Become part of the Habitat Network

Cornell Ornithology Lab and The Nature Conservancy have joined together to create Habitat Network, the first citizen science social network. Habitat Network is a citizen science project designed to cultivate a richer understanding of wildlife habitat, for  professional scientists and people concerned with their local environments.

The Network collects data by asking individuals across the country to, literally, draw maps of their backyards, parks, farms, favorite birding locations, schools, and gardens. They connect you with your landscape details and provide tools for you to make better decisions about how to manage landscapes sustainably.

The kinds of questions they are seeking to answer with your help:

  • What practices improve the wildlife value of residential landscapes?
  • Which of these practices have the greatest impact?
  • Over how large an area do we have to implement these practices to really make a difference?
  • What impact do urban and suburban wildlife corridors and stopover habitats have on birds?
  • Which measures (bird counts? nesting success?) show the greatest impacts of our practices?

Service Project C253-Habitat Yard Mapping is approved for credit for FMN graduates. You can map your own yard, a local park, or other public or private property for which you have access permission. 

Learn more

Volunteer with the Virginia Native Plant Society Potowmack Chapter at Green Spring Gardens

Join the VNPS Propagation Crew on Wednesday mornings to learn how to divide, pot and grow from seed a wide variety of native forbs. 

The native plant beds are a demonstration garden and source of plants for our spring and fall plant sales. VNPS gathers every Wednesday morning from April through October to maintain the beds and pot plants for these sales. The beds are located at Green Spring Gardens behind the Horticulture Center.

You’ll enjoy light physical exertion, and have lots of fun getting your hands dirty and your spirit full. Tools and gloves provided.

Learn more

Help clean up the Potomac River Watershed

Join the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s 30th annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup! Volunteer to pick up trash at one of the many participating cleanup sites throughout Fairfax County and beyond, or better yet, get some friends or family together and organize your own cleanup – with bags and gloves provided, of course! The official day of the Watershed Cleanup is April 14th, but events will be held throughout the month of April, and even into May. Please visit the Alice Ferguson Foundation website to volunteer.

Mason Neck State Park Eagle Fest–Live Animal Presentations

Saturday, May 12th
10.00 am to 6.00 pm (8.00 am for a pre-opening bird walk)
Mason Neck State Park, 7301 High Point Rd, Lorton, VA 22079

See shows and talks in two tents, including live animal presentations by Reptiles Alive, Secret Garden Birds and Bees, and Wildlife Center of Virginia; and, with luck, there will be a visit from Buddy the Bald Eagle.  In addition, there will be hay rides, pony rides, food for purchase, two live bands, walks to view nesting bald eagles and (hopefully) their young, a live Bald Eagle Cam, and mini-clinics by REI, Inc. Check out the booths set up by environmentally-oriented groups such as the Fairfax Master Naturalists, Audubon Society of Northern Virginia, Dogue Hollow Wildlife Sanctuary, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Potomac Riverkeepers, and the Virginia Sierra Club.

Weather permitting, we’ll also have a Boating Bonanza, where you can try out canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards.  Presented by Friends of Mason Neck State Park. Learn more or volunteer to help at the event.

Join the fun at Riverbend Park Bluebell Festival

Saturday, April 14th, 10.00 am to 3.00 pm

Riverbend Park, 8700 Potomac Hills St., Great Falls, VA

See the first signs of spring’s arrival, the carpet of Virginia Bluebells throughout the forest!  These breathtaking beauties usher in springtime by carpeting the park’s floodplain with their magnificent blooms. The bluebells are so abundant in some areas you can’t see an end! Enjoy wildflower walks, face painting, live animals, moonbounce, and music. There will also be food vendors, crafts, the longhouse to explore, puppet shows and wagon rides. The cost is $7 per person in advance; $9 at the door. For more information, call 703-759-9018 or learn more here.

Volunteers are also needed!

Help Plant NoVa Natives with outreach events, earn service hours

Plant NoVa Natives needs many people to staff various tables and other events. Springtime is crazy for environmentalists! Please sign up here. No experience is necessary.

