Join The NABA Butterfly Count, September 10th


Photo By David Illig, Variegated Fritillary (NABA Butterfly Count)

Click here for registration information.

The Butterfly Count is an ongoing program of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) to census the butterflies of North America (United States, Canada and partially Mexico) and to publish the results. Volunteer participants are assigned a count area with a 15-mile diameter. The volunteers conduct a one-day census of all butterflies sighted within that circle.

Volunteers are encouraged to attend the butterfly identification webinar on Sept 5 (FREE for ASNV Members; $10 for non-members).

Volunteers of all experience levels are welcome! Every team will be led by an expert. Participants are encouraged to stay with their team for the duration of the event. A tally rally will take place at 4:00 PM at Belle Haven Pizzeria at 1401 Belle Haven Road, Alexandria, Virginia 22307.

This count is organized by Larry Meade. Deadline to register is Thursday, September 7 at 9:00 PM so you can be assigned to a team on Friday. Teams will each meet at their designated count locations.

Larry Meade is president of the Northern Virginia Bird Club and a member of the ASNV Adult Education Committee. He is a frequent bird walk leader and has been involved in numerous Audubon Christmas Bird Counts and NABA Butterfly Counts. He is the compiler of the Alexandria Circle NABA Butterfly Count.

NASA Moon Trees Quest: A Citizen Science Project Collaboration with the USDA Forest Service

Image Courtesy of the Globe Program NASA Moon Trees Quest

Did you know that in 1971 the Apollo 14 spacecraft carried seeds of several trees into space? Well those seeds of species such as sycamore, loblolly pine, coast redwood, sweetgum, and Douglas-firs were planted all over the United States. The NASA Moon Trees Quest is a citizen science project collaboration with the USDA Forest Service to collect data on the accessible remaining trees as well as examples of the species around the country. Using their free GLOBE Observer app, you can join the quest and help gather data about the trees near you. Click here to learn how to participate, accurately measure trees and submit your tree observations.

FMN’s to log volunteer hours for this activity there is an existing CS code of : C700: GLOBE Observer — NASA

Great News to Share About the FMN Chapter Project at Mason Neck State Park – Volunteers Are Still Needed

FMN Chapter Project update and photo from Sarah Mayhew, President, Fairfax Chapter Virginia Master Naturalists:

After three very busy workdays, the Mason Neck State Park Pollinator Gardens are looking great. Fairfax Master Naturalists, working with volunteers from the Friends of Mason Neck State Park, have weeded four flower beds around the Visitors Center building. They installed 50 plants into rock hard ground. Finally, the beds were aerated with garden forks and top dressed with a 5-inch-thick layer of compost.  June 17th marked the last scheduled workday. The volunteers cleaned out two of the rain barrels and sat up soaker hoses in two of the beds in front of the Visitors Center. A third rain barrel was examined to figure out why it wasn’t holding water.  Now, it is time to switch to a “maintenance” schedule. The project will need volunteer support on the second Saturday and the second Tuesday of each month.

The project also has a focus on the Meadow or Circle Garden, which is a fenced area in the middle of the road when you drive up to the Visitors’ Center. This garden has well-established sun-loving flowers, shrubs and trees. A volunteer from the Friends has been spreading arborist wood chips in this area for several weeks. There is a need to spread some compost around the established plants to give them a boost as well as a need to help the Friends finish spreading the wood chips.

Helpful tools for this work include shovels, pitch forks, and rakes to spread the compost and wood chips. If you have a wheelbarrow or cart, please bring it to carry the compost and wood chips short distances to the Meadow Garden. Seeing a finished flower bed at the end of two hours brings great satisfaction. PLEASE, come join us, and become a part of this wonderful FMN Chapter Project!  Sign up is easy; just click this link:

In addition to the regular workdays, volunteers from both organizations have watered every other day to keep the seedlings alive (there are slots on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and a weekend day). This is an easy job, as the hose is right in front of the Visitors’ Center and reaches to all the beds. The Friends have done most of the watering so far. FMN volunteers are needed to help support watering the beds during weeks in July and August. It would be best to have someone claim a slot for a month, this would give the volunteer time to become familiar with the gardens. However, feel free to volunteers as your schedule will allow.  Please contact Sarah Mayhew at [email protected] to volunteer for watering. When you volunteer you get free entrance into the park and can spend the rest of the day kayaking, hiking and birding. Or you can just sit, listen to the birds sing, read a good book, and admire the view across Belmont Bay. The park even provides rocking chairs!

