Goose rehabbers/relocators needed

Photo by Barbara J. Saffir (c)

Spring in Fairfax County means goose nesting season.  In search of secure sites, some geese nest in dangerous places (rooftops, parking lots, mall planters) where they and their goslings have no path to safe water.  Wildlife Rescue League and other concerned goose advocates are looking for folks who want to train to become Category 2 Rehabbers to help relocate stranded goose families.  This past year has seen the loss of several dedicated rescuers and we are hoping others can step in.  For further information, please text Carol Hall at 571-419-2592.

MLK Day Clean up, Americana Drive

Two locations: Intersection of Americana Drive and Patriot Drive and Intersection of Americana Drive and Heritage Drive, Annandale, VA
Monday, 21 January 2019, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
10 am – 2 pm

A group of neighbors has coalesced  to do a cleanup of the illegal dumping areas prevalent along the length of Americana Drive in Annandale.  This effort came together rather suddenly after the holidays.
 
Americana Drive, which is crossed by three tributaries of Accotink Creek, has been plagued for years by illegal dumping.  Help restore pride to this area!

Sign up online: https://www.fcrpp3.org/annandale-clean-up-sign-in

More information, supported by Friends of Accotink Creek:  http://www.accotink.org/2019/AmericanaDriveCleanuppre-event2019.htm

Earth Sangha January seed cleaning sessions

Founded in 1997, the Earth Sangha is a nonprofit public charity based in the Washington, D.C., region. In the D.C. area, they operate a volunteer-based program to propagate local native plants, restore native plant communities, and control invasive alien plants. Their Wild Plant Nursery is the region’s most comprehensive effort to propagate native plants directly from local forests and meadows. Volunteers are needed to clean the seeds from native plants to prepare them for sowing and growing.

Sundays, January 6th, 13th, 20th, from 10 am to 1 pm, at Arlington Village: 1400 South Edgewood Street, Arlington. This is the community room of Arlington Village and is located on the lowest point of the street. Please look for the brown street sign that says “1400 South Edgewood Street.” The community Room is through basement door at the corner of the building. If you can’t find it, please call Rodney at 703-216-4855 for directions.
Mondays, January 7th, 14th, 28th, from 10 am to 1 pm, at Long Branch Nature Center in Arlington: 625 South Carlin Spring Road, Arlington.

Potomac River clean-ups, Jan. 19 and 21

Potomac River Cleanup at Fletcher’s Cove
When: Saturday, January 19, 10:00am-1:00pm
Where: Fletcher’s Cover, Washington DC
Potomac Conservancy and the National Park Service will honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by spending “a day on, not a day off”! Join them in collecting trash at Fletcher’s Cove to support clean water and connected communities! Register online to volunteer.

Potomac River Cleanup at LBJ Grove
When: Monday, January 21, 10:00am-1:00pm
Where: LBJ Memorial Grove, Washington DC
Potomac Conservancy and the National Park Service will honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by spending “a day on, not a day off”! Join them in collecting trash and removing invasives at the LBJ Memorial Grove to support clean water and connected communities! Register online to volunteer.

Five stream monitoring volunteer opportunites

Photo by Barbara J. Saffir (c)

Bull Run Watershed Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Sunday, January 6, 12:00-2:30pm
Where: James Long Park, Haymarket
Join Elaine Wilson, one of Prince William SWCD’s pioneers/certified monitors and her team for winter monitoring at this beautiful site in Catharpin Creek in the Gainesville area. This site has some outstanding critters that are unique only to this site.  STEM kids are welcome. Spots are limited. For more information and RSVP, contact Elaine Wilson.  

Pohick Creek Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Sunday, January 13, 10:00am-12:30pm
Where: Wadebrook Terrace, Springfield
Join NVSWCD as we discover aquatic life in Pohick Creek! This official NVSWCD stream monitoring workshop covers watershed health, what macroinvertebrates tell us about stream quality, and what you can do to prevent pollution in your local stream. Registration is limited. RSVP to Ashley Palmer.

Reston Association Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Saturday, January 19, 1:00pm
Where: Reston
Assist in important winter stream monitoring by getting your feet wet in one of Reston’s streams? RA welcomes new volunteers to assist with stream monitoring at several locations. Get involved with a small team to collect data and identify insects with the goal of assessing the health of Reston’s stream. Not only do you get to learn about streams, it also provides an opportunity to make new friends. Learn more and register.

