Lake Braddock HS Science Fair Needs Judges, January 29th

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Lake Braddock High School
9200 Burke Lake Rd., Burke VA
Saturday, January 29, 2022 (snow date Saturday, February 5, 2022)
8am – Noon

Their in-person science fair is back this year! They anticipate 40 – 50 projects.

Judges are needed to evaluate the projects done by our own Fairfax County high school students, and to give them an opportunity to practice their presentation skills. This is an opportunity to get to know a younger generation and to hear and challenge their thinking.

If you are able to judge this year, please fill out this form.

Visitor Desk Opportunity at Huntley Meadows Park

Photo courtesy of Halley Johnson

Huntley Meadows Park with its beautiful wetlands and boardwalk is a great place to volunteer!

The staff is seeking volunteers to serve as Volunteer-on-Duty (VOD) at the visitor information desk. There are opportunities on weekday afternoons and weekends.

The VOD is the face of the park, the first and last chance to make an impression on visitors. Assist them in enjoying the park and understanding its resources.  Communicate and interact with people of all ages.  Seeking a commitment of two four-hour shifts per month for one year.

Detailed project description attached here.

Contact Halley Johnson, Volunteer Coordinator, alexandra.johnson@fairfaxcounty.gov.

FMNs, record hours as E111: FCPA Nature Center Visitor Information Desk

Earth Sangha Needs Fall Volunteers

Earth Sangha Wild Plant Nursery
6100 Cloud Drive, Springfield
Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays
9am – 1pm
Must register here.

Fall is upon us! Join the Earth Sangha team at the Wild Plant Nursery for a morning of repotting, divisions, weeding, watering, sowing seed, and more! Please wear shoes that can get muddy, bring your own water and gloves, and wear a mask.

Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy seeks Eagle Cam Volunteers

Photo by Barbara J. Saffir

Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy (LWC) is excited about partnering with Dulles Greenway, the American Eagle Foundation, and HDOnTap to bring livestream action to your home from a Bald Eagle nest in the Dulles Greenway Wetlands. Read more about it in a recent article.

LWC will play an important role in helping to educate the public on the habits and behaviors of Bald Eagles through remotely operating the two high-quality livestream cameras and by moderating the website chat function. The camera is now available to view through a link on the Dulles Greenway website.

LWC is currently seeking volunteers to assist with this project. Stay tuned for more information on what will be involved with being a Remote Camera Operator or Chat Moderator. Training will take place in November.

Please contact Loudoun Wildlife Volunteer Coordinator Kim Strader at kstrader@loudounwildlife.org if you are interested in volunteering for either of these unique opportunities to work with the Dulles Greenway Wetlands Eagle Cam.

Clifton Institute Work Days, October 23rd & 30th

Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road, Warrenton, VA

Saturday, October 23, 2021
9 am – 12:30 pm

Invasive plant species crowd out native plants and provide little to no food for native animals. Every winter Clifton Institute works to remove invasive Autumn Olive from around their property and over the last few years they have made a lot of progress, thanks to all of their amazing volunteers! Join them on October 23 to start the 2021-2022 Autumn Olive removal season.

Registration is REQUIRED so that they can communicate with you in case of changes.

Saturday, October 30, 2021
9 am – 12:30 pm

In the spring Clifton Institute planted 975 tree seedlings along the stream in their native grassland. They need your help finishing the planting with a few more trees.

Registration is REQUIRED so that they can communicate with you in case of changes.

A World of Bugs

Feature photo by J. Quinn

Photos and article by FMN Steve Tzikas

Upon following an approved sampling protocol,
a net is ready for examination, collection, and identification of the macroinvertebrates captured on it.

As kids, we all had a fascination with bugs. If we owned a microscope, inevitably a few bugs would be examined close-up. We would be fascinated by the insects at natural history museums, even as an adult. Some of us would decide to make a career around bugs. With a vocational education leading to certification and licensing, one can become a pesticide applicator to protect homes and properties against harmful insects. With a little more education one can get a 4-year entomology BS degree. Personally I went into engineering, but it would not be the last time I encountered insects in some other than ordinary fashion. When I was Chief of the US Army’s Environmental Office in Japan, I had a program to control pine beetles on forested property overseen by the Army. There too were those pesticide applicators and any issues that I may have had to address with environmental and safety concerns. At another point in my career, with Ports-of-Entry programs, I was one of many who occasionally offered support to ensure our Agricultural Specialists had the resources they needed to secure America from deadly pests that could enter the country. In fact, there are many opportunities for aspiring students when it comes to insects. For those aspiring students, and for that matter curious adults, there are opportunities to get up close to insects, but in a more friendly manner, because these insects help us monitor the health of streams.

I just entered the Fairfax Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalist (VMN) course program, and one of the classes covers entomology and invertebrates. The VMN program is a great way to offer community service, get some exercise, and learn something that might be beneficial for a future goal. When I retire I would like to take some graduate level courses in GMU’s environmental science program, which has a biology/ecology component.

A large Hellgramite found by one of the sampling teams.

