Cicada Safari, Smartphone mapping app for citizen science

Photo by Yuri Vasconcelos on Unsplash

Join Cicada Safari to help map the 2021 emergence of the periodical cicada Brood X.  Simply download the free app from the Apple app store or Google play, then go on a safari to find periodical cicadas.  Photograph and submit the periodical cicadas to Cicada Safari, and after the photos are verified, they will be posted to the live map. Cicada Safari was created by Dr. Gene Kritsky working with the Center for IT Engagement at  Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati.

More information here.

Earth Sangha seeks Volunteers Six Days a Week

6100 Cloud Dr. Springfield, VA
Sundays- Fridays
9 am to Noon
Must sign up here.

Just in the first 5 weeks since Earth Sangha opened up its Wild Plant Nursery for the Spring season, they’ve supplied over 325 curbside pickup and Self-Service Sunday orders.

As they send out their local-ecotype native plants to their permanent homes, they’re just as busy growing new ones to take their places. Of course, these take some time to get ready: to sow the seed, pot seedlings up, or divide overcrowded pots.

Volunteers can help with a wide variety of tasks and do not need to have any previous experience!

City Nature Challenge: Upload and Identify Observations! Tuesday May 4 through Saturday, May 9

Wednesday May 5, 7-9pm: Virtual Event: ID Party. Work together to identify DC area City Nature Challenge observations! You’ll learn ID tips and iNaturalist power user techniques.  Register here.

Save the Date!  Monday May 10, 7-8:30pm: Virtual Event: City Nature Challenge Celebration.   A festive virtual gathering to celebrate the discoveries! Once scheduled, details will be revealed here.

See the Resources page for recordings of last year’s virtual events. 

All observations April 30 through May 3 will count for the City Nature Challenge if they are made within the green line on this map:

DC Area City Nature Challenge 2021 Training and Participation Information

Monday, April 12, 2021
12 noon
Virtual Live Intro to the DC Area City Nature Challenge

Wednesday, April 14, 2021
7 pm
Virtual Live Intro to the DC Area City Nature Challenge

These videos and other recorded resources are available here.

Between April 30th and May 9th, people in the Washington DC metro area and around the world will be participating in a global citizen science event, the City Nature Challenge, to document urban biodiversity. We’ll be looking for signs of life in local parks, waterways, backyards, front stoops, and our neighborhoods. If you have an interest in learning more about local plants and animals, have access to a camera (and the internet), you can contribute to this exciting project. We’ll be using the iNaturalist app platform to document observations.

There will be two introductory sessions on the City Nature Challenge and how to get involved. They’ll cover Challenge basics, use of the iNaturalist app as a citizen science activity, and places to explore in the DMV. The City Nature Challenge offers a great way to connect to the great outdoors and put the Washington DC area’s amazing nature on the map. You can participate individually or with family and safely distanced friends.

These programs are organized by Capital Nature with The Nature Conservancy Maryland/DC Chapter and many other partners who are participating in the 2021 DC Area City Nature Challenge.

citynaturechallengedc.org

Global Big Day, May 8, 2021

Black-crowned Night-heron; photo (c) John C. Mittermeier

Be a part of birding’s biggest team! Global Big Day is an annual celebration of the birds around you. No matter where you are, join us virtually on 8 May and share the birds you find with eBird.

Participating is easy—you can even be part of Global Big Day from home. If you can spare 5 or 10 minutes, report your bird observations to eBird online or with our free eBird Mobile app. If you have more time, submit checklists of birds throughout the day. You never know what you might spot. Your observations help us better understand global bird populations through products like these animated abundance maps brought to you by eBird Science.

Last year, Global Big Day brought more birders together virtually than ever before. More than 50,000 people from 175 countries submitted a staggering 120,000 checklists with eBird, setting a new world record for a single day of birding. Will you help us surpass last year’s records? However you choose to participate, please continue to put safety first and follow your local guidelines.

Learn more.

33rd Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup, April 10th

The Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup has become a decisive catalyst for progress that ignites people’s interest and passion for the environment and community action. The largest regional event of its kind, the Cleanup provides a transforming experience that engages residents and community leaders and generates momentum for change. The Potomac River Watershed Cleanup has grown from a small shoreline cleanup at Piscataway National Park to a watershed wide network. What started as a few cleanup events along the Potomac River is now a regional event spanning Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

Learn more here.

