Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay: RiverTrends Water Quality Monitoring service project

The Fairfax chapter has approved a new citizen science service project (C257) to perform water chemistry testing in Chesapeake Bay watershed streams and rivers.

The Alliance’s citizen water quality monitoring program is a regional network of trained volunteers who perform monthly water quality tests that help track the condition of waterways flowing toward the Chesapeake Bay.

Each month,  volunteers complete an observational survey at their stream site and conduct tests for dissolved oxygen, pH, water clarity, salinity (where appropriate), temperature, and bacteria. Data is reported to the Alliance, which partners with other water quality monitoring groups in the Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative.

Volunteers attend a training session where they learn about water quality and how to collect data following standardized protocols. Volunteers spend 1-2 hours monthly collecting data at their stream sites and completing the required tests within 8-48 hours, depending on the test. Volunteers complete a written report and submit data online or mail in the report. Volunteers may choose when they monitor, but they should try to monitor at the same time each month, although there is some flexibility for weather, etc. The Alliance would like each volunteer to monitor at least 10 times per year.

Data is annually submitted the to Virginia DEQ for use in the Virginia’s 305(b)/303(d) Integrated Water Quality Assessment Report to EPA, which summarizes water quality conditions and identified waters that do not meet water quality standards.

All volunteers are trained by Certified Watershed Coordinators under the Alliance’s Quality Assurance Program Plan (QAPP). Training includes an initial session where monitors learn about water quality and testing methods and an annual recertification session to check monitoring equipment, chemicals, and methods.

To learn more about the program, contact the program coordinator Amy Hagerdon at ahagerdon@allianceforthebay.org.

Plant NOVA Natives seeks volunteers for September events

Plant NOVA Natives is the joint marketing campaign of a coalition of non-profit, governmental, and private groups, all working to reverse the decline of native plants and wildlife in Northern Virginia. Their strategy is to encourage residents as well as public and commercial entities to install native plants as the first step toward creating wildlife habitat and functioning ecosystems on their own properties. All are welcome to participate in this collective action movement! ​

Events in need of volunteersPlease sign up here. No experience necessary! Just a basic understanding of why native plants are such a good idea.

• 9/22 Green Spring Garden Fall Garden Day – Dress up as a pollinator with a sign that says “Ask me about native plants.” Give out cards telling people how to find Plant NOVA Natives Guide.
• 9/23 Manassas Latino Festival – Spanish-speaking volunteers needed.
• 9/23 NatureFest – Runnymede Park, Herndon. Engage with kids – they have tons of ideas for you.
• 9/29 Northern Alexandria Native Plant Sale. Sell Guides.

We need social media volunteers for outreach. Please help post content – email plantnovanatives@gmail.com.

Engage your neighbors in a community project. Would you like to engage your neighbors in the home habitat movement? Help pilot an Audubon-at-Home certification program for your neighborhood by organizing a “Habitat-in-Training” community, in which 60% of residents commit to plant at least one native plant as the first step toward eventual Audubon-at-Home certification for the community as a whole. Plant NOVA Natives is seeking volunteers who can help them figure out how to create a fun and easy program. Click here for details of this work in progress, and email plantnovanatives@gmail.com if you are interested.

Web person needed – The Wix software is user friendly. The work consists of occasional updates to existing pages and creation of new pages using text and photos which will be provided. They just need you to be adept enough at basic computer skills to be able to work independently and quickly.

Help at the Earth Sangha Pull-a-thon 10-12 August

Join Earth Sangha for a Pull-a-thon at the Marie Butler Leven Preserve this weekend!  The group is going to continue to focus on pulling mile-a-minute and Japanese stiltgrass from the woodland edge. It’s crucial to remove these invasives now before they set seed.

Marie Butler Leven Preserve, 1501 Kirby Road McLean, VA 22101

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 10-12 August 2018

9 am – 12 pm

For more details, click here.

