Earth Sangha seed cleaning events

Earth Sangha office
5101-I Backlick Road, Annandale VA
Sunday, 15 December and Monday, 16 December 2019, 10 am – 1 pm
Sunday, 5 January and Monday, 6 January 2020, 10 am – 1 pm
Sunday, 12 January and Monday, 13 January 2020 , 10 am – 1 pm
Continuing until all seeds are cleaned

Ever wonder how Earth Sangha grows the plants in its nursery? It all starts with the seeds! Come volunteer and learn how the process works. The size of the office conference room dictates a maximum of 15 people participating at a time. If you want to join these activities, please register by sending an email to Lisa Bright at lbright@earthsangha.org. Regrettably, volunteers may have to be turned away if they show up without communicating to Lisa.

Author Lecture: Dr. Doug Tallamy, Feb. 23rd

Manassas Park Community Center
99 Adams Drive, Manassas Park, VA
Sunday, 23 February 2020
3 – 5pm

Renowned entomologist and ecologist Doug Tallamy will present Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society February’s Author Lecture. Dr. Tallamy will have his new book available for signing, Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard. (Timber Press, available February 4, 2020).

Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 95 research publications and has taught insect related courses for 39 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His book Bringing Nature Home was awarded the 2008 Silver Medal by the Garden Writers’ Association. The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke, was published in 2014.  Among his awards are the Garden Club of America Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation and the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence, and the 2018 AHS B.Y. Morrison Communication Award.

Audubon Afternoon: “Winter Waterfowl of the Potomac River,” Jan. 12th

National Wildlife Federation
11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Reston, VA 20190
Sunday, 12 January 2020
2:30 – 5 pm
Potluck

Join Audubon Society of Northern Virginia (ASNV) to learn about waterfowl that visit our area in winter. Greg Butcher, ASNV Vice-President and Migratory Species Coordinator for the US Forest Service, will be the guest speaker. Please bring a dish to share. This event is FREE and open to the public.

Greg Butcher first became an Audubon member when he was 11 and his grandfather bought him a membership. He has been birdwatching ever since, the last 16 years in the D.C. area. During weekdays, he is the Migratory Species Coordinator for U.S. Forest Service International Programs, working with birds, bats, monarch butterflies, and dragonflies. Greg has previously worked for National Audubon Society, American Birding Association, Partners in Flight, Birder’s World magazine, and Cornell Lab of Ornithology. He studied ecology in Costa Rica with Organization for Tropical Studies and has worked closely with BirdLife International over the past 16 years. He is a Fellow of the American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU) and a 2010 TogetherGreen Fellow.

ASNV Winter Waterfowl Count Workshop, Jan. 23rd

National Wildlife Federation
11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Reston, VA 20190
Thursday, 23 January 2020
7 – 9 pm
Field Trip: Saturday, January 25, TBD

Learn about waterfowl that visit our area in winter. Please bring a dish to share. This event is FREE and open to the public.

Join Greg Butcher, Audubon Society of Northern Virginia (ASNV) board member and migratory species coordinator for U.S. Forest Service International Programs, for an introduction to waterfowl identification. Get to know many of the species that winter in the open waters of our region. You’ll learn how to tell a Bufflehead from a Hooded Merganser, and, with luck, you will see the beautiful Tundra Swans that winter in our area. Strategies will include identification by shape and color pattern. This workshop will include an outdoor field trip and bird walk on Saturday, January 25—details will be given in class.

After the workshop and field trip, you’ll be ready to rally for a tally during the ASNV 12th Annual Waterfowl Count, Saturday, February 8, and Sunday, February 9. Volunteer teams will survey the Potomac River from Algonkian Regional Park in Loudoun County south to Quantico Marine Base in Prince William County. Several important inland ponds, lakes, and marshes are included in the survey. To register contact Larry Cartwright: prowarbler@verizon.net or info@audubonva.org.

RSVP here.

Limit: 30
Fee: FREE

Native plants in public spaces

Article by Plant NOVA Natives

Shopping center parking lots and other public spaces can be tree-lined havens from the summer heat, with beautiful blossoms to induce people to linger. Imagine yourself resting on a shaded bench, listening to the birds as you enjoy watching the people stroll by.  Do the commercial spaces in your town look like this, or do you find yourself hurrying from car to building to get out of the glaring heat? Wouldn’t you prefer to do your shopping at the place with more greenery? 

Commercial establishments across the region are starting to appreciate the return on investment of native plants. There are practical reasons related to the fact that they are adapted to the Virginia climate. Native Virginia plants require less watering (once established) than rows of annuals and only need to be planted once. Native shrubs such as Virginia Sweetspire require no pruning and provide more natural-looking alternatives to conventional landscaping choices that get leggy with continuous trimming. No fertilizers and pesticides are needed, either. Beyond the practicalities, though, companies that choose native plants are signaling to the public that they are good corporate citizens who care about our common home and are working to preserve our heritage. 