City Nature Challenge, April 30th – May 3rd

Photo from City Nature Challenge

Invented by citizen science staff at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (Lila Higgins) and California Academy of Sciences (Alison Young). The City Nature Challenge is an international effort for people to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe. It’s a bioblitz-style competition where cities are in a contest against each other to see who can make the most observations of nature, who can find the most species, and who can engage the most people.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers made some modifications to City Nature Challenge 2020 to help keep everyone safe. Firstly, CNC 2020 pivoted to be a collaboration rather than a competition. Instead, they wanted to embrace the healing power of nature and encourage the celebratory aspect of the CNC. This allowed people to safely document biodiversity in whatever way they could, even from the safety of their own homes. They urged all participants to carefully follow public health guidelines provided by their local governments, as they are changed in real-time. Individual safety and public health were and will be their utmost priority. The decision as to whether CNC 2021 will be a competition or collaboration will be announced in 2021.

The observation period for the City Nature Challenge will take place April 30th through May 3rd. Then during May 4-9, observations can still be uploaded to iNaturalist and identified. The global results will be announced on Monday, May 10. Please join the project on iNaturalist which will automatically collect all of the relevant observations during those 4 days.

For the DC metropolitan area (including DC and parts of MD, VA, and WV), we’ll have monthly meetings to coordinate our activities and foster new collaborations. Any organizations or individuals who want to play a role in encouraging and supporting participation anywhere in the metro area are invited to join these calls. January 29 will specifically be a call for anyone new to the City Nature Challenge, so please invite others who may be interested to join.

This year, all calls will take place on Fridays from 11 am to noon.

Call dates for organizers:
Jan 22: meeting for returning organizers
Jan 29: first time organizers (if you haven’t participated in the City Nature Challenge before, this will orient you)
Feb 19: monthly meeting for all CNC organizers
Mar 19: monthly meeting for all CNC organizers
Apr 16: monthly meeting for all CNC organizers
May 21: post-CNC debrief call for all CNC organizers

The January 29th meeting will be recorded, so it won’t be too late to get involved! For more information join https://groups.google.com/g/dc-area-citynaturechallenge.

Science Fair Judges Needed, dates various

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair
Online judging is scheduled during the week of March 13-20, 2021
Register on the category judge website

Mount Vernon High School, 8515 Old Mt Vernon Rd, Alexandria VA
Tuesday, February 2 to Saturday, February 6, 2021
Judges will have several days to review student videos, evaluating the work with a simple rubric.
Please contact Alexander White for more information or to volunteer, especially if you have a particular category you would like to judge.

New School of Northern Virginia, 9431 Silver King Ct., Fairfax VA 22031
Wednesday, April 14, 2021 — all submissions will be available on Wednesday evening and all judging forms will need to be completed by noon on Thursday, April 15th.
Sign up here.

Virginia Association for Environmental Education Virtual Mini-Conferences, Feb. 20, July 17, Oct. 23

Want to connect with other environmental educators? The Virginia Association for Environmental Education (VAEE) is offering a virtual mini conference series! Each day will highlight one of Virginia’s different regions, seasonal changes, and the educators that work within that area.

February 20 – Winter in the West
July 17 – Summer on the Shore
October 23 – Fall in the Piedmont

Registration is currently open only for the full conference (all three dates together as a package) and the February event.

VAEE is now also accepting proposals for presentations, so if you would like to lead a session or workshop, submit your proposal. Many volunteers have had great presentations at past conferences.

Please see the VAEE website for all the details you need on both registration and submitting a proposal.

A Choice on MLK Day of Service, January 18th

A Dyke Marsh inlet. Photo by Ned Stone.

January 18, 2021
10am – Noon
Meet at the Belle Haven Park south parking lot registration table. This will be canceled if there are heavy storms or lightning that morning.

Friends of Dyke Marsh and National Park Service will host two activities:

(1) a shoreline trash cleanup and

(2) removing English ivy from trees.

Volunteers can choose either activity. You do not need prior plant identification experience.

To follow covid-19 protocols, we must require registration and limit participants to 15 people in each group. We will provide work gloves, tools, trash bags and hand sanitizer.

Wear a mask, sturdy shoes, long pants and sleeves, winter gloves and sun protection. Bring your own water.

Register here and indicate your choice:
https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=urWTBhhLe02TQfMvQApUlHWAzFDL3hpMiePFqcjTpuxUMTVQUzZRSFo1WEdST1JaTTk5MkZTSTlXUy4u