One of those local volunteer opportunities is with the popular stream monitoring program managed by the Northern Virginia Soil and Conservation District. It’s a chance to learn about watersheds, the basics of stream ecology and monitoring, the sampling and identifying of benthic macroinvertebrates, and the recording of that data for use by researchers and professional decision makers. For more information about this program, visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/soil-water-conservation/volunteer-stream-monitoring.

If this is something that appeals to your inner scientist, certifications are also offered once you accumulate some field experience. Part of that certification journey begins with this weblink: https://www.iwla.org/water/stream-monitoring/upcoming-water-monitoring-workshops.

This biological stream monitoring is great fun. People of all ages attend, not just teenagers. Like myself, there are also a lot of professionals – university graduates seeking new experiences, retired professors, and others who have an interest in life-long learning. Why not discover a whole new world of bugs? I hope to see you at one of the streams monitored in Fairfax County.

Shoreline Cleanup, Mason Neck State Park, September 25th

Photo: Jerry Nissley

Mason Neck State Park
7301 High Point Rd., Lorton, VA 22079
(Meet at the Visitor’s Center)
Saturday, September 25, 2021
9 am

Can you help keep Mason Neck State Park looking good? The Potomac and Occoquan Rivers bring trash of all kinds to the shores of the Park. The Friends of Mason Neck State Park will lead a cleanup of the shoreline on National Public Lands Day (Saturday, September 25). They’ll have gloves, trash bags and a few “grabbers” to help you pick up the smaller stuff. Please bring waterproof shoes or boots. The tide will be high that morning, and you are almost certain to get wet.

For those who are experienced paddlers, they’ll have canoes, paddles and life vests available so you can collect trash that is not acessible from the shore. Thanks to the generosity of Prince William Marina, we’ll have snacks available to keep your energy levels high while you clean up the park.

Virginia & Waterways Cleanup – the Friends of Accotink Creek are starting their Fall Cleanups, various dates

GET YOUR BRAIN WET! Join Friends of Accotink Creek to get trash out of our waterways while participating in the International Coastal Cleanup in Fairfax County.

Saturday, September 18, 2021 Cleanup Locations:

9:00 AM – 11:00 AM     Accotink Creek at Fullerton Road bridge , Directions

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM     Accotink Creek at Franconia-Springfield Parkway bridge , Directions
(Including cleanup of Hooes Road dumpsite)

3:00 PM – 5:00     Accotink Creek at Telegraph Road bridge , Directions

Saturday, September 25, 2021 Cleanup Locations:

9:00 AM – 11:00 AM     Accotink Creek at Fairfax Blvd bridge , Directions

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM     Accotink Creek at Chain Bridge Road , Directions

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM     Accotink Creek at Old Lee Hwy bridge , Directions

Saturday, October 2, 2021 Cleanup Locations:

9:00 AM – 11:00 AM     Accotink Creek at King Arthur Road bridge , Directions

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM     Accotink Creek at Little River Tpk bridge , Directions

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM     Accotink Creek at Braddock Road bridge , Directions

Saturday, October 9, 2021 Cleanup Locations:

9:00 AM – 11:00 AM     Accotink Creek at Pickett Road bridge , Directions

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM     Accotink Creek at Barkley Dr bridge , Directions

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM     Accotink Creek at Woodburn Road bridge , Directions

Thursday, November 11, 2021 Cleanup Location:

10:00 AM – 12:00 noon     Americana Drive Veterans Day cleanup

Other opportunities to be part of the solution in the Accotink Creek watershed:

  • Saturday, October 16, 2021 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Fort Belvoir Accotink Bay
    Contact Fort Belvoir Public Works EMAIL

Trash Cleanup, Dyke Marsh, September 25th

Saturday, September 25, 2021
9-11 am
Register by sending an email to info@fodm.org

Join the Friends of Dyke Marsh (FODM) with their Potomac River and Dyke Marsh shoreline trash cleanup in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS).

Check in at the registration table near the Belle Haven Park south parking lot to pick up supplies. NPS and FODM will provide some gloves, tools and trash bags.

Wear sturdy shoes, long pants and sleeves, gloves and sun protection. Bring water. This will be canceled in case of lightning or severe storms.

Tackle Invasives at Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, December 4th

Photo: Plant NOVA Natives

Saturday, December 4, 2021
10am – Noon
Location below.
Register at info@fodm.org

Help Friends of Dyke Marsh remove invasive plants like porcelainberry vine, pictured above, on Saturday, December 4th. Meet at the native plant site. The native plant site is about half a mile down the Haul Road trail on the right side, past the second bench.  The site has a sign.
 
They will supply instructions, samples and trash bags.  Wear sturdy footwear, long pants and sleeves and sun protection.  Bring gloves, a hand clipper, insect repellent and water.  They have a few tools to share.

Haul Road Trail Directions and Parking:

GPS: 38.777739, -77.050540

Turn off the Parkway onto the road to Dyke Marsh Nature Preserve and Belle Haven Marina.
Take the first left to go up to Belle Haven Park parking.
Walk back to the marina road, cross the road, then 30 yards to the left is the beginning of Haul Road.
There are 2 posts with a chain across them.

Event canceled if lightning or severe storms are anticipated.