Clean the Bay Day, June 4th

Saturday, June 4, 2022
9 am – Noon
See a full list of sites to find one near you.
(Mason Neck State Park and Huntley Meadows are options)
Register here.

Clean the Bay Day has been a staple for Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay community since its inception more than three decades ago. On June 4, thousands of Virginians will simultaneously work together to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay by removing litter and debris from its rivers and streams at hundreds of sites all across the Commonwealth.

Can’t make it to the June 4 event? No worries! The week of May 30 to June 3 is Clean the Bay Your Way DIY Week, where you can conduct your own cleanup in your neighborhood, place of work, or anywhere else you have permission, and where you can take care of the disposal safely and properly yourself.

Second Annual Dragonfly Count, June 26th

Photos: Clifton Institute

Sunday, June 26, 2022
10:00am – 5:00pm
Where: The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road, Warrenton, VA
Cost: Free
Register here.

Join the Clifton Institute for the second annual Dragonfly Count! The goals are to learn which species of dragonflies and damselflies are found in the area, to monitor changes in their populations, and to encourage everyone to learn more about Odonates!

For more details about the survey habitat and count process please click here.

Green Service Showcase Judges Needed, May 23rd & 25th

Photo courtesy Lewis HS

Monday May 23rd from 12:50 pm to 2:50 pm and/or
Wednesday May 25th from 7:45 am – 9:45 am
John R. Lewis High School, 6540 Franconia Rd, Springfield, VA

International Baccalaureate Environmental 11th and 12th grade students investigated environmental issues, developed goals/steps, and made some “good trouble” environmental action for the John R. Lewis HS Community. The journey the action took was different depending on the team, but the goal is for them to reflect and propose ideas for future students.

Students in groups or as individuals selected Green service projects focused on one or more of the following:

1. Waste and consumption
2. Sustainable food
3. Outdoor classroom improvements

Top projects will be awarded prizes in the following categories connected to FCPS Portrait of a Graduate:

Most critical thinkers
Most goal oriented and resilient
Most reflective global and ethical citizens
Strongest collaborators
Strongest communicators

If you can join one or both dates, please fill out this google form.

Questions? Contact Rachel Clausen, Environmental Lead Lewis HS, (301) 908-7623 or RLclausen@fcps.edu.

 

Tree Wrapping for Beavers: Workshop and Volunteer Day, May 7th

Photo: Clifton Institute

Saturday, May 7, 2022
10:00am – 12:00pm
Where: The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road, Warrenton, VA
Cost: Free
Register here.

During this workshop and volunteer day, join Alison Zak, M.A., founder of the Human-Beaver Coexistence Fund, to learn about the importance of coexisting with beavers and how to protect trees from being chewed down. After a brief talk, volunteers will get hands-on experience wrapping trees using HBCF’s recommended methods.

Box Turtle Community Science Survey, May 18th, weather dependent

Photo: Clifton Institute

Wednesday, May 18,2022
9:00am – 3:00pm
Where: The Clifton Institute – Google Maps
6712 Blantyre Road
Warrenton, Virginia 20187

Free
Register here.

The Clifton Institute is starting a research project to study box turtles. They want to know what habitats they use, what time of year they’re most active, how big their territories are and how much overlap neighboring territories have, and most importantly what can be done to help conserve this long-lived species. To start, they need to have a better idea of how many box turtles there are on their property and where they can find them.  The Clifton Institute needs your help! In late May or early June, they are going to wait for rainy weather and spend a day walking all of the trails looking for box turtles. They will divide registrants into teams to cover more ground. The more eyes the better! No experience is needed. Volunteers will be walking on uneven and potentially steep trails.

They chose May 18 as the date they expect to be the earliest possible survey date, but they will wait for the right weather and email registrants with more information.

