Butterfly and Dragonfly Survey, April – October

Photo: Courtesy of Plant NOVA Natives, Mourning Cloak Butterfly
Every Friday, April-October, 2022

Various locations:
Meadowood Recreation Area10406 Gunston Road
Lorton, VA, 22079

Occoquan Bay NWR
13950 Dawson Beach Road
Woodbridge, VA, 22191

Metz Wetlands15875 Neabsco Road
Woodbridge, VA, 22191

Occoquan Regional Park9751 Ox Road
Lorton, VA, 22079

Registration is required, to learn more and to register, click here.

Butterfly and dragonfly surveys are carried out in temperate months (April-October), normally on Friday mornings, at one of four sites around Occoquan Bay, all within the 15-mile diameter circle established for the annual North American Butterfly Association‘s Annual Count.

Stream Monitoring: Citizen Science & Training Opportunities

Photo by J. Quinn

Below is a list of Stream Monitoring Citizen Science, Workshops, and other monitoring opportunities in the area for July and August.


 *NVSWCD Workshop 

Pohick Creek Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Sunday, July 17, 10:00am-12:30pm

Where: Hidden Pond Nature Center, Springfield

This is the workshop site of a recently-retired stream monitor and is currently up for adoption. Come join us at this beautiful county park! Space is limited, please register for the workshop here.


*NVSWCD Workshop 

Holmes Run Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Saturday, July 23, 9:00-11:30am

Where: Holmes Run Stream Valley Park, Falls Church

This workshop site is an easily-accessible location just downstream of Lake Barcroft. Come explore this beautiful spot in the Cameron Run watershed! Space is limited, please register for the workshop here.


*NVSWCD Workshop 

Difficult Run Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Sunday, August 21, 10:00am-12:30pm

Where: Difficult Run Stream Valley Park, Great Falls

This quiet site is known for numerous macros and a relatively high stream score. In spring we found a high number of midges – will we find the same this visit? Space is limited, please register for the workshop here.


*NVSWCD Workshop 

Horsepen Run Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Saturday, August 27, 9:00-11:30am

Where: Horsepen Run Stream Valley Park, Herndon

This stream site parallels the park trail and is a favorite with local runners, bikers, and dog walkers! This site scored higher in the spring monitoring than it had in past years – join us to see if this positive trend continues! Space is limited, please register for the workshop here.

*Northern Virginia Water and Soil Conservation District

Creek Critters Count and Catch Program

When: Sunday, August 28, 1:00pm

Where: Chapman DeMary Trail, Purcellville

Join the Purcellville Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Purcellville Tree and Environment Sustainability Committee and Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy to get up close and personal with the creek critters living in the South Fork of the Catoctin Creek at the Chapman DeMary Trail. Loudoun Wildlife Stream Team members will discuss the natural history of these critters, help participants learn how to identify them, and explain how they can help us determine the health of a stream. Registration required through Purcellville Parks and Recreation website. Learn more here.


More Training and Stream Monitoring Opportunities


The Northern Virginia Water and Soil Conservation District (NVSWCD) is very excited to contribute their stream data to state and national datasets. If you’d like to see data from all the NVSWCD regional stream monitoring team’s active sites, you can find our organization on the Clean Water Hub. Keep in touch with NVSWCD on our Facebook and Instagram.


North American Butterfly Association(NABA) Butterfly Count, July 23rd

Image: Courtesy of The Clifton Institute

Saturday, July 23, 2022
9:00am – 3:00pm
Where: The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road, Warrenton, VA
Cost: Free
For more information and Registration click here.

Every year community scientists help count the butterflies in 15-mile-diameter circles all around the country and contribute their data to the North American Butterfly Association. This summer The Clifton Institute will host their 27th annual butterfly count and celebrate their 20th year contributing their data to NABA. Butterfly enthusiasts of all levels of experience are welcome! If you feel like you don’t know many butterflies, this is a great way to learn and it’s always helpful to have more eyes pointing out butterflies.

Volunteer Opportunity: Authors for 2022 Reston Association State of the Environment Report

Since 2017, volunteers on a project team of the Reston Association Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) have produced the Reston Association State of the Environment Report (RASER) to inform residents about the state of various environmental attributes in Reston.
Project team leads Doug Britt (who also chairs the EAC) and Robin Duska are looking for additional volunteers with strong writing skills and subject matter knowledge or expertise to update the following chapters from the 2020 edition this summer:  MammalsReptiles & AmphibiansInvertebrates, and Hazardous Materials & Toxic Waste.
Authors are provided with a style guide, and the co-leads work closely with them to review and refine drafts ahead of publication. Each RASER chapter is structured to provide brief background on its subject, describe existing conditions for that subject in Reston, draw conclusions about the state of the environment in Reston for it, and make recommendations for preserving or improving conditions.
The project team will kick off the 2022 update of RASER at a Zoom meeting on June 9. All chapters in RASER are updated every other year, but its Report Card & Recommendations segment is updated yearly and briefed to the Reston Association Board of Directors.
Volunteers need not live in Reston to serve on the project team.
If you are interested in volunteering as an author or have questions, please contact Robin Duska via email at Robin.Duska@gmail.com 

