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Survey: Meadowood Butterfly and Dragonfly Survey, October 20th

Photo by Plant NOVA Natives, Mourning Cloak Butterfly

  

Meadowood Recreation Area
10406 Gunston Road
Lorton, VA, 22079 United States (map)

Butterfly and dragonfly surveys are carried out in temperate months (April-October), normally on Friday mornings, at one of four sites around Occoquan Bay, all within the 15-mile diameter circle established for the annual North American Butterfly Association’s Annual Count.

The results of these surveys are made available to the participants and other interested individuals and agencies, including the Fairfax County Park Authority, the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, and agencies of the U.S. Interior Department. The results of the butterfly-dragonfly surveys are summarized, along with the results of the general surveys, in an annual report.

Participation is limited. Email us to make a reservation here.

Welcome Fairfax Tree Stewards

Cover photo: Public Domain

In January 2023, the FMN board approved a chapter partnership with Fairfax Tree Stewards (FTS). FTS is an educational, non-profit, volunteer organization providing specialized training and certification focusing on trees. It is a program under the auspices of Trees Virginia, registered with the state as Virginia Urban Forest Council and is a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance the quality of life through the Stewardship of our Commonwealth’s urban and community trees. Founded in September 1990 and incorporated in June 1991, the organization works to promote an awareness of our community forests and the value of trees. Approved chapters, such as FTS, use the newly updated Manual to form the basis of training classes, and FTS will supplement book learning with hands on field classes on tree selection, tree planting, tree pruning and tree ID by season.
The first FTS certification class, scheduled for February 2023, is full and includes a few FMNs. FTS is an approved CE organization and service codes for collaborative projects have been created in BI for use by FMN volunteers as projects develop.

Habitat creation and restoration – E405: Educational Projects Fairfax Tree Stewards – – FTS
Educational project code for Fairfax Tree Stewards (FTS).
Educational Projects could be advising a homeowner or association on proper tree selection and planting, education about maintenance, developing resource lists, or FTS tabling events at selected locations in Fairfax County.
When recording these hours in BI, ‘FTS’ should be entered as the Project Organization.

Habitat creation and restoration – S405: Stewardship Projects Fairfax Tree Stewards – – Department of Forestry (VDoF)
Stewardship project code for Fairfax Tree Stewards (FTS).
Stewardship Projects could be helping a homeowner or association with proper physical design, planting, tree pruning, or maintenance, at selected locations in Fairfax County.
When recording these hours in BI, ‘Department of Forestry (VDoF)’ should be entered as the Project Organization.

To participate in FTS projects, one must be a certified Fairfax Tree Steward along with being an FMN member.

Please see FTS website for more information.

FMN and FTS contact is Jeanne Kadet: [email protected]

Keep Our Wooded Areas Beautiful

Article and photo by Plant NOVA Natives/Plant NOVA Trees

If your community owns some wooded common land, or if you yourself own a wooded property, you may have noticed that the woods around here have been slowly changing, and not for the better. They may still look green, but the devil is in the details: much of that “green” is now made up of invasive non-native plants that damage the ecosystem and bring down the trees.

Natural wooded areas are a beautiful and invaluable resource for any landowner or community. Unlike most material assets, they appreciate over time. They capture stormwater and keep our basements from flooding. They provide soundproofing and a visual barrier between properties as well as a place for us to walk and enjoy nature. They block the wind and lower heating costs in the winter. And of course, they are the home to birds and other wondrous beings, who will need our help if their homes are not to completely disappear.

In the past, the woods managed themselves nicely. In present-day Northern Virginia, at least some care is needed to keep the woods from degrading, turning an asset into an increasingly expensive problem. It is wise to make a forest management plan that looks ahead for twenty or twenty-five years. You can do this on your own, or you can call in a consultant to help you evaluate the situation and map out solutions to any problems. Professional assistance is available, as are volunteers from various programs including Tree Stewards, Master Naturalists, and Audubon-at-Home ambassadors.

The two biggest threats to our woods are invasive non-native plants and browsing by deer. In many places, the deer have taken away everything except the mature trees and the invasive plants, not even leaving the seedlings that should be there to become the next generation of trees. Removing the invasives and protecting native plants from deer are the highest priority in most areas.

Some of our attempts to “improve” the woods may have the opposite effect. Woods do not need to be cleaned! The dead leaves and fallen trees are essential components of a healthy ecosystem. (Dumping extra leaves from your lawn damages that ecosystem, though.) Standing dead trees provide perches for birds of prey, nesting sites for songbirds, shelters for mammals, and food for thousands of species of insects. They are also becoming increasingly rare in our human-managed environment. Try to leave them standing, or if they pose a hazard, just cut off the top and leave as much as you can standing.

For information about how to manage your woods, and how to help your community develop a long-term plan, see the Plant NOVA Trees website.

Bald Eagles: A Conservation Success Story, a March 2 Talk

Photo (c) Barbara Saffir

Wednesday, March 2, 2022
7 pm
Online
Register here to receive Zoom link.

Bald and Golden Eagles will be the focus of this presentation by Jeff Cooper, a Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) wildlife biologist. Cooper will explore eagle biology, recent research, the Bald Eagle’s recovery and the importance of the Chesapeake Bay region to Bald Eagles.

For over 30 years, Cooper has worked with many bird species, such as raptors, vultures, passerines and marsh birds. He has done extensive work in Virginia on Bald and Golden Eagles, including the delisting of the Bald Eagle from the federal threatened and endangered species list. He has investigated winter ranging behavior of Golden Eagles and worked to minimize wind energy risks, among many other projects.

The sponsors of this program are the Friends of Dyke Marsh, the Friends of Huntley Meadows Park, the Friends of Mason Neck Park, the Northern Virginia Bird Club and the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia.

Urban Bats: Studying and Protecting our Wildlife Neighbors, October 26th

Photo by Rick Reynolds on www.dwr.virginia.gov

Tuesday, October 26, 2021
7 pm
Zoom
Register here.

When you think of urban wildlife, critters like rats, pigeons, and raccoons may come to mind – but what about