 

Dark Skies and Birds – Writers Needed

Photo:  Luke Franke
Fairfax County Park Authority is expanding its education on the importance of dark skies. Light pollution has negative effects on wildlife, plants, people, energy consumption, and human health. They are looking to celebrate international dark sky awareness week Home – International Dark Sky Week with some educational blogs and events.
Are there any Bird lovers out there who would be willing to write a blog (300-500 words) for the park authority about the effect of light pollution on birds?
This is a good year to do this as National Audubon Society is partnering on this effort as well as being the theme for this years world migratory bird day.
Notify Tammy Schwab at tammy.schwab@fairfaxcounty.gov  if you are interested.
World Migratory Bird Day 2022 is focusing on the impacts of light pollution on migratory birds. Artificial light is increasing globally by at least two percent a year, presenting a problem for birds. Here are four simple actions everyone can take to help birds at night.
1. Reduce the amount of light outside your home or place of business. Turn off all non-essential nighttime lights. For essential lights, such as security lighting, use timers or motion detectors to keep usage to a minimum. And always use the minimum wattage necessary for the task at hand.
2. Change the color of your lights from cool to warm. Studies suggest that green and blue light attracts more nocturnally migrating birds than red, orange, or yellow light. Use light bulbs that emit warm lighting to minimize disturbance to birds.
3. Direct all lighting downward. Place lights to illuminate the floor or ground and use lighting shields to prevent shining into the sky.
4. Share the message to “dim the lights for birds at night.” Throughout the year we will highlight the steps that individuals and communities can take to reduce the impacts of light pollution on our shared birds. Share these messages through social media and other outlets to increase awareness of this important issue.
For more information on light pollution and how to fight this totally reversible type of pollution visit the international International Dark Sky Association – International Dark-Sky Association and for a local perspective learn more about Fairfax county’s outdoor lighting standards here Outdoor Lighting Standards | Planning Development (fairfaxcounty.gov)

Fairfax County Watershed Cleanup, Various Dates

The Nature Conservancy is partnering with Fairfax County Park Authority to do a wonderful watershed cleanup around 15 different Fairfax County parks!

Registration for the annual Fairfax County Watershed Cleanup is now available at www.nature.org/fairfaxcleanup. They need nearly 500 volunteers to help clean up plastic bottles, cans and other debris. It’s a great way to give back to the community, and it’ll be a pretty fun day as well!

Event capacity is limited, and they request that you register individually or in family units. Before registering a large group of 10+ people, please double check that everyone in your group is committed and will attend. This prevents situations where one group takes half the available spaces and then cancels last-minute, and they have no one to fill in.

Site Location Date Time Total Volunteers Needed Approximate # volunteer spaces left at press time
Hidden Pond Nature Center Springfield 3/26/2022 9 a.m.-12 p.m. 45 FULL
Chandon Park Herndon 4/2/2022 9-11 a.m. 25 25
Huntley Meadows Alexandria 4/3/2022 9-11:30 a.m. 50 15
South Lakes Drive Park Reston 4/9/2022 9-11 a.m. 25 22
Pine Ridge Park Annandale 4/9/2022 8 a.m.-10 a.m. & 10 a.m.-12 p.m. 25 each 25
ECL Chantilly 4/16/2022 9-11 a.m. 20 FULL
Riverbend Park Great Falls 4/16/2022 10 a.m.-12 p.m. 15 4
Scott’s Run NP McLean 4/16/2022 10 a.m.-12 p.m. 25 19
Ossian Hall Park Annadale 4/16/2022 8 a.m. -10 a.m. & 10 a.m.-12 p.m. 25 each 25
Laurel Hill Lorton 4/23/2022 9 a.m. -10:30 a.m. 25 13
Springvale Park Springfield 4/27/2022 8 a.m.-11 a.m. 20 17
Providence RECenter Falls Church 4/30/2022 9:30-11:30 a.m. 30 26
Roundtree Park Falls Church 5/1/2022 9:30-11:30 a.m. 30 16
Lake Fairfax Reston 5/7/2022 9-11 a.m. 55 44
Lake Accotink Park Springfield 5/8/2022 9-11 a.m. 25 7

Spring Volunteer Opportunities with the FCPA

Photo:  Robert Collins on Unsplash

The Fairfax County Park Authority has dynamic public programs that need volunteers.  Here is a sample of spring opportunities at Hidden Oaks and for International Dark Sky Awareness Week.  A more complete list is here.  For other opportunities tailored to your interests, talk to the Volunteer Coordinator at your favorite Fairfax County park.

