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Mindful Naturalists: Birding Like Buddha

February 22, 2020 04:00 pm – 05:30 pm

Location: The Clifton Institute, 6712 Blantyre Road, Warrenton, Virginia

In February, join The Clifton Institute for an evening of ‘birding like Buddha.’ For this particular bird walk, we will prioritize the experiences we have watching individual birds and our connection to them instead of trying to identify species or maximize the number of birds we encounter. We will sit often and watch quietly as the waterfowl on our ponds live out their unique and fascinating lives. What new things can we learn about birds from watching them in this way?

Please dress for the weather. No birding experience required! Please feel free to bring: a comfy portable chair (though we may spend some time in the blind), a travel mug for a hot beverage, and/or binoculars! Click here to register.

Mindful Naturalists is a free program series created to inspire mindful observation and nature appreciation. Each month we will explore a different topic and experiment with a different practice for mindfully experiencing the natural world while enjoying hot tea and a peaceful evening at our beautiful field station.

Book Club: Braiding Sweetgrass

The Clifton Institute, 6712 Blantyre Rd., Marshall, VA, 20115

Thursday, January 30, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

For their second book club, Clifton Institute is switching from birds to plants and reading Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. You’ll gather around the fire with warm drinks in hand and discuss the book with fellow nature lovers.

Get excited to learn about other ways of experiencing and understanding nature than the scientific perspective we’ve been trained in. The book is available at the Open Book in Old Town in Warrenton… Didn’t finish the book? Come anyway!

Register

The Secret of Species

The Clifton Institute, 6712 Blantyre Road, Warrenton, VA, 20187

Thursday, Jan 16, 2020

7:00pm – 8:00pm

When we hear about scientific discoveries, conservation breakthroughs, or just what’s been seen in the area recently, the stories are usually about species. “New species discovered!” “Endangered species need our help!” “I saw 20 species last weekend!” We hear and talk about species all the time, but we don’t usually stop to think about what a species is. In this presentation, Managing Director Eleanor Harris, Ph.D., will discuss what it means to be a species, why they’re so important, and how they have evolved. Throughout the talk she will focus on local examples, for example, why we distinguish Alder and Willow Flycatchers, but not red-spotted purples and white admirals.

This event is open to the public and free to attend. Please register.

Restoration of an Extinct Ecosystem: Lessons Learned with Dr. Douglas Gill

The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road
Warrenton, VA, 20187
Friday, December 6
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

For 20 years, the Native Grassland Restoration project on the eastern shore of Maryland has studied the processes of restoring native Mid-Atlantic warm-season grasslands. Come hear Dr. Gill share an overview of his involvement with the project and practical advice from years of experience with grassland restoration. The talk will be valuable to anyone with similar goals on their own land, no matter how small-scale!

Douglas E. Gill, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biology at University of Maryland, College Park where he has worked since 1971. In 2010, Dr. Gill was named Conservationist of the Year by the Maryland Ornithological Society. $10 per person.

 

Christmas Bird Count at Clifton Institute, Dec 15

The Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road
Warrenton, VA, 20187
Sunday, December 15, meet at 8:00 AM

Join The Clifton Institute for their annual Christmas Bird Count! Spend the day surveying the birds in a 15-mile-diameter count circle. This is a great way to meet other birders in the area and to see what birds have migrated here for the winter. The count circle includes a nice variety of habitats and we see a diversity of waterfowl and grassland birds. There’s always a chance for Short-eared Owl and American Tree Sparrow! 

Please contact Alison at azak@cliftoninstitute.org if you are interested in participating. She will assign you to a team and each team will decide when and where to meet for the day. We’ll wrap up the count with a compilation potluck dinner at 5:30 at our headquarters. We hope to see you there!

All skill levels welcome. Dress in layers for chilly, wet weather. Rain or shine! 

Photo by Cameron Darnell.

Mindful Naturalists: Trees Are Our Teachers

The Clifton Institute, 6712 Blantyre Road
Warrenton, VA, 20187
Saturday, Nov 16, 2019
3:00pm – 4:30pm

Mindful Naturalists is a free program series created to inspire mindful observation and nature appreciation. Each month we will explore a different topic and experiment with different practices for mindfully experiencing the natural world while enjoying a peaceful afternoon at our beautiful field station.

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth.” –Herman Hesse

In November we will let trees be our teachers. How often do we allow ourselves to get to know an individual tree? What might we learn from trees if we explored them in a more mindful way? This month we will experiment with knowing trees in ways that connect us to individuals, ecosystems, and all of nature. We will begin with a short meditation, explore the forests around the farmhouse, spend some solitary time with a tree, and finally reflect on what we learn as a group.

Please dress for the weather. All materials provided. No mindfulness experience required. All are welcome!

Free, but please register

 

Upcoming programs at the gorgeous Clifton Institute

Six exciting programs are coming up at The Clifton Institute:

Creatures of the Night

Walk with A Naturalist

Bugscaping: Regenerative Landscaping for the 21st Century

Colors of Clifton: Preserving the Palette of Autumn

Mindful Naturalists: Nature Yoga

Nature Journaling with Joyce Andrew

 

Some are free, some have a small fee, all require registration.

Beetles of Virginia, with Dr. Art Evans, June 15

Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road
Warrenton, Virginia 20187-7106

Saturday, June 15
7:30PM – 9:30PM

Join the Institute for a program about beetles presented by entomologist and author Dr. Art Evans. After his presentation, Dr. Evans will take everyone outside  to set up several black light sheets to attract nocturnal beetles and other insects. Dr. Evans is the author of Beetles of Eastern North America. He is an adjunct professor and teaches entomology and medical entomology at the University of Richmond, Randolph-Macon College, and Virginia Commonwealth University. $10 a person.

Learn more

Natural history and conservation of Virginia moths, with Dr. Steve Roble, June 29

Clifton Institute
6712 Blantyre Road
Warrenton, Virginia 20187-7106

Saturday, June 29
8:00PM – 10:30PM

Dr. Steve Roble will give a presentation on the natural history about moths and a summary of his agency’s efforts during the past 30 years to study the moths of Virginia. Then we will go outside and use ultraviolet lights to attract moths and other nocturnal insects and discuss some of our finds.

Dr. Steve Roble is the head Zoologist for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Division of Natural Heritage. He is the editor of Banisteria, the semiannual journal of the Virginia Natural History Society, and a research associate at the Virginia Museum of Natural History. $10 a person.

Learn more

Help with restoration planting at Clifton Institute, May 15-17

The lower dam at the Clifton Institute was scraped of most of its vegetation last year during a construction project. Before construction, the dam was covered in a diverse community of wildflowers and native grasses and it was a magnet for wildlife. They have received a Plant Grant from the Earth Sangha nursery that will provide $600 worth of free wetland plants so that they can restore the dam. They need help from the amazing community of generous volunteers to install the plants.

Clifton Institute will be planting at the following times:

Wednesday 15 May
9 AM-12:30 PM

Thursday 16 May
3-5:30 PM

Friday 17 May
2-5 PM

Unfortunately, they can’t schedule any weekend volunteer days during this busy time of year. But this project is simpler than last year’s riparian buffer planting and the should be able to get it done in three sessions.

Please let Bert Harris know via email if you’d like to help: bharris@cliftoninstitute.org.

Please bring gloves, a shovel or a trowel, sun protection, rubber boots, and water. And so that you can plan accordingly, it will probably be easiest to plant the seedlings while standing in the pond.