August stream monitoring activities: Attend and help

Join volunteers throughout Fairfax County who monitor water quality in local streams. The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District trains volunteers to assess ecological conditions in streams based on the presence and abundance of benthic macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects). Volunteers also learn how to take chemical measurements about nitrate/nitrite and turbidity. Training includes indoor and field workshops and mentoring by experienced monitors.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Stream Monitoring Workshop: Reston
Time:  1:00 – 4:00pm
Join Will Peterson of the Reston Association as he guides you through the monitoring protocol on one of the many beautiful streams that flows through Reston Association’s natural areas. For more information and to RSVP, please contact Will.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Stream Monitoring Workshop: Cub Run, Centerville
Time:  9-11:30am
Come out to Cub Run in Centerville, VA to learn more about benthic macroinvertebrates and how they can be used to determine the water quality of a stream. RSVP to Dan Schwartz or register through Fairfax County’s Volunteer Management System.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Stream Monitoring Workshop: Wolftrap Creek, Vienna
Time: 1 – 4pm
Join Certified Volunteer Monitor Ho Yeon Jeong and the Conservation District at Ho Yeon’s adopted site along Wolftrap Creek in the Town of Vienna. Help monitor the health of this restored urban stream, a few miles upstream of its namesake performing arts center. Please RSVP to Dan Schwartz for directions and instructions.

National Zoo Kid’s Farm looking for volunteers

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s Kids’ Farm exhibit is home to domestic animals rather than exotic animals or wildlife. Volunteers will be trained to perform keeper aide tasks, such as preparing diets, cleaning enclosures and creating enrichment items. Additionally, unlike any other program at the Zoo, volunteers will also be trained in interpretation techniques, including interacting with the general public, giving public demonstrations and educating visitors about environmental issues.

Shifts are available daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volunteers must be able to commit to at least one four-hour shift every other week for a minimum of one year.

Age Range: 

18+

Commitment: 

long-term

Special qualifications: 

Volunteers should be physically fit and willing to work in all types of weather, as the Kids’ Farm animals are housed outdoors and in a large barn. Volunteers should be interested in learning about and caring for a variety of domestic animals, such as cows, alpacas, chickens and donkeys as well as interacting with Zoo guests about environmental issues. Some animal care experience is preferred but not required.

Training: 

Once provisionally accepted, volunteers must complete mandatory online and in-person orientation and training. Additional training will be provided on the job. There is a probationary period for all volunteers.

Location: 

Washington DC

Status: 

Open

Category: 

Education

Zoo Support

Contact phone: 

202-633-3061

Additional information: 

These positions are highly competitive, and there are limited spaces available. Submission of an application is not a guarantee of placement. Applicants will be interviewed by unit staff, and those who are provisionally accepted will undergo background checks, including fingerprinting, as a requirement for approval as a volunteer. Once accepted, volunteers must submit proof of required vaccinations, including tetanus and a negative TB test, to the Zoo’s health unit.

Please note: It is the Zoo’s policy that individuals who keep venomous animals in personal collections will not be accepted as volunteer keeper aides.

Apply here

Aid in native plant rescue, 21 July

Friends of Accotink Creek invites you to help rescue native plants in the path of a stream restoration project along Flag Run. Be prepared to take your plants away for replanting at home or other authorized location. Bring trowels, shovels and buckets.  Sturdy work shoes, long pants, and long sleeves are recommended. Water and work gloves will be available.  RSVP here.

Elgar Street between Ravensworth Road and Juliet Street, Springfield, VA

Saturday, 21 July 2018

10 am – 1 pm

Join Dragonfly Workshop at Clifton Institute, 11 August

On Saturday, August 11, 1:00PM-4:00PM, join Dr. Steve Roble, zoologist with the Virginia Division of Natural Heritage, for a program on dragonfly and damselfly biology and identification. Dragonflies are some of the most mysterious and beautiful animals that live at the Clifton Institute. And northern Virginia is a hotspot of dragonfly diversity, with at least 65 species present.

Steve Roble is a leading expert on the dragonflies and damselflies of Virginia. He will present on the fascinating biology of these insects and then we will explore the field station in search of dragonflies. We will visit lakes, streams, and fish-free vernal pools, each of which host distinct dragonfly communities. So far we have observed 34 species of dragonflies and 14 damselflies at Clifton.

