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.

Americana Drive Cleanup, February 21st

Photo:  John Cameron on Unsplash.com

Monday, February 21, 2022
10 am – 1 pm
All along Americana Drive, Annandale
Learn more and sign up here.

Get your brain wet! Join Friends of Accotink Creek, Fairfax County Restoration Project, and neighbors to get trash out of this site of chronic illegal dumping. Be prepared to get tired and dirty!

Fairfax Regional Science and Engineering Fair – Call for Judges!

Photo courtesy of Fairfax County Public Schools

Category judging will take place virtually from March 9 – 15
Grand Prize judging will take place in-person March 19
Register online here.

The 67th annual Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair is fast approaching. Each year over 250 judges are needed to evaluate over four hundred student projects in a wide variety of categories ranging from astronomy to plant sciences to robotics. It is desirable that those volunteering to serve as category judges hold an advanced degree or possess extensive academic and/or professional experience in their selected STEM category. Each Category Judge is only responsible for judging 10 – 14 projects. Chairpersons for each category and Grand Prize judges are also needed.

If you are interested in serving as a Category Judge; please register online at the following link: https://tinyurl.com/FCPSjudge

They are using the ZFairs Science Fair software system for registration and have attached instructions to help guide you through the process. You will receive confirmation once you have completed your online registration. In early March, you will receive additional instructions including your category judging assignment and access to the project abstracts, videos, and project portfolios.

Questions? Contact Linda Peterson at lkpeterson@fcps.edu

Invasives Removal: Marie Butler Leven Preserve with Earth Sangha, February 2nd & 3rd

Marie Butler Leven Preserve
1501 Kirby Road, McLean, VA
Wednesday, February 2 and Thursday, February 3, 2022
10 am – 1 pm
Register to volunteer here.

Join the team for a morning of invasives removal at the Marie Butler Leven Preserve. They’ll focus on removing woody invasive species like English Ivy, Wineberry, and Porcelainberry. They’ll provide all tools and gloves. Please dress for the weather, wear sturdy shoes, and bring your own water.

MLK Service Day at Mason Neck State Park, January 17th

Photo courtesy of Friends of Mason Neck State Park

Calling all volunteers and groups: Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Day is January 17. Please call or email the park office if you would like to volunteer. They have many great volunteer opportunities such as trail maintenance, shoreline cleanups, scout projects, Visitor Center Assistant and more. They can tailor your volunteer experience specifically for you or your group.

Email: masonneck@dcr.virginia.gov          Phone: 703-339-2380

Help Restore the Health of the Potomac and Chesapeake, Grow Underwater Grass

Photo courtesy of Friends of Mason Neck State Park

Mason Neck State Park Visitor Center
7301 High Point Rd., Lorton VA
Various dates for orientation.
Register by calling (703) 339-2380 or email MasonNeck@dcr.Virginia.gov

Orientations on:
January 15, 1 PM
January 22, 11 AM
January 30 1 PM
February 5, 11 AM
February 6, 11 AM
February 12, 1 PM
February 13, 1 PM

You can help restore the health of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay by participating in Mason Neck State Park’s Grasses for the Masses program. Volunteers in the program grow wild celery, an important underwater grass, in their homes and then plant it at the park to help bolster aquatic grass populations. Underwater grasses are a vital part of the health of the
Potomac and the Chesapeake. They provide food for waterfowl, oxygenate the water, filter pollution, reduce erosion and provide safe spaces for newly-hatched fish.

To participate in the program, all you need to do is attend an orientation session at the park and pick up your supplies. There is a $25 charge for each Grasses Kit. You’ll grow your grasses at home, then plant them at the park on Planting Day, May 22. All supplies must be returned to the park on May 22.

Registration for the orientation programs is required, and there is a maximum of 10 persons for each orientation.

Great Backyard Bird Count Workshop and Kahoot!, February 3rd

Thursday, February 3, 2022
7 – 8:30 pm
Register here.

Save the date! The next GBBC is February 18 – 21. Bird enthusiasts of all ages count birds to create a real-time snapshot of where birds are ranging. Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time.

Now, hundreds of thousands of people, all ages and walks of life worldwide, join the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds.

This FREE workshop will cover the history of GBBC, its purpose, tips for identifying birds, and the protocols to be followed while counting.

After the presentation, theyll test your identification skills with a Kahoot!

ASNV Workshop for Winter Waterfowl Count, January 27th

Photo: William Pohley

Thursday, January 27, 2022
7-8:30 pm
Online, free!
Register here.

Join Greg Butcher, Audubon Society of Northern Virginia board member and migratory species coordinator for US Forest Service International Programs, for an introduction to waterfowl identification. Get to know many of the species that winter in the open waters of our region. You’ll learn how to tell a Bufflehead from a Hooded Merganser, and, with luck, you will see the beautiful Tundra Swans that winter in our area. Strategies will include identification by shape and color pattern.

They’ll review protocol to ensure that participants understand the ASNV pandemic restrictions which include wearing masks, maintaining physical distance and carpooling. After the presentation we’ll test your identification skills with a Kahoot!

This workshop will include an outdoor field trip and bird walk on Saturday, January 29—details will be given in class. After the workshop and field trip, you’ll be ready to rally for a tally during our 13th Annual Waterfowl Count, Saturday, February 5, and Sunday, February 6