Help restore native habitat at Lake Accotink Park, October 4

Lake Accotink Park
Lake Accotink Park Rd., Springfield VA
Saturday, 4 October 2019
8 – 10am

Please consider helping Invasive Management Area volunteers to remove alien invasive plants that degrade natural areas by out-competing native plants for resources.

Wear long sleeves and pants (due to poison ivy), and sturdy footwear.  Bring water to stay hydrated (the park has water fountains so reusable bottles are recommended), and use insect repellant for protection against ticks and mosquitoes.  We will supply gloves and equipment.

Please let Elaine know if you can participate or have questions.  She can be reached at yorkiemum.sevy95@gmail.com.

Directions to the Invasive Management Area:  Take Springfield/644W exit from I-95, which puts you on Old Keene Mill Road. At 3rd stoplight, turn right on Hanover Rd. Continue on Hanover (through residential section) to Highland Ave. Turn Left. Turn right on Accotink Park Rd. The park entrance is on the left (an industrial area is on the right). Accotink Park Rd. continues here. Take it until you reach the marina area.

Come to orientation for new volunteers at Riverbend and Scott’s Run, Nov 2

Photo: Ana Ka’Ahanui

Saturday, November 2
9:30 AM -12.30 PM
8814 Jeffery Road, Great Falls, VA 22066

Want to become a volunteer at Riverbend Park or Scott’s Run? Attend the Fall Volunteer Orientation to learn about  opportunities, projects, and events. Positions for Animal Care Volunteers and Program Volunteers are currently open! If you want to get involved in park restoration/other projects, you are more than welcome to join us!

This session will run in two parts:

  1. Orientation for ALL new volunteers (9:30-10:30 AM)
  2. Orientation for specialties such as Animal Care, School Program Leads, and other projects.

 

Animal Care

Volunteer Claire Phan feeding a box turtle a fresh earth worm!

If you love animals this is the opportunity for you! Learn about local wildlife & become a caretaker to our rescued reptiles & amphibians.

Apply by 10/31 to valeria.espinoza@fairfaxcounty.gov 

Click here to register for Animal Care orientation and training.

 

 

School Program Leads

Volunteer Tom Blackburn showing students a soil sample

Love nature, science, and history? Become a program leader at Riverbend and help educate elementary students about Native American history, soils, wildlife, watershed science, biology & more!

Apply by 10/31 to valeria.espinoza@fairfaxcounty.gov 

Click here to register for becoming a School Program Lead Volunteer.

 

 

 

Resource Naturalists: Fall Planting Projects (14+ or w/ adult)

Chris Lansing educating volunteers on Mile a Minute clean up

Want to get involved in resource management, restoration, and conservation? Become a Resource Naturalist! We have a few planting projects to complete before winter.

Click here to register.

Email valeria.espinoza@fairfaxcounty.gov with questions and to RSVP fo orientation on Nov 2

 

 

Scott’s Run Cleanup Group! (14+ or w/ adult)

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Join the SRNP Cleanup Group! Open for students, families, and anyone interested in keeping the park and Potomac river free from litter.

Click here to sign up for fall cleanup days

Want to schedule your own group cleanup? Email Valeria Espinosa!

 

 

Scout Programs Assistant Volunteer! (18+)

Interested in supporting our girl scout and boy scout programs? Join our interpretive team and learn about outdoor/nature education! 

Click here to sign up

 

 

Final Birding Walks!

Friday 10/4 and 10/18 from 8-10 AM @Nature Center

Don’t miss the final birding walks with Kris Lansing and Robin Duska. To sign up email Valeria Espinosa or call 703-759-9018

 

Lead and contribute to FMN Chapter committees in 2019 and 2020

Photo: Ana Ka’Ahanui

From President Joe Gorney to Chapter Members,

As a volunteer organization, our chapter succeeds based on the collective efforts of many people participating in an array of service activities. The same is true of the management of our chapter. At the end of this year, we will have a significant number of people rotating out of Board positions. Please consider serving on the board as an officer or committee chair, or as a member of a committee.  Your perspectives and ideas are enormously valuable.  Serving in one of these positions would take only a few hours each month but would be invaluable in helping our chapter to thrive.  And all of these hours count toward your service hours! Please submit your expression of interest to Fairfax Chapter Virginia Master Naturalists. Don’t delay!