Events for kids:
·   4/10 School Environmental Showcase at GMU
·   4/19 Hayfield ES Math and Science Night
·   4/21 Lord of Life Preschool Earth Day Carnival

Events for adults and families:
·   4/12 Fairlington Presbyterian environmental event. (Details and registration here.)
·   4/26 Northern Virginia Community College Green Festival (Annandale)
·   5/6 Huntley Meadows Wetlands Awareness Day

Help tend healing gardens at Crisis Care Center in Annandale, 14 April

The Crisis Care Center in Annandale is looking for volunteers to tend to its healing gardens (right next to the parking lot at Fairfax Hospital). You may remove debris (fallen branches, trash, leaves) and invasive plants, place mulch, add plant, harvest produce from a vegetable garden, and water. The Center will provide lunch.

No prior experience is necessary. Bring a hat, work gloves, sunscreen, bug spray, and water. Organizers suggest that you wear pants, long sleeved shirt, and sturdy shoes. Bring garden clippers and a digger if you have them. Since the CCC is a community treatment facility, volunteers will need to complete required paperwork when they arrive on-site. This will include an application gathering some basic information, criminal/cps history disclosure form (self report), role description, and confidentiality statement, as well as handouts to read. Volunteers can register on site when they arrive

Crisis Care Center

3300 Woodburn Rd

Annandale, VA, 22003

Saturday 14 April 2018

9 am-1 pm

For Fairfax Master Naturalists, this work counts toward Service Project S257

The healing gardens are a joint venture between Green Springs Gardens Master Gardeners and the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board. The gardens serve the residents of the CCC as a place to practice mindfulness and to find peace. Learn more

Find service opportunities with the Fairfax County Parks

New education, stewardship, and citizen science projects for Fairfax Master Naturalists have just been added to the Service Project Calendar. (If you are reading this and are not yet a naturalist, please consider applying for basic training.) You can also find opportunities by contacting the parks directly: Hidden Oaks, Huntley Meadows, Riverbend, Ellanor C. Lawrence, Frying Pan, Green Spring Gardens, Hidden Pond, and Cub Run RECenter all have opportunities for FMN members. Here’s a small sampling:

Spring-Fest at Historic Sully, 21 April, 9:45am–4pm – assist with interactive nature experiences at FCPA table

Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences, Hidden Oaks, 3, 4, 5, 6, 27 April; 1, 2, 3, 4 May 9:15am -1pm – assist at stations including stream studies, stewardship, benthic macroinvertebrate study or live animal exhibits for 7th grade classes

My Sky Tonight Campfire, 7 April, 7-9:30 pm, Hidden Oaks – assist with family campfire program about constellations

Touch this Fox, 28 April, 12-2:30, Hidden Oaks – assist with family program where participants can touch real specimens and bones, educate about taxidermy and specimen care, dissect an owl pellet

Habitat and Parkland Management, dates & times flexible – perform maintenance of trails and other natural resource protection projects, such as with native wildflower garden or storm damage cleanup

Animal care, dates & times flexible – feed and care for animals on exhibit.  Animal care volunteers are needed at Hidden Oaks, Hidden Pond, Ellanor C. Lawrence and Riverbend.

To volunteer for Hidden Oaks programs, contact Suzanne Holland, Suzanne.Holland@fairfaxcounty.gov or 703-941-1065.  For other locations, contact the nature center or park.

Lead a Pull of Invasive Garlic Mustard, 14 April, 10 am-2 pm, Riverbend 

Come enjoy Riverbend Bluebell Festival, which draws 300-500 people historically. While you’re there, get service hours by removing garlic mustard. Email Rita Peralta or call 703 759-9018 to volunteer

14 April 2018

10 am-2 pm

Riverbend Park, 8700 Potomac Hills St., Great Falls, VA

This activity counts toward service hours

Service opportunity: Help monitor beautiful Holmes Run Creek, in Annandale, 22 April

Valerie Bertha, a certified stream monitor, is looking for naturalists to help her observe the health of Holmes Run Creek, in Annandale.

Date and time: 22 April, Sunday, 9 am-noon. The group will meet at the end of Hockett Street, off of Annandale Road. If you have trouble finding the site, please call Valerie at 703-473-2789.

Please also RSVP to valerie.bertha@gmail.com by 15 April so that she knows how much equipment to borrow. Wear rain boots because you will be in the creek.

This service project receives credit for C020: NVSWCD Biological Stream Monitoring.