Bluebird Monitor Coordinator Sought

Photo:  J. Quinn

The Virginia Bluebird Society is looking for one or two volunteers to join a small team that works together to fulfill the duties as the Fairfax County Coordinator. The job entails being the County Coordinator contact for some of the trails in the county, sending out reminder emails to trail leaders in the spring, collecting data from trail leaders in the fall, answering questions and providing advice about bluebird trails and monitoring, and helping to connect people who want to monitor with trail leaders. If you enjoy providing training/educational programs, that’s possible as well. Most of the work is computer based, but it can sometimes involve going out to a site. The time involved varies over the course of the year and occasionally/rarely exceeds one hour/week.

Please contact Carmen Bishop with any questions. – cjbish1@gmail.com

Clean the Bay Day, June 4th

Saturday, June 4, 2022
9 am – Noon
See a full list of sites to find one near you.
(Mason Neck State Park and Huntley Meadows are options)
Register here.

Clean the Bay Day has been a staple for Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay community since its inception more than three decades ago. On June 4, thousands of Virginians will simultaneously work together to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay by removing litter and debris from its rivers and streams at hundreds of sites all across the Commonwealth.

Can’t make it to the June 4 event? No worries! The week of May 30 to June 3 is Clean the Bay Your Way DIY Week, where you can conduct your own cleanup in your neighborhood, place of work, or anywhere else you have permission, and where you can take care of the disposal safely and properly yourself.

Second Annual Dragonfly Count, June 26th

Photos: Clifton Institute

Sunday, June 26, 2022
10:00am – 5:00pm
Where: The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road, Warrenton, VA
Cost: Free
Register here.

Join the Clifton Institute for the second annual Dragonfly Count! The goals are to learn which species of dragonflies and damselflies are found in the area, to monitor changes in their populations, and to encourage everyone to learn more about Odonates!

For more details about the survey habitat and count process please click here.

Green Service Showcase Judges Needed, May 23rd & 25th

Photo courtesy Lewis HS

Monday May 23rd from 12:50 pm to 2:50 pm and/or
Wednesday May 25th from 7:45 am – 9:45 am
John R. Lewis High School, 6540 Franconia Rd, Springfield, VA

International Baccalaureate Environmental 11th and 12th grade students investigated environmental issues, developed goals/steps, and made some “good trouble” environmental action for the John R. Lewis HS Community. The journey the action took was different depending on the team, but the goal is for them to reflect and propose ideas for future students.

Students in groups or as individuals selected Green service projects focused on one or more of the following:

1. Waste and consumption
2. Sustainable food
3. Outdoor classroom improvements

Top projects will be awarded prizes in the following categories connected to FCPS Portrait of a Graduate:

Most critical thinkers
Most goal oriented and resilient
Most reflective global and ethical citizens
Strongest collaborators
Strongest communicators

If you can join one or both dates, please fill out this google form.

Questions? Contact Rachel Clausen, Environmental Lead Lewis HS, (301) 908-7623 or RLclausen@fcps.edu.


Tree Wrapping for Beavers: Workshop and Volunteer Day, May 7th

Photo: Clifton Institute

Saturday, May 7, 2022
10:00am – 12:00pm
Where: The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road, Warrenton, VA
Cost: Free
Register here.

During this workshop and volunteer day, join Alison Zak, M.A., founder of the Human-Beaver Coexistence Fund, to learn about the importance of coexisting with beavers and how to protect trees from being chewed down. After a brief talk, volunteers will get hands-on experience wrapping trees using HBCF’s recommended methods.

Box Turtle Community Science Survey, May 18th, weather dependent

Photo: Clifton Institute

Wednesday, May 18,2022
9:00am – 3:00pm
Where: The Clifton Institute – Google Maps
6712 Blantyre Road
Warrenton, Virginia 20187

Register here.

The Clifton Institute is starting a research project to study box turtles. They want to know what habitats they use, what time of year they’re most active, how big their territories are and how much overlap neighboring territories have, and most importantly what can be done to help conserve this long-lived species. To start, they need to have a better idea of how many box turtles there are on their property and where they can find them.  The Clifton Institute needs your help! In late May or early June, they are going to wait for rainy weather and spend a day walking all of the trails looking for box turtles. They will divide registrants into teams to cover more ground. The more eyes the better! No experience is needed. Volunteers will be walking on uneven and potentially steep trails.

They chose May 18 as the date they expect to be the earliest possible survey date, but they will wait for the right weather and email registrants with more information.