Farmers Markets Set To Open for 2023 Season

It’s a new season and there is going to be a lot of fresh and healthy foods waiting for you at the famers’ markets. The Fairfax County Park Authority hosts 10 markets at locations throughout Fairfax County, where residents can find a variety of fresh and locally grown produce, delicious baked goods, prepared foods and family-friendly market activities, including live musical performances.

The 2023 season begins April 19 with the McCutcheon/Mount Vernon market. Check out the full market schedule below for the latest times and locations.


McCutcheon/Mount Vernon

April 19 to Dec. 20, from 8 a.m. to noon
Sherwood Library, 2501 Sherwood Hall Lane

Oak Marr

May 3 to Nov. 8, from 8 a.m. to noon
Oak Marr Recreation Center, 3200 Jermantown Road


May 3 to Oct. 25, from 2 to 6 p.m.
Wakefield Park, 8100 Braddock Road



May 4 to Nov. 2, from 8 a.m. to noon
Mason District Park, 6621 Columbia Pike


May 4 to Nov. 9, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Old Town Herndon, 700 Block of Lynn St., by the Red Caboose



May 5 to Nov. 17, from 8 a.m. to noon
Lewinsville Park, 1659 Chain Bridge Road


May 5 to Oct. 27, from 3 to 7 p.m.
In the Giant parking lot, 5870 Kingstowne Towne Center



April 22 to Dec. 16, from 8 a.m. to noon
VRE parking Lot, 5671 Roberts Parkway


April 30 to Dec. 3, from 8 a.m. to noon
Lake Anne Village Center, 1609-A Washington Plaza



May 7 to Nov. 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
VRE parking lot, 8990 Lorton Station Blvd.

Please visit the Farmers Market website for a complete list of market times and locations. If you have any questions, please contact the Community Horticulture Office at 702-642-0128.

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).

Fairfax County Park Authority Earth Day Event, April 22nd

Image: Courtesy of Fairfax County Park Authority

Saturday, April 22, 2023
10:00 AM –  4:00 PM
Sully Historic Site
3650 Historic Sully Way, Chantilly, VA 20151

Celebrate “Healthy People – Healthy Planet” with a fun day packed with entertainment, activities, food vendors, Touch-A-Truck and prizes and more! Come to Earth Day Fairfax 2023 and learn about what Fairfax County is doing to support environmental sustainability and what you can do to help!

Down load informational flyer here.

If you are an FMN volunteering at the FMN table:   Record service hours under E161: Earth Day/Arbor Day Outreach and education.


Stream Monitoring Citizen Science & Training Opportunities, April and May

Photo: by FMN J. Quinn, Pohick Creek

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

Cub Run Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: April 9, 1:00-3:30pm
Where: Cub Run Stream Valley Park, Centreville

This spot is known for the beautiful Virginia bluebells that bloom at our stream site each spring. Participants often see a lot of mayflies too! Learn more and register for this workshop and others here.

Sugarland Run Monitoring Workshop

When: Saturday, April 15, 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.

Difficult Run Monitoring Workshop

When: Thursday, May 4, 4:00-6:30pm
Where: Difficult Run Stream Valley Park, Great Falls

This long-standing stream site has changed greatly in width, depth, and streambed composition since NVSWCD first began monitoring the site. You never quite know what you’ll find! Learn more and register for this workshop and others here.

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 participants 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 Resceduled from the original workshop date in March.

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.

More Training and Stream Monitoring Opportunities

PocketMacros App – macroinvertebrate ID on Android and Apple

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.

Science Saturday: Box Turtles, May 13th

Image: Courtesy of The Clifton Institute

Saturday, May 13, 2023
1:00 – 4:00 pm
Cost: Free

Registration is REQUIRED.

The Clifton Institue
6712 Blantyre Road
Warrenton, Virginia 20187

In 2022, a research project was started to study what habitats Box Turtles use at different times of year so that participants and other landowners can know what the best time of year is to mow fields and do other land management practices that might disrupt or even kill Box Turtles. On this second installment of Science Saturdays, participants will help get the 2023 season started by looking for turtles that were radio-tagged last year and potentially finding new turtles to tag. This is a special opportunity to tag along with our staff researchers and see how field science is done.


Spring Creatures of the Night, May 19th

Image: Courtesy of The Clifton Institute

Friday, May 19, 2023
8:00 – 9:30 pm
Cost: Free

Registration is REQUIRED.

The Clifton Institue
6712 Blantyre Road
Warrenton, Virginia 20187

Join this night-time exploration of The Clifton Institute’s trails and vernal pools while you listen for frog calls, look for insects, and see what animals are swimming on the ponds.

Introduction to Insects, May 27th

Image: Courtesy of The Clifton Institute

Saturday, May 27, 2023
1:00 – 4:00 pm
Cost: $10 ($5 for Friends of the Clifton Institute)

Registration is REQUIRED.

The Clifton Institue
6712 Blantyre Road
Warrenton, Virginia 20187

Spend the afternoon with Education Associate Bridget Bradshaw learning about the bizarre and colorful world of our most diverse animal kin—the insects! The class will begin by covering basic insect biology and taxonomy at the peach house. The rest of the time will be spent catching and identifying insects from a smorgasbord of Clifton’s habitats like lush fields, leaf litter, and beaver ponds. Come ready to dig deep, get a bit dirty, and see eye to eye with the invertebrates who run the world. Please wear long pants and tall boots (like rain boots) and bring a water bottle! Nets, jars, and binoculars will be provided.