Listed below is a description of the respective officer and committee chair positions. And if you’re not ready to be an officer or committee chair but would still like to help, you can still be a part of a committee as a member.  (We would especially like to have a diversity specialist under the Outreach Chair).

Secretary (officer)

Solicits board meeting agenda items; posts meeting agendas; takes and records meeting minutes; maintains chapter bylaws and handbook. Keeps us all accountable and working together!

Treasurer (officer)

Maintains the budget and accounting records; produces a monthly financial report; pays bills; collects dues; presents the financial records for audit; coordinates with committee chairs to produce the annual budget. Allows us to spend our money wisely to accomplish our mission!

Hospitality  (committee chair)

Coordinates general member meetings and basic training graduation activities including logistics, activities, and refreshments; orders and manage sales and/or distribution of fundraising items and logo items if needed. A welcoming presence at our activities!

Outreach (committee chair)

Promotes the chapter and its mission through outreach activities; manages booth staffing for outreach events; opens the eyes of the community to our mission and our work; helps ensure a diverse membership; motivates others to become members. Keep our good works in the forefront!

Continuing Education (committee chair)

Identifies, solicits, and approves continuing education proposals based on the criteria provided by VMN; notifies members of approved opportunities; maintains a catalog/calendar of opportunities.  Help us all to stay motivated and sharp!

Membership (committee chair)

Leads a small, dedicated, and experienced team; responsible for maintaining FMN and VMN membership directories; tracks and issues service awards and certifications; serves as member of Student Selection Committee.  Help welcome new members and foster camaraderie among current members!

Service (committee chair)

Approves service project proposals using established criteria; notifies members of opportunities; maintains a diverse catalog of opportunities. Help us all to serve our community!

Communications (committee chair)

Maintains the chapter public website, newsletters, social media, and chapter email account. Leads three or four strategically-minded people who communicate effectively and enjoy keeping all of us in the know. Earn hours from the comfort of your home while connecting us all to the chapter!

South Run Rec Center “Erosion Knoll” needs gardening TLC volunteers

South Run Recreation Center
7550 Reservation Drive, Springfield VA
1st and 3rd Wednesdays from 9-11 am
2nd Saturdays from 9-12 for May-October and 12-3 pm from November – April

Enthusiastic and energetic volunteer gardener at South Run is seeking like-minded individuals to provide input on erosion control native plantings for a fairly small incline. Ideally, these volunteers would supervise the planting and maintenance of this area once the plants are obtained. South Run has dedicated landscape volunteer days monthly as shown above but knowledgeable supervision is much needed.

Interested? Contact Sally Berman via Joseph.Lauer@fairfaxcounty.gov.  Planning volunteers may meet with Sally outside of scheduled volunteer times.

Those who just want to volunteer occasionally can go to https://volunteer.fairfaxcounty.gov/custom/1380/#/opp_details/180570

Those that want to volunteer regularly go to:
https://volunteer.fairfaxcounty.gov/custom/1380/#/opp_details/179743

Volunteer at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court
Vienna, VA 22182
Any morning Monday through Thursday

Calling all gardeners! Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, a NOVA Park, needs volunteers to supports its 95 acres of ornamental display gardens and native plant collections for the enjoyment and education of our community.

To volunteer any morning Monday through Thursday in any of the ornamental display gardens:
-Email Tammy Burke at tburke@nvrpa.org

To volunteer Tuesday or Wednesday with native plants (Potomac Valley and Native Wetlands Collections) : Email Keith Tomlinson at ktomlinson@nvrpa.org 

Help clean up Fairfax County parks this fall

Clean-up events run throughout the Fall at park locations around the county. The sites include:

Saturday, October 5: Ossian Hall Park, 8-11 am

Saturday, October 12

  • Huntley Meadows Park, 9-11:30 am
  • Lake Accotink Park, 9 am-noon
  • Lake Fairfax Park, 9 am-noon
  • Riverbend Park, 10 am-noon
  • Scott’s Run Nature Preserve, 9-11:30 am

Friday, October 18: Providence RECenter, 9-11 am

Saturday, October 19: Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, 9-10:30 am

Saturday, October 26

  • Backlick Park, 9-11 am
  • Hidden Pond Nature Center, 9 am-noon
  • Cub Run RECenter, 9-11:30 am

Saturday, November 2: South Lakes Drive Park, 9 am-noon

Saturday, November 16: John Byers Park, 8 to 11 a.m.

