Find service opportunities with the Fairfax County Parks

New education, stewardship, and citizen science projects for Fairfax Master Naturalists have just been added to the Service Project Calendar. (If you are reading this and are not yet a naturalist, please consider applying for basic training.) You can also find opportunities by contacting the parks directly: Hidden Oaks, Huntley Meadows, Riverbend, Ellanor C. Lawrence, Frying Pan, Green Spring Gardens, Hidden Pond, and Cub Run RECenter all have opportunities for FMN members. Here’s a small sampling:

Spring-Fest at Historic Sully, 21 April, 9:45am–4pm – assist with interactive nature experiences at FCPA table

Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences, Hidden Oaks, 3, 4, 5, 6, 27 April; 1, 2, 3, 4 May 9:15am -1pm – assist at stations including stream studies, stewardship, benthic macroinvertebrate study or live animal exhibits for 7th grade classes

My Sky Tonight Campfire, 7 April, 7-9:30 pm, Hidden Oaks – assist with family campfire program about constellations

Touch this Fox, 28 April, 12-2:30, Hidden Oaks – assist with family program where participants can touch real specimens and bones, educate about taxidermy and specimen care, dissect an owl pellet

Habitat and Parkland Management, dates & times flexible – perform maintenance of trails and other natural resource protection projects, such as with native wildflower garden or storm damage cleanup

Animal care, dates & times flexible – feed and care for animals on exhibit.  Animal care volunteers are needed at Hidden Oaks, Hidden Pond, Ellanor C. Lawrence and Riverbend.

To volunteer for Hidden Oaks programs, contact Suzanne Holland, [email protected] or 703-941-1065.  For other locations, contact the nature center or park.

Lead a Pull of Invasive Garlic Mustard, 14 April, 10 am-2 pm, Riverbend 

Come enjoy Riverbend Bluebell Festival, which draws 300-500 people historically. While you’re there, get service hours by removing garlic mustard. Email Rita Peralta or call 703 759-9018 to volunteer

14 April 2018

10 am-2 pm

Riverbend Park, 8700 Potomac Hills St., Great Falls, VA

This activity counts toward service hours

Service opportunity: Help monitor beautiful Holmes Run Creek, in Annandale, 22 April

Valerie Bertha, a certified stream monitor, is looking for naturalists to help her observe the health of Holmes Run Creek, in Annandale.

Date and time: 22 April, Sunday, 9 am-noon. The group will meet at the end of Hockett Street, off of Annandale Road. If you have trouble finding the site, please call Valerie at 703-473-2789.

Please also RSVP to [email protected] by 15 April so that she knows how much equipment to borrow. Wear rain boots because you will be in the creek.

This service project receives credit for C020: NVSWCD Biological Stream Monitoring.

Join the Fight Against Invasive Wisteria!

Accotink Gorge Workday

Friday, March 16th, 9.00 am – 12.00 pm

Meet in the parking lot of the Springfield Costco, 7373 Boston Boulevard, Springfield, VA.  FACC will be in the back area of the parking lot, by the trees, between the Costco and the Boston Market.

The Friends of Accotink Creek (FACC) will lead an invasive removal workday and educational tour of Accotink Gorge, an area of significant biodiversity and natural beauty that is threatened by a severe infestation of invasive wisteria. They will be clipping vines in a selected area, in order to free up the canopy. For more information and a history of the invasive management work in this imperiled biological gem, click here.

What to bring:  FACC will provide tools, but bring your own clippers, pruners, loppers and pruning saws if you have them.  Some of the vines are quite thick!

What to wear:  Sturdy shoes, long pants and sleeves, bug spray and garden gloves.  Workday will go on in light rain.

Caution:  There are ticks and poison ivy, and access is down a very steep slope.  Bushwhacking skill is needed.

Remove Invasive Plants from Fairfax County’s Natural Areas

Invasive invaders such as kudzu, wisteria and stilt grass are pushing out important native flora and diminishing the health of our parks.  Help turn the tide against these exotic invaders by joining the Invasive Management Area (IMA) volunteers and pulling these weeds out by their roots!  Several workdays are scheduled in March and April.  The IMA calendar can be found online.

2018 Virginia Working Landscape survey season activities kicking off

Virginia Working Landscapes, a program of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, hosts citizen science service projects for master naturalists and other members of the public.

Joe Guthrie, the new field coordinator, is a local conservation biologist with extensive experience in designing and implementing ecological surveys and brings with him a strong passion for biodiversity conservation and research. He and his team have set dates for spring  trainings:

Grassland Bird Training: Saturday, 14 April, 9 am-1 pm at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, in Front Royal. Led by Joe Guthrie and Amy Johnson.

Grassland Plant Training: Saturday, 28 April, 9 am-1 pm at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, in Front Royal. Led by Sally Anderson and Joe Guthrie

Pollinator Training: Sunday, 13 May, 9 am-noon at Blandy Experimental Farm, in Front Royal. Led by T’ai Roulston, Alex Newhart and Joe Guthrie.

If you are a current citizen scientist, please send a note to Charlotte Lorick ([email protected]) with your name and survey interest. VWL will put your name down as confirmed for 2018 surveys, and Joe will be in touch with more specific details later this spring.

If you are not yet a volunteer, but are interested, please sign up here.

The VWL events page hosts additional learning and service opportunities.

Bluebird Trails: Learn and Volunteer

Saturday, 10 March from 3.00 – 5.00 pm

Pohick Regional Library

6450 Sydenstricker Road, Burke, VA

Come learn how a favorite songbird, the Eastern Bluebird, lives and breeds right in our community and how volunteers have helped this bird come back. There are about 80 bluebird trails which house at least three bluebird houses each, in Fairfax County.  The Virginia Bluebird Society is seeking volunteers to monitor these houses.  This presentation will include information about what is involved in monitoring and how you can help this species.

 

 

Canada Goose Management Workshop

Learn about the behavior of Canada geese, effective goose management techniques (egg oiling, border collies, exclusion techniques), community case studies and regulations. Volunteers should plan to make a commitment to survey a minimum of one park during the egg laying season.

Thursday, 8 March 2018
10-11.30 am

Fairfax County Animal Shelter Training Room
Limited to 40 participants

Register by 5 March with Kristen Sinclair  or call 703-324-8559

Help Earth Sangha Nursery on Volunteer Workday: Sunday, 18 February

Meet at the nursery in Springfield (6100 Cloud Drive in Franconia Park) at 10 am on Sunday, 18 Febrary. You’ll be spreading gravel, weeding and preparing soils for germinating woody plants. If it rains or the temperature dips into low 40 degrees, the workday will be cancelled.

The Wild Plant Nursery is a resource for ecological restoration in the greater Washington, DC, area. Established in 2001 in Springfield, Virginia, under an agreement with the Fairfax County Park Authority, the nursery is the region’s most comprehensive source of local, wild native-plant material (“local ecotypes”).  Learn more here.

Citizen Science Opportunities via the National Museum of Natural History

Anyone can be a citizen scientist–especially you! It only takes an interest, some curiosity, and a little time to volunteer. Tweens and teens who want to contribute to real science can get involved. Teachers can bring citizen science into their classrooms, engaging students in authentic and relevant science. And naturalists from Fairfax County!

The Museum of Natural History collaborates with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Virginia Working Landscapes, City Nature Challenge 2018, and other organizations to design rewarding, meaningful opportunities for those of us willing to volunteer for them.

Ask other naturalists to join you and do the work as a team!

Learn more and sign up