Audubon Afternoon with Amanda Gallinat, September 13th

Photo: Hermit Thrush, Jeremiah Trimble

Sunday, 13 September 2020
3 – 4:30 pm
VIRTUAL!
Free, but registration is required

Climate change shifts the timing of autumn, risking mismatch between migratory birds and nutritious native fruits

Dr. Amanda Gallinat is an ecologist who studies how environmental change affects plants, birds, and their interactions. Her recent research focuses on the effects of climate change on the timing of seasonal biological events in the northeast, including fruit ripening and bird migration, and how these climate-driven changes alter food availability for birds in autumn. Amanda’s research incorporates the historical field notes of Henry David Thoreau, long-term bird banding records, museum specimens, and field observations, and her work has been featured by National Audubon, The Wildlife Society and American Scientist. Amanda has a B.A. from Carleton College and a PhD from Boston University, and she is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at Utah State University.

Fairfax County Community-Wide Energy and Climate Action Plan Seeks YOUR Input

Fairfax County is developing its first-ever Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) and your input is needed! Only three percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the county come from local government and school operations, the rest are from cars and trucks on our roads, energy use in our buildings, waste management processes, and other community sources.

It’s up to all of us to take steps, even small ones, to reduce our emissions so that our families, friends, neighbors, and future residents of Fairfax County are spared the consequences of climate change and can thrive in a clean, healthy, prosperous community. Join one of three virtual public meetings in late August and early September and take the CECAP public survey to share your opinions and suggestions. Your input will be considered by the CECAP Task Force as they make decisions about climate change mitigation goals, strategies, and actions we can take in the years to come.

Virginia Waterways Cleanup Events for Fall 2020

Clean Virginia Waterways is promoting volunteer-led cleanups in September and October as part of the International Coastal Cleanup. Volunteers can participate by (1) looking for and participating in a local cleanup event that is already scheduled (see the website for the listings) or (2) becoming your own Site Captain and organizing a small-scale cleanup with friends or community members. If you are scheduled for an in-person event with other people, just make sure to follow the VCE Phase 3 COVID-19 checklist guidelines and the safety guidelines from Clean Virginia Waterways.

More information on the Clean Virginia Waterways website.

What Can You Do About Climate Change? Make It Personal (With Rare)

According to Rare’s Center for Behavior and the Environment: “Two-thirds of Americans think that citizens should do more to address global warming. And yet, most of us don’t really know what to do. We recycle, carry our grocery bags. But turns out that’s not enough.’

Rare recently conducted research to identify the individual behaviors people can adopt with the greatest potential for climate impact. And it turns out, there are 7 things that many Americans might find surprisingly within reach. If each of these changes was adopted by even 10% of Americans, it would reduce the gap to America’s emissions targets by over 75%.

While we still need larger changes from corporations and governments, it’s pretty empowering to know we do not have to wait. We can each find at least one way to start making positive changes now. When it comes to our environment, we are all in this together.”

Food for thought from Rare: Seven behaviors with the largest climate impact

Rare Conversations, with Robert Frank and Madhuri Karak: Can Peer Pressure Solve Climate Change (43 mins of sensible, inspiring exchange)

Robert Frank, in the New York Times: Behavioral Contagion Could Spread the Benefits of a Carbon Tax

FMN Quarterly Chapter Meeting, 21 September

Photo by Jason Gunn Burton

Monday, 21 September 2020
7 pm
Zoom link forthcoming

Two speakers have been scheduled to engage us in our natural curiosity. Each presentation will last about 45 minutes. A Zoom link will be sent out through our FMN GoogleGroup for your connection convenience. Please email vmnfairfax@gmail.com if you are not on our GoogleGroup and would like the link. This is a public event.

Jay Lechtman will talk about carnivorous plants. Jay, a resident of the Wolf Trap area of Fairfax County, has been an enthusiastic amateur botanist for more than 30 years. He learned about both basic (e.g. stratification) and advanced (e.g. smoke water, gibberelic acid) methods of germinating seeds as part of his involvement in propagating rare and often endangered carnivorous plants, many of which are native to the Eastern United States, including several in Virginia. As a former journalist and a published author, he has written a number of articles on botanical topics in both local and international publications, including Grandiflora MidAtlantic Gardening Magazine.

Nick Walker will talk about the American Eel. Nick is a conservation biologist and the mayor of Eel Town. He runs the eeltown.org website. Nick is an environmental scientist focused on American Eel research, taking an integrative approach that combines natural science, social science and cultural science. In addition to his eel work he’s been a park ranger, an award-winning teacher, owns Journal Editors of America LLC and is the Mayor of Eel Town. He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science & Public Policy from George Mason University and an M.Sc. in Animal Biology from the Universidade Federal de Viçosa. He founded Eel Town in 2017.