For a complete listing and to sign up to volunteer, visit Volunteer. Groups, and then please call the site of your choice to make arrangements.

For more information, contact the Public Information Office at 703-324-8662, or e-mail parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Help repopulate white oak forests

From Laura DeWald, Forest Genetics Specialist:

I am at the University of Kentucky (Dept. Forestry and Natural Resources), where I am developing a genetics improvement program for white oak (Quercus alba) to address sustainability of the white oak resource into the future. The eventual goal of the project is to have a sustainable supply of good white oak to support healthy forests and restore the white oak resource. 

The first obvious step in a genetics program is to get germplasm – in this case acorns. Collecting will begin this fall and will occur for at least two more seasons, with the future collections focused on filling in collection gaps in the geographic range. Acorns collected will be grown in the Kentucky Division of Forestry’s state nursery and then outplanted into genetic tests as 1-0 seedlings. 

I need help getting acorns from throughout Virginia. Each individual person only needs to collect from 1-2 trees.

Important First Steps

1. Scout for one or two healthy white oaks now and look for the baby acorns to make sure that tree will produce this fall. That said, you can also watch for mature acorns on the tree–it’s important that they aren’t old ones from years past. Mature acorns will start dropping late September to October, so you will need to act soon.

 2. Contact Laura DeWald (Laura.DeWald@uky.edu | 859-562-2282) for the collection kit and the important instructions you will need to follow before you gather the acorns. Laura will start sending out kits now to those who contact her. Each tree will get its own kit. (You don’t want to mix up the acorns from different trees because they want to sample the parent’s genetics.) Laura.DeWald@uky.edu   859-562-2282

Virginia Association for Environmental Education seeks conference proposals, deadline Sep. 27th

2020 Virginia Association for Environmental Education Conference- EE for EverybodEE
Sweet Briar College, Amherst VA
26-28 February 2020

This conference is a celebration of and call of action for efforts to make environmental education in Virginia more equitable and inclusive for all audiences and the diverse field we all know it can be.

Proposals that will suit the following 5 strands are being accepted until September 27:

• Early Childhood EE
• Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for EE
• Action Projects and Citizen Science
• Teaching EE Outside
• EE Best Practices

VAEE offers the following opportunities to present:

• 50 minute sessions
• Half-day Workshops (3 hours)
• Full- day Workshops (6 hours)
• Make and Take Workshop: For this session you will lead the participants in making a product to take with them such as a Bee House or Habitat Cage. Extra fees will be charged on the registration to cover costs. Please indicate suggested costs in your proposal. (3 hour session)
• Interactive Activity Showcase: Do you have a fun and engaging EE activity you’d like to share with others? You will lead other participants in the activity and give them a copy of the activity with directions. (3 hour session – each person will have varying time to present their activity.)

You will be notified as to whether your proposal has been accepted or not by Oct. 31, 2019.

SUBMIT YOUR PROPOSAL

If you have further questions, please contact Sarah McGuire, Page Hutchinson, or Bruce Young. Thank you for your interest in supporting VAEE and environmental education!

Earth Sangha fall open house and native plant sale

Wild Plant Nursery
6100 Cloud Drive, Springfield VA
Sunday, 22 September 2019
10am – 2pm
Click here for the Wild Plant Nursery Species List.

The Fall is really the best time to visit the Earth Sangha nursery. In the Spring, plants are still emerging from winter dormancy, and so they cannot offer as many species. The Fall, as experienced gardeners know, is also the best time to plant! Trees, shrubs, and perennials like the cooler weather and greater rainfall lets them establish robust roots. Late blooming annuals can make great additions to your garden, and many will “volunteer” from seed next year.