Reston Association Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Thursday, January 31, 12:30pm
Where: Walker Nature Center, Reston
Assist in important winter stream monitoring by getting your feet wet in one of Reston’s streams! RA welcomes new volunteers to assist with stream monitoring at several locations. Get involved with a small team to collect data and identify insects with the goal of assessing the health of Reston’s stream. Not only do you get to learn about streams, it also provides an opportunity to make new friends. Learn more and register.

Reston Association Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Saturday, February 2, 1:00pm
Where: Reston
Assist in important winter stream monitoring by getting your feet wet in one of Reston’s streams! RA welcomes new volunteers to assist with stream monitoring at several locations. Get involved with a small team to collect data and identify insects with the goal of assessing the health of Reston’s stream. Not only do you get to learn about streams, it also provides an opportunity to make new friends. Learn more and register.

Look what you’ve done!

by Michael Reinemer

As I sign off as president, passing the baton to Joe Gorney, I want to thank each Virginia Master Naturalist in the chapter for what you do. The numbers of volunteer hours are astounding.

It’s hard to overstate how desperately your hours and your expertise are needed. Fairfax County and the whole region suffer from habitat loss, climate change, pollution, fragmentation, overuse – among many other assaults.

Meanwhile, we humans are increasingly disconnected from nature, suffering from the “landscape amnesia” Pete Mecca describes to FMN classes. Or shifting baseline syndrome: It’s impossible to notice the many gradual declines in the natural world – unless you understand the natural world, and you care about it and you actively monitor it. Which is one of the things you do as master naturalists. The statewide mason bee monitoring project is a great example.

You may have read “The Insect Apocalypse Is Here,” the cover story by Brooke Jarvis in the New York Times Magazine, Nov. 27, 2018.  The now global, scientific alarm about loss of insect diversity and abundance was triggered in part by small bug club in Germany. That club of 63 amateur naturalists, which included a few with science backgrounds, documented an astounding 80 percent drop in insect numbers in their research plot over a 30-year period. They had been consistently monitoring and recording changes in insect numbers or biomass in addition to species.

What’s the big deal? As E.O. Wilson put it, “If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.”  While the “10,000 years” part is probably optimistic, the role of decomposers, pollinators, and other insects is indisputable.

In her NYT piece, Jarvis talks about the long amateur naturalist tradition in Europe and how that has figured into faster, more aggressive response to the insect apocalypse there, compared to the U.S. 

So as part of the growing master naturalist movement in the U.S., you are a vital resource in this era of shrinking budgets for conservation and a time of overt hostility toward science in some quarters of the federal government. Your work as monitors, mentors, and stewards is invaluable.

While all the 2018 numbers aren’t in yet, look what you’ve done:

680 hours staffing information desks at nature centers

445 hours working on nature programs for the county

435 hours removing invasive plants

375 hours as Audubon at Home ambassadors, assessing wildlife habitat

360 hours for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology feederwatch program

350 hours managing habitat and land for Fairfax County Park Authority

343 hours for school programs for Fairfax County Park Authority

330 hours for citizen science programs for the park authority

267 hours monitoring trails for Virginia Bluebird Society

260 hours working with the Plant NoVA Natives campaign

That’s just a small snapshot of your amazing numbers and work. Congratulations, and thank you. 

And a hearty thanks to the many volunteer leaders who serve as officers, committee chairs, and committee members who manage the training and all the mechanics that make the Fairfax Master Naturalists the force for nature that it is.

Virginia Working Landscapes 2018 Biodiversity Survey Results

The central mission of Virginia Working Landscapes (VWL) is to promote sustainable land use and the conservation of native biodiversity through research, education, and community engagement. First assembled at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute: Front Royal, VA in 2010, VWL was formed at the behest of regional landowners, citizen scientists, and conservation organizations who wanted to better understand how to conserve Northern Virginia’s native wildlife on working (i.e., agricultural/forestry) lands. 

According to The International Union for Conservation of Nature, grasslands are “the most endangered, the most altered, and the least protected biome on the planet.” Today, many plants and animals that depend on grasslands have declined, due primarily to the loss or fragmentation of their native habitat and one-third of North American species considered endangered are found on grasslands. Recognizing the need to consider grassland species when studying native flora and fauna on working landscapes, VWL’s initial research focused on grasslands. Since 2010, they have expanded our focus to other working lands (forests) and to consider the impact that changes in the overall landscape mosaic have on native biodiversity. 

VWL partners with scientists, graduate students, interns, and volunteer citizen scientists to organize and conduct annual biodiversity surveys on public and private lands throughout the region. This work is important because humans receive many tangible and intangible benefits from the natural world — from the spiritual (a walk through nature) to the utilitarian (the value of food production). 