In many cases, property managers are taking the simple step of swapping out the non-native in their curbside beds for reliable natives such as Threadleaf Coreopsis, Common Yucca, Black-Eyed Susan and Common Yarrow. Winterberry Holly, with its bright red berries, has become a popular choice to place next to buildings. Some landscapers are installing innovative designs that give the property a whole new look, incorporating a wide variety of shrubs and ornamental trees such as Redbud and great swaths of native grasses such as Switchgrass waving in the breeze. An example of that can be seen at Caboose Commons in Fairfax, where imaginative landscaping adds a new dimension to the dining experience. Still other establishments such as Vienna Vintner have planted extensive pollinator gardens leading up to their entrances, with flowers that bloom in succession and attract butterflies from early spring to late fall. 

You may have noticed sidewalks and parking lots that have sunken islands. Stormwater retention areas, which are mandatory for new development, provide an opportunity for creative landscaping. Water and drought tolerant trees such as Red Maple and Serviceberry can provide shade while their roots absorb the runoff. Native grasses, perennials and shrubs help clean the water while adding color and interest to the design. 

Photos and details about landscaping with native plants in commercial spaces can be found on the Plant NOVA Natives website. The Caboose Commons project is highlighted in the first Plant NOVA Natives video for landscape professionals. Produced by volunteer Joe Bruncsak, owner of Blue Land Media, this series of very short videos will feature projects that exemplify landscape design at its best.

2nd Annual Native Plants for Beginners

Saturday, February 8, 2020, 6:00-7:30pm

Northern Virginia Community College, Woodbridge VA

More details and registration info to follow. See plantnovanatives.org for more information.

Take a Walk to See the Tundra Swans

Wednesday, January 1, 2020, 12:15pm

Mason Neck State Park, Lorton VA

Have you ever seen Tundra Swans, those amazing birds that migrate thousands of miles from the Arctic to spend the winter in our region? Their haunting calls are nearly impossible to forget!

You’ve got a great opportunity to see the Tundra Swans at 12:15 pm on January 1, when the Friends of Mason Neck State Park will lead a guided walk to see them. We’ll start from the Woodmarsh Trail parking lot, on the left side of High Point Road a short distance BEFORE you get to the Park’s Contact Station. 

We’ll walk about a mile over fairly level ground to the viewing area. You’ll likely hear the birds before you see them. We’ll have binoculars and telescopes so you can view the swans and other water birds and we’ll also help you identify them. There’s no charge for this event, which is open to everyone. Come out and enjoy the first day of 2020 with the Friends! The trails can be a little muddy, so be sure to wear sturdy shoes or boots. 

Learn more.

Book Club: Braiding Sweetgrass

The Clifton Institute, 6712 Blantyre Rd., Marshall, VA, 20115

Thursday, January 30, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

For their second book club, Clifton Institute is switching from birds to plants and reading Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. You’ll gather around the fire with warm drinks in hand and discuss the book with fellow nature lovers.

Get excited to learn about other ways of experiencing and understanding nature than the scientific perspective we’ve been trained in. The book is available at the Open Book in Old Town in Warrenton… Didn’t finish the book? Come anyway!

Register

The Secret of Species

The Clifton Institute, 6712 Blantyre Road, Warrenton, VA, 20187

Thursday, Jan 16, 2020

7:00pm – 8:00pm

When we hear about scientific discoveries, conservation breakthroughs, or just what’s been seen in the area recently, the stories are usually about species. “New species discovered!” “Endangered species need our help!” “I saw 20 species last weekend!” We hear and talk about species all the time, but we don’t usually stop to think about what a species is. In this presentation, Managing Director Eleanor Harris, Ph.D., will discuss what it means to be a species, why they’re so important, and how they have evolved. Throughout the talk she will focus on local examples, for example, why we distinguish Alder and Willow Flycatchers, but not red-spotted purples and white admirals.

This event is open to the public and free to attend. Please register.

See Tundra Swans, Jan. 1st

Mason Neck State Park
7301 High Point Rd., Lorton, VA 22079
Great Marsh Trail Parking Lot
Wednesday, 1 January 2020
12:15 pm

Have you ever seen Tundra Swans, those amazing birds that migrate thousands of miles from the Arctic to spend the winter in our region? Their haunting calls are nearly impossible to forget!
You’ve got a great opportunity to see the Tundra Swans when the Friends of Mason Neck State Park will lead a guided walk to see them. They’ll start from the Great Marsh Trail parking lot, on the left side of High Point Road a short distance BEFORE you get to the Park’s Contact Station. They’ll walk about a mile over fairly level ground to the viewing area. You’ll likely hear the birds before you see them. They’ll have binoculars and telescopes so you can view the swans and other water birds and they’ll also help you identify them.
There’s no charge for this event, which is open to everyone. Come out and enjoy the first day of 2020 with the Friends! The trails can be a little muddy, so be sure to wear good shoes or boots.
Mason Neck State Park is also offering guided First Day Hikes in the park on January 1. You can see their schedule of hikes at Mason Neck State Park First Day Hikes.