Help Count Butterflies on July 1 at Occoquan Bay

Photo by Plant NOVA Natives, Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Saturday, July 1, 2023
8:00 AM – 1:00 PM

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

Participation is limited. To sign up, email Tina at [email protected].

Volunteers are needed for the upcoming North American Butterfly Association butterfly count at Occoquan Bay on July 1, starting at 8:00AM. No previous experience is required, and beginners will be grouped with more experienced volunteers. This is a great opportunity to learn more about local butterfly species, enjoy some lovely summer weather, and give back by volunteering.

Click here for more information.

NABA Butterfly Count, July 22

Image: Courtesy of The Clifton Institute

Saturday, July 22, 2023
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Cost: Free

Registration is REQUIRED.

The Clifton Institue
6712 Blantyre Road
Warrenton, Virginia 20187

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 28th annual butterfly count and celebrate their 21st year contributing 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. Participants will be assigned to small teams, led by an experienced butterfly counter. Information about your team will be shared closer to the date. Each team will survey a variety of sites within the Institute’s count circle.  Unless your leader says otherwise, participants will meet at the Clifton Institute at 9:00 AM. Everyone will meet back at the Institute at 3:00 PM to tally the results over cold drinks (provided).

Stream Monitoring, Citizen Science & Training Opportunities, May and June

Photo by FMN J. Quinn, Hidden Pond stream monitoring

Below is a list of the stream monitoring workshops and training opportunities located throughout the county:

Horsepen Run Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Wednesday, May 17, 4:00-6:30pm

Where: Horsepen Run Stream Valley Park, Herndon

This site has faced challenges in recent years including erosion and invasive bamboo. Join the NVSWCD as we monitor Horsepen Run to assess stream health and learn about the environmental impacts on this stream. Learn more and register for this workshop and others here.


Wolftrap Creek Monitoring Workshop

When: Saturday, May 20, 9:30am-12:00pm

Where: Wolftrap Creek Stream Valley Park, Vienna

This stream site is one of NVSWCD’s newer sites, with easy stream access and often used as a site for VASOS field certification workshops. Learn more and register for this workshop and others here.


Sugarland Creek Monitoring Workshop

When: Sunday, June 11, 9:30am-12:00pm

Where: Sugarland Run Stream Valley Park, Herndon

This stream site is known for the large number of Great Blue Herons that visit the site as well as a large number of crayfish found in our collection nets. Learn more and register for this workshop and others here.


Pohick Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Thursday, June 22, 4:00-6:30pm

Where: Pohick Creek Stream Valley Park, Springfield

This site along Pohick Creek runs adjacent to the Cross County Trail and features a family- and pet-friendly walking trail in addition to cool stream critters. Learn more and register for this workshop and others here.

More Training and Stream Monitoring Opportunities

Northern Virginia Soil and Water 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 NVSWCD organization on the Clean Water Hub.

Third Annual Dragonfly Count, June 25th

Image: Courtesy of The Clifton Institute

Sunday, June 25, 2023
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Cost: Free

Registration is REQUIRED.

The Clifton Institue
6712 Blantyre Road
Warrenton, Virginia 20187

Join volunteers at the Clifton Institute for the third 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. The map of the count circle is here. The circle includes a wide variety of aquatic habitats, including a sphagnum bog, fish-free marshes, lakes with abundant lily pads, and a variety of clean streams and rivers that range from tiny seeps all the way up to the Rappahannock River. This interesting area has not received as much study as nearby northern Virginia, but 72 species of dragonflies and damselflies have already been documented inside the circle. In 2022, volunteers found 55 species of dragonflies and damselflies, including Laura’s and Rapids Clubtails, Sphagnum Sprite, Appalachian Jewelwing, Amber-winged Spreading, Lilypad Forktail, and Turquoise Bluet. Who knows what else they will find this year! The circle will be divided into several areas, which teams of people will cover, similar to a Christmas Bird Count or NABA butterfly count. Organizers will let you know where to meet closer to the date. The count is open to people of all experience levels. They welcome dragonfly experts as well as anyone who is interested in learning about these fascinating insects.