Virginia Water Monitoring Council Virtual Conference

21-22 September 2020
Via GoToWebinar

This year’s Virginia Water Monitoring Council Conference will be held using a virtual format through GoToWebinar. Topics include coastal resilience, plastic pollution, Winter Salt Watch, and more. The program runs from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. each day, September 21st and 22nd. Registration is $30/person.

For more agenda, information, registration and contacts, see the conference webpage.

Confusing Fall Warblers, webinars 9 & 10 September

Photo: Magnolia Warbler, Seth Davis/Audubon Photography Awards

Two webinars
Wednesday, 9 Sep and Thursday, 10 Sep 2020
7 – 8:30 pm
$25
Register here

Join Audubon Society of Northern Virginia for a webinar with Marc Ribaudo and learn to identify warblers that pass through Northern Virginia in the fall.

This workshop is back by popular demand. Don’t be afraid of the little green jobs! The presenter will focus on the field marks of fall warblers that typically pass through our region, with an emphasis on species that look very much different in the spring than fall, and species that are most often confused. 

Marc Ribaudo is an avid birder with over 40 years of field experience.  He regularly led trips for the Northern Virginia Bird Club and Friends of Dyke Marsh before retiring and moving to North Carolina. We are thrilled to have him teach this online workshop.

Monarch Larva Monitoring Project Training, August 29

August 29, 2020

11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Some of our VMN chapters already participate in the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, a large-scale citizen science study of monarchs during the breeding season. This is a project that can be done outdoors on-your-own or in small groups and even on your own property (if you have sufficient milkweed plants.)

This online training will give you the background you need on monarch biology, the monitoring protocols, and the data entry procedures in order to participate in the MLMP in the future. The training will also be relevant for people already participating in the MLMP. If, after the training, you want to participate in the MLMP, please work with your chapter to make sure it is an approved project.

This training is being coordinated by the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project and Monarch Joint Venture, so please visit their web page for the event for more information and registration. Note that the registration deadline is August 19 if you choose to receive print materials in the mail (which is not required.)

Starting the MLMP was part of my graduate research back in the 1990s, so I’m always excited to get Virginia Master Naturalist volunteers involved in the project and to help if I can. There’s a lot more to learn about monarchs in Virginia, so we can use some more data points!

Michelle Prysby

VMN Program Director

VMN Continuing Education Webinar, August 26: Fireflies

Who doesn’t love fireflies? Many of us have fond memories of catching fireflies when we were kids, or watching a magical light show on a summer evening. This webinar will discuss firefly natural history, behavior, identification, and conservation. We will outline useful physical and behavioral characteristics for identifying common groups of fireflies in Virginia.
Other questions we’ll discuss include:  How many firefly species are there? Why do fireflies flash? What do fireflies eat? Are firefly populations declining? 

Didn’t quite get your firefly fix this summer? There’s still time! We’ll discuss how you can organize your own personal firefly safari this fall. Tune in to learn more!

Presenter Ariel Firebaugh is a lifelong learner and explorer. As an undergraduate at Roanoke College, she spent weekends practicing German verb conjugations while hiking around the Blue Ridge Mountains. She became semi-nocturnal in graduate school studying firefly behavior at UVA’s Blandy Experimental Farm field station. She now serves as the Director of Scientific Engagement at Blandy.

Webinar Details

When: Wednesday, August 26, 2020, 12:00 pm

Meeting Registration: Register for webinar (a requirement)

Link for recordings of this and past webinars: VMN Continuing Education Webinar page

Do Not Plant Unsolicited Seeds from China

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is aware that people across the country have received unsolicited packages of seed from China in recent days. APHIS is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection and State departments of agriculture to prevent the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protect U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds.
 
Anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds from China should immediately contact their State plant regulatory official or APHIS State plant health director. Please hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from your State department of agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions. Do not plant seeds from unknown origins.
 
People with questions can also call:
844-820-2234
Monday-Friday – 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET
CustomerServiceCallCenter@aphis.usda.gov
 
Virginia Contact: Karen A. Williams, USDA APHIS PPQ
                               5657 South Laburnum Ave., Richmond VA 23231-4536
                               Office Phone: 804-226-5262
                               Cell Phone: 757-812-2064
                               Email: Karen.A.Williams@aphis.gov