All plant sale proceeds go toward local parkland restoration. Last fall, customers helped them raise over $15,600 for local parkland restoration!
Choose from over 275 local-ecotype native species and help them fund the restoration of our area’s native flora.

If you’re interested in volunteering at the sale please email Katherine Isaacson at kisaacson@earthsangha.org. There will be a morning shift (9:45 to Noon) and an afternoon shift (Noon to 2:30).

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Harriet

Marilyn Kupetz

So the bare facts are these: Harriet is a wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) who lives in a terrarium at Riverbend Park. Roughly 10 inches long beak to tail, she has the brown eyes of a female and “a rough carapace and pyramid-like raised scutes” (Abugattas, 2017, p. 42). She’s of a certain age, but what that is exactly is unknown given that rescued reptiles don’t come with chips.

Unlike her box turtle peers—Romeo, Tortuga, Pumpkin, and Tojo—Harriet has all of her limbs. She certainly has all of her faculties. Each Thursday morning, when I come to take care of her, she peers up at me from her swimming basin, registers that I’m the behemoth who brings her strawberries, and crawls onto her landing stone to be lifted out, fed, and taken for a walk. After 6 months of this routine, we’re pals. I am lucky to have the privilege of learning about turtles from Harriet.

Harriet sunning in front of the Riverbend Visitor Center. Photo: Marilyn Kupetz

Although she knows what she wants, Harriet ambles to get it. While gazing at the back of this creature thus frequently at rest, I realized that turtle shells exhibit the Voronoi tessellations that, for example, Pixar uses to design scales for their digitally animated reptiles. 

Voronoi growth diagram

Animation by Balu Erti, CC BY-SA 4.0

Imagine two bubbles, or drops or water, or globs of tadpole eggs. When these masses are separate, they are more or less spherical, right? But when they come in contact with one another, their edges form planes and the geometrical shapes typical of the scales or bony plates covering dinosaurs and dragons. And turtles.

Biologists use Voronoi patterns to model cells. The tessellations help scientists understand what happens when cells multiply rapidly, making it possible to visualize cellular behavior so that, for example, doctors can treat illnesses.

Wikipedia reports that ecologists also use Voronoi patterns “to study the growth patterns of forests and forest canopies” and to develop “predictive models for forest fires.” An interesting conceptual shift from micro (cells) to macro (woodland systems).

Who knew that an elderly wood turtle could be such a good gateway to information about the natural world for curious citizen scientists?

Harriet doesn’t just stimulate learning, however. She and her kin offer volunteers a rare type of emotional connection: They show us that they appreciate the attention we give them. How do we know? By observing their uplifted heads as they sun, their ever enthusiastic consumption of fresh fruit and worms, and, yes, their gift of uninhibited deposits as they bathe.

They also enable us to work with other volunteers who, like philosopher Peter Singer, have come “to be persuaded that animals should be treated as independent sentient beings, not as means to human ends.” The Riverbend creatures cannot, alas, return to the wild—they were rescued from danger or abuse and are now dependent on human kindness. But those of us who care for them care about them.

Every 6 months, Riverbend’s Senior Interpreter Rita Peralta and Volunteer Coordinator Valeria Espinosa invite additional volunteers to help attend to not only Harriet and the box turtles, but also the snakes, frogs, and fish living in the Riverbend Visitor and Nature Centers. The always-welcoming Riverbend staff offer training sessions, flexible scheduling, and, best, the chance to nurture, learn from, and teach visitors about the gentle beings inhabiting the wild places that still remain to us in Fairfax County.

The Fall orientation session will be on Saturday, November 2, 9.30 am-12 pm. Please sign up here. Questions: Ask Valeria Espinosa: valeria.espinoza@fairfaxcounty.gov or Rita Peralta: rita.peralta@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Questions from the perspective of a volunteer? Feel free to ask me anything.

FMN volunteers get credit for volunteering under Service Code: S182: FCPA Nature Center Animal Care

 

 

Reference
Abugattas, A. (2017). The reptiles and amphibians of the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Self-published. Contact author.