Research prioritizes studies of biodiversity, threatened species, and ecosystem services to answer such questions as: 

  • How will current land-use practices (and projected changes thereto) impact grassland biodiversity? 
  • How are ecosystem services, like pollination, related to species presence or native biodiversity? 
  • Are quail Habitat Management Areas effective at restoring bobwhite populations? How might they be improved? 
  • Does arthropod community composition or nutritional value differ in cool- vs warm-season grass fields? What are the implications of this difference for birds or other insect-eating animals? 
  • What impact does field management timing have on overwintering bird or insect diversity? 
  • How does the establishment or maintenance of native grasses impact plant communities?

To this end, VWL conducts six surveys on breeding birds, bumble bees, grasslands, orchids, mammals, soil, and arthropods.

Each year, VWL and SCBI train a group of citizen scientists to conduct these surveys on private and public lands and recruit private landowners who enable us to collect these data on their property. FMN supports this work and you can claim service hours for your participation (C200: Citizen Science Projects for the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute).

For more information, please contact Outreach Coordinator, Charlotte Lorick, at 540-635-0038, visit www.vaworkinglandscapes.org), or find VWL on Facebook & Instagram. 

This specific report is on the survey results for The Clifton Institute. Reports for other sites are available from VWL.

Start a Thriving Earth Exchange Project

Jump to submission form.

Thriving Earth Exchange projects start with community priorities. Communities of any size from around the world are encouraged to submit a local issue and/or project idea related to natural hazards, natural resources, or climate change. Any community can start a Thriving Earth project. All we ask is that you commit to the time and energy needed to work hand-in-hand with a volunteer scientist. (Read more about what it means to be a Thriving Earth Exchange community leader.)

The submission process is meant to be simple, allowing you to provide baseline information about local challenges.

Thriving Earth Exchange projects can be completed as part of a cohort, individually, or via a dialogue. How it works video.

Thriving Earth Exchange Project Types

Type Description Benefits
Cohort A cohort is a group of projects that communicate
with and support one another. They are often launched at regional or theme-based Project Launch
Workshops. Communities in the cohort move through the Thriving Earth milestones at the same pace.
Communities benefit from
peer support,
sharing and
learning.
Individual Your project team will be supported “1-on-1” with a
Thriving Earth project liaison, and you will move
through the milestones at your own pace. Thriving
Earth is only able to accommodate a limited number
of individual projects.
This is ideal
for
communities with time-
sensitive
Thriving
Earth
projects.
Dialogue This is ideal for communities who wish to explore  how community context intersects with Earth and space science. A team of 3-5 community leaders will engage with 3-5 scientists using an online platform. An example of this is the Resilience Dialogues, a program Thriving Earth is a partner in. A dialogue
may serve as a precursor to individual or cohort Thriving Earth participation.

Once You Submit an Idea:

We will reply within one week with information about next steps.

Join Plant NOVA Natives for its Grand Partnership meeting, February 26

Plant NOVA Natives’ third annual “Grand Partnership” meeting will take place on Tuesday, February 26, 9:30 am to 1 pm, at 3040 Williams Drive, Suite 200, Fairfax. All are welcome!

Does your organization (public, private, or non-profit; large or small) have a concern for the local environment? Please send a representative(s) as we collaborate on plans for our collective action movement in 2019. 

The agenda will be finalized later, but we plan to discuss outreach to homeowner’s associations, landscapers, and government land managers. We will leave plenty of time at the end for networking.

RSVP to Margaret Fisher plantnovanatives@gmail.com

We also welcome all to our Steering Committee meetings. The next one is scheduled for Tuesday, January 22, 10 am to noon (same location).

Lead 2019 City Nature Challenge for FMN

Excited about Citizen Science and using iNaturalist to record your observations? 

You can lead FMN’s participation in the 2019 City Nature Challenge!       

What’s involved?  You decide.  Here are some suggestions.  

  • Join the monthly City Nature Challenge coordination phone calls:
WhenWed Jan 23, 2019 2pm – 3pm Eastern Time – New York
Where605-472-5436, access code 908439#
  • Set up opportunities for FMN to participate
    • Chapter hike on using iNaturalist to take good pics for ID (The Nature Conservancy will lead)
    • Public info programs on City Nature Challenge & using iNaturalist (Fairfax libraries will sponsor)
    • Observation events on City Nature Challenge weekend (Fairfax County parks will sponsor)
    • Identification parties post CNC weekend (Fairfax libraries will sponsor)
    • Join with ARMN-sponsored events   
  • Earn service hours working from home
  • Recruit FMNs to help as needed

Sound like fun?  Contact Marilyn Schroeder: masnaturalist@yahoo.com