelling roles. To the Waori people of Ecuador, ”the Ceiba is the tree of life in their creation story “ (p. 16). They view the forest as a whole organism, made up of living things, “spirits and dreams:” that can only exist cooperatively (p. 18).

While Haskell believes that few Westerners can match the Waori’s connectedness to their environment, he implores humankind to try harder to interact, learn, and care for the trees and ecosystems vital to our survival. The abandonment of centuries-old olive groves on the West Bank epitomizes the upheaval and loss that occurs when populations are uprooted, due to environmental or political change.  A loss, he laments, of both their knowledge and identification with the land. While he addresses the exploitation of both rainforests and boreal forest, which he describes as our last and greatest terrestrial carbon store, Haskell looks for signs of redemption among the devastation. The fossilized redwood in Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument that mesmerizes a young girl and her family is a promise of engagement. Street trees in New York championed by the people who value their shade and flowers give him hope.

Like the Yamaki Japanese white pine, a bonsai tended by the Yamaki family for four hundred years and gifted to the US National Arboretum by the government of Japan, trees are “living strands of relationship.” The tree survived the bombing of Hiroshima and is now a symbol of friendship between the two nations. While carefully cultivated and often non-native, bonsai’s miniaturized forms let viewers access trees in a way that is more personal, more intimate.  “Trees are masters of integration, connecting their cells into the soil, the sky, and thousands of other species.“(p. 153).  Haskell’s book will strengthen FMNs’ resolve to help  their communities renew those strands of relationship.

Want to review a resource? We’d love to hear from you. Instructions for submission await your click and commitment.

Save the Date: Next FMN Chapter Meeting is 19 March, at Hidden Oaks

FMN Chapter Meetings are informative, fun, good for networking, and count for 1 hour of continuing education credit! Come reconnect with friends and fellow naturalists.
Monday, 19 March 2018, 7.30-9 pm: Penny Firth (Director, Division of Environmental Biology, National Science Foundation) and Robin Firth present “What’s that mushroom?”, an overview of our area fungi and how to get into studying fungi in Virginia.
Hidden Oaks Nature Center, 7701 Royce St., Annandale. Open to the public.
Sunday, 20 May 2018, 4.30-6 pm: Chapter Meeting and Spring Class Graduation
St. Dustan’s Church, McLean. Open to the public.
17 Sept 2018: Hidden Oaks Nature Center, details TBD

Working to reduce plastics in our environment

The Fairfax County Federation invites the public to interact with three speakers:

Kris Unger, primary conservator of the Friends of Accotink Creek will talk about what happens to plastic as it traverses the environment.

Erica Carter, recycling coordinator for the Fairfax Solid Waste Management Program, will discuss recycling and the market for recycled plastic.

Don Cammerata, business manager for Virginia Facilities for Covanta, and Frank Capoblanco and Joe Walsh, will discuss how plastics are dealt with at the Lorton Waste to Energy Facility.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

7.30 pm

Main Community Room, Mason Government Center

6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA 22003

RSVP Flint Webb

Remove Invasive Plants from Fairfax County’s Natural Areas

Invasive invaders such as kudzu, wisteria and stilt grass are pushing out important native flora and diminishing the health of our parks.  Help turn the tide against these exotic invaders by joining the Invasive Management Area (IMA) volunteers and pulling these weeds out by their roots!  Several workdays are scheduled in March and April.  The IMA calendar can be found online.

NVCT Conservation Lunch

Protecting our Land, Protecting our Water

Saturday, 15 March, Belle Haven Country Club

6023 Fort Hunt Road, Alexandria VA  22307

11.30-Noon Registration and Networking

Noon-1.15 pm Lunch and Program

Featured speaker, Jason Samenow of the Capital Weather Gang, will explore how open space and conserved land is critical to a healthy, resilient Northern Virginia.  Plus, hear the inspiring story of NVCT’s signature property and one of our most successful partnerships.

Tickets $85

Click here to register online.  RSVP by Friday, 9 March.  For more information contact Greg Meyer
at Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, 703-354-5093, gmeyer@nvct.org.