A Work Group Experience with Fairfax County Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR) Program

Photo: By Sara Tangren, Participants of March 21st work trip for the Fairfax County Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR) program

Article by FMN Susan Martel

Photo: Corydalis incisa by Gary Fleming, Virginia Department of Natural Resources(

FMN members and other volunteers took part in a work trip on March 21 as part of the Fairfax County Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR) program to search for emerging invasive plants.  This trip focused on finding incised fumewort (Corydalis incisa), a member of the poppy family.  Naturalized populations were first reported in New York in 2005 and have slowly made their way through the mid-Atlantic region.  Led by FCPA staff member Jas Darby, the team of 10 found the invader in Difficult Run Trail near Leigh Mill-Ramey Meadows Park and mapped it over an area of 10 acres.  Pink flags and ribbons were used to delineate the extent of the spread, and photos were uploaded to iNaturalist to document its presence.  Control measures will now be directed at the plants the group found.


Identifying incised fumewort is tricky when not in flower, because it can be mistaken for a native species, C. flavula, which has a similar appearance.  A careful look at the sub-leaflets is required to discern the invasive species from the native species.  The sub-leaflets of the native plant has about 5-7 teeth or lobe tips whereas the invasive plant has two or three times the number (see line drawing below).  When in bloom, the two are easily distinguished because the flowers of C. incisa are purple and those of C. flavula are yellow.  Incised fumewort reproduces by seed capsules, which open explosively to spray small black seeds up to 10 feet away.  The goal of the EDRR program is to eradicate this and other early detection species by taking rapid action to prevent their spread.  Additional work trips are planned for April 10, 11, 17, and 18 at locations to be determined.  Use this link to sign up:





Line drawing of the two types of leaves by Sara Tangren, National Capital PRISM, CC BY.

One Hundred Thousand Welcomes

Banner Photo courtesy NoVA Science Center

Adalene Spivy and Katie Jones opening presentation – photo Jerry Nissley

FMN attended a community event at the Kincora complex in Dulles on March 23rd to preview final plans for the Northern Virginia Science Center project. The event was designed to connect like minded organizations in and around NoVA that would have potential interest in the new science center. Attendees were presented with a beautifully done conceptual fly-through of the future facility. After the detailed video introduction, we were invited to the Jameson’s rooftop terrace for coffee, conversation, and unobstructed views of the very active heron rookery.

The Kincora community in Loudon County  is somewhat unique in and of itself. It is planned as an interactive, multi-use, nature-focused community that harmoniously interweaves residential dwellings with the surrounding natural environment. Within Kincora’s 424 acres is a 165 acre conservation area that encompasses a section of the Broad Run watershed. This conservation area includes green space for leisure outdoor activity, meandering trails, and the great blue heron rookery.

Understanding the heritage of the ninth century Irish palace named Kincora and the legacy of its ruler Brian Boru, lends insight into the vision for modern day Kincora. The Gaelic saying: Ceud Mìle Fàilte, means ‘One Hundred Thousand Welcomes’. Whoever you are, wherever you come from, you are welcome. Modern day Kincora has adopted this axiom as their theme for community planning. So it is written that Loudon County Kincora, “aims to create a place of unity where everyone will find their happy and peaceful spot, whether that’s running along one of the community’s many trails, sketching a landscape of Broad Run, or devouring a good book at a local café.”

Partial view of Heron Trail adjacent the rookery. – Photo Jerry Nissley

The Northern Virginia Science Center, which will be located on land donated by Kincora, is being developed through a public-private partnership including the Northern Virginia Science Center Foundation – a Northern Virginia based non-profit, the Science Museum of Virginia – an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Loudoun County. With substantial public and private financial support from partners across the region, this project fulfills the long-held vision for a world-class, interactive, indoor/outdoor science center in NoVA. It is networked with the other Virginia science centers, so resource sharing is an advantage. The Center will feature five main exhibition galleries: Flow (fluid in motion), Helios (our solar system), Human (what makes us human), Habitat (how humans are part of nature), and Wonders (family interactive science).

Those dark spots in the sycamores are Heron nests – Photo Jerry Nissley

The adjacent Great Blue Heron rookery reportedly averages 50+ nests clustered among the mottled sycamore trees along Broad Run. From the rooftop observation deck of the Jameson, herons could be seen bringing in large to medium sized sticks required to repair nests from last season or complete new construction. Adult herons would squabble and squawk over the new lumber and occasionally one heron would purloin a branch from another for its own nest. A raucous construction site indeed. Spotting scopes or 800mm camera lens were not required to watch this atavistic behavior but were indeed helpful. Herons will forever remind me of pterodactyls. No chicks were seen at this time of the year. The eponymously named Blue Heron Trail winds its way through the preserved area near the rookery.

Rooftop gathering – photo courtesy NoVA Science Center

The event was widely attended by representatives from environmental, science, and conservation groups in NoVA. There was palatable anticipation in the air as all organizations look forward to the groundbreaking. The future science center shows so much potential to inspire STEM learning and to provide high-quality interactive experiences to learners of all ages.

Kudos go out as well to the enthusiastic and engaging Science Center management team. They made for a memorable event, with “one hundred thousand welcomes” of their own.

Oh – by the way, Kincora has a secret to reveal that I can neither confirm nor deny (wink) – ha, but fortunately you may read all about.


A few attendees brought the right tools – photo Jerry Nissley

List of organizations in attendance:

  • Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship
  • Fells Financial
  • Friends of Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve
  • Fairfax County Park Authority
  • George Mason University
  • Loudoun County Parks, Recreation and Community Services
  • Loudoun County Public Library
  • Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation
  • Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy
  • Loudoun Water
  • MSI Photo
  • National Weather Service
  • Northern Virginia Bird Club
  • Northern Virginia Science Center Foundation
  • Virginia Master Naturalists – Banshee Reeks Chapter
  • Virginia Master Naturalists – Fairfax Chapter