Hidden Oaks Nature Center
7701 Royce St., Annandale, VA
Contact: Suzanne Holland, Suzanne.holland@fairfaxcounty.gov 

Sat. April 23 Culmore Community Day from 10-2
at Woodrow Wilson Library, Knollwood Dr., Falls Church, VA

Two opportunities include assisting showing native wildlife to visitors. This will be inside the library and helping children release live native ladybugs outside the side door directly from our nature display room. The other is to assist with surveying attendees as to their thoughts and behaviors regarding county parks with a goal of increasing equitable park opportunities.

Sat. April 23 : Annandale Greenway Earth Day Cleanup from 11:30-12:30at 7200 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA

Assist FMN Marilyn Schroeder in presenting as well as representing for Hidden Oaks at the kickoff presentation for a clean-up between Green Spring Gardens and Annandale Community Park.

Sun. May 15 from 12:30-4:15 (multiple sessions) DinoFest

Need 3 volunteers . Low key program with need to assist preschool age kids with activity at separate stations outside in Nature Playce. Mostly sedentary.

International Dark Sky Awareness Week
Multiple locations
Contact Tammy Schwab, Tammy.schwab@fairfaxcounty.gov

Fairfax County Parks will be celebrating International Dark Sky Awareness Week April 22-30th. FCPA will be having events needing volunteers on April 22 and 23 and also the 29th.

(FMNs record hours as E110:  FCPA Nature Programs.  In the Description, include the name of the park and the name of the program.  In Direct Contacts, write the number of people you spoke to or who attended the program.)

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens Seeks Volunteers

Lake Gardiner photo: Chelsea Mahaffey

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens of Vienna, Virginia has a variety of indoor and outdoor volunteer opportunities available. Weekly commitment is not required to volunteer in the Gardens, but when a volunteer has completed 10 hours of volunteer service they will receive an Annual Garden Membership, 10% off gift shop purchases, Meadowlark Volunteer Bumper Sticker & Lapel Pin, and a wonderful opportunity to be part of a great community.

Garden Volunteer
Do you have experience gardening? Do you wish you could get more experience gardening? Meadowlark Botanical Gardens would love to have you on board to assist with our 95-acre garden oasis. Learn more about planting cycles, proper pruning habits, garden management and much more from our experienced horticulture team. The garden volunteers season begins in March and runs through December (Weather Permitting). Currently shifts include mornings, Monday through Thursday.

Photo: Chelsea Mahaffey

Visitor Relations Aide
Do you love helping people and having the answer to questions? Our Visitor Relations Aide are where the public turn to when they have something to ask, or a comment they would like to share with us. Assist staff with answering questions or following up with guests about annual memberships, portrait photography scheduling, tour scheduling and more. Current shifts include afternoons, evenings, and weekends.

Trail Volunteer
Do you enjoy spending time in the woods? Meadowlark Botanical Gardens would love to have you on board to assist with our trail systems throughout the gardens. Our diverse terrain needs regular pruning, clearing, and assessing to maintain access for all guests. Current shifts include mornings.

Those interested are encouraged to fill our volunteer inquiry form or email meadowlark@nvrpa.org.

Earth Sangha Wild Plant Nursery Workdays

Photo: Earth Sangha

Starting March 6th, every Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday
10am – 1pm
6100 Cloud Drive, Springfield VA
Click here to register and volunteer.

Help the Earth Sangha Team get the Wild Plant Nursery ready for Spring propagation. They have a variety of tasks they need help with, including making basic repairs, winter weeding, preparing pots, and light construction. Please dress for the weather, wear sturdy shoes, and bring your own water.  If you arrive late, please call Sarah at 580-583-8065.