Clifton Institute has a project on iNaturalist to host your observations.

Come help us add to the list! To RSVP please email Bert Harris at bharris@cliftoninstitute.org.

Join the North American Butterfly Association Count at the Clifton Institute, 28 July

The Clifton Institute is hosting its 23rd annual butterfly count and celebrating its 16th year in collaboration with the North American Butterfly Association July count. They need novice and experienced butterfly enthusiasts to serve as citizen scientists. As a participant, you will be assigned to small teams, led by an experienced butterfly counter. Teams will survey a variety of sites within our count circle.

What you need to know:

Saturday, July 28, 8:00AM-4:00PM (Check-in begins at 8 am with refreshments. Volunteers should be on site no later than 8:30)

$5 fee for participating adults; children 8 and older may participate (fee waived), when accompanied by a parent

Bring your lunch and spend the day. Outdoor clothing and shoes, hats, sunscreen, and water bottles are essential. Cameras and close focus binoculars are suggested. (If you are a photographer, please let us know. We would like to place one photographer on each team!)

Contact Bert Harris at bharris@cliftoninstitute.org for more information and to RSVP (required).

Lead a storm drain education project

Volunteering to lead a storm drain labeling project is a fun way to give back to the community and help protect our natural world. Each project focuses on a neighborhood, informing people who live there about the dangers of dumping anything into a storm drain. Storm drain labeling is an effective, low-cost method of educating residents about water quality problems in our streams, lakes, rivers and the Bay. The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District is currently recruiting volunteers to lead storm drain labeling projects. Click here for more information.

Stream monitoring events in July: Plan now to attend

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Prince William County Stream Monitoring Session: Woodbridge
Time:   11 am – 1:30pm
Location: Off of Springwoods Dr, Woodbridge

Join certified volunteer monitor Janis Cook at her adopted site along Airport Creek in the Lakeridge neighborhood. For directions and to RSVP, please contact Janis at Jcook3910@aol.com.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Pohick Creek Monitoring Workshop: Springfield/LortonPohick
Time: 9 – 11:30 am
Location: Pohick Creek Stream Valley Park, Springfield
Help monitor big and beautiful Pohick Creek as it winds through its rocky valley just north of I-95 and Lorton. Please RSVP to Dan Schwartz at dan.schwartz@fairfaxcounty.gov or sign up through Fairfax County’s online Volunteer Management System (initial registration required).

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Prince William County Stream Monitoring Session: Haymarket
Time: 10 am – Noon
Location: James Long Park, 4603 James Madison Hwy, Haymarket. Park at the Old Library parking lot.
Join longtime certfied volunteer monitor Elaine Wilson at her beautiful adopted site on Catharpin Creek in the Gainesville area. This site has some outstanding and unique critters. Spots are limited. For information and to RSVP, contact Elaine at elaine.wilson@dcwater.com.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Reston Association Stream Monitoring Workshop: Reston
Time:  8 am
Location: Reston Association Property, exact stream to be determined
Join Will Peterson of the Reston Association and help monitor the health of one of the many beautiful streams on Reston Association common land. Please contact Will at wpeterson@reston.org for RSVP instructions and directions to the site.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Difficult Run Stream Monitoring Workshop: Great Falls
Time: 9:30 am
Location: Difficult Run Stream Valley Park near Leigh Mill Rd
Help monitor beautiful Difficult Run as it flows through leafy parkland just upstream of Great Falls National Park. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Dan Schwartz at dan.schwartz@fairfaxcounty.gov or use Fairfax County’s online Volunteer Management System (initial registration required).

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Stream Monitoring Session: South RunSouth
Time: 1:30 – 4 pm
Location: Parkland behind South Run Rec Center, 7550 Reservation Dr, Springfield
Join certified volunteer monitor Veronica Tangiri as she monitors her adopted site along beautiful and healthy South Run as it flows under a leafy canopy of trees between Burke Lake and Lake Mercer. Please RSVP to Veronica at vera.tangiri@gmail.com for directions.