This event is free but registration is required. Email Bert Harris ([email protected]) with any questions or if you would like to lead one of the teams. Please let Bert know if you live inside the count circle and you have a fish-free pond or marsh or a pond with lily pads or other emergent aquatic vegetation on your property that you would like to be included in the count. Organizers are partnering with the Fauquier County Parks and Recreation Department, Goose Creek Association, Virginia Outdoors Foundation, and White House Farm Foundation on this event.

Register for Clean the Bay Day! June 3rd

Image: courtesy of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

The registration for Clean the Bay Day is now live!

Every year Virginians all over the state join together to clean litter that jeopardizes the health of Chesapeake Bay. To participate in Clean the Bay Day on Saturday, June 3 register hereThe earlier you register, the more choices you will have regarding cleanup sites. For groups, it is recommended you register early to ensure you can all be at the same location. This year we’re highlighting Zone Captains and their critical work helping Clean the Bay Day run smoothly.


The Foundation knows not everyone is able to join the volunteers for the main event, they are again offering a DIY option—
Clean the Bay Your Way
—from June 4th through June 10th. Clean the Bay Your Way gives you the option of cleaning-up when you want with friends, family or by yourself! You’re able to conduct your own cleanup effort on smaller sites like your private property, school, workplace, or anywhere else you have permission. Learn more about our DIY option and register here!

Please let Lila know if you have any questions or run into any site issues. Thank you again for your interest in joining this huge volunteer event.


Lila Powell

Clean the Bay Day Intern

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

757-644-4122 / [email protected]


For Fairfax Master Naturalists the following clean up locations may be of interest:

Alexandria/City of Alexandria
Annandale/Friends of Accotink Creek

Lorton/Mason Neck State Park
Lorton/Mason Neck State Park Boaters

Volunteer Opportunity at River Farm, April and May Dates

Photo: Courtesy of River Farm, headquarters of the American Horticultural Society

River Farm, headquarters of the American Horticultural Society, is hosting several volunteer days to remove invasives from its 25-acre property. They did a huge clearing in late February, and now they need help with routine maintenance.

River Farm – 7931 East Boulevard Drive, Alexandria, VA 22308

When: Saturday, April 22, 9:00am – 12:00pm
When: Saturday, May 6, 9:00 am – 12:00pm
When: Saturday, May 20, 9:00am – 12:00pm

River Farm, headquarters of the American Horticultural Society, requires routine maintenance and removal of invasives on its 25-acre property along the Potomac. For those interested, please email Jack Greenfield at [email protected].

FMN Volunteers record service hours:      S256: Invasive Plant Maintenance Projects — Fairfax County
Purpose: Service projects related to the removal of invasive plants and maintenance or restoration of nature areas around facilities, buildings, libraries, or public open grounds in Fairfax County, that are not under the jurisdiction of the Fairfax County Park Authority.

Come to the Eagle Festival, May 13th

Photo: by FMN Ana Ka’ahanui

Saturday, May13, 2023
10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Mason Neck State Park
7301 High Point Rd., Lorton, VA 22079

Come to Mason Neck State Park on Saturday May 13 for the Eagle Festival — a day filled with special presentations, shows, and interactive exhibits by environmental organizations. Parking and admission are free!

Secret Garden Birds and Bees, a long-time park favorite, will have two programs with live raptors. There will also be puppet shows for young and old, and programs on reptiles and amphibians. You’ll be entertained by two live bands, and costumed characters will roam the festival grounds. And if you get hungry, the Lions Club will have food and drinks for sale and the Scoops2U food truck will be there with ice cream and sweets.

Be sure to mark the festival on your calendar!

For FMN volunteers please record service hours under E240: Mason Neck State Park Eagle Festival-Friends of Mason Neck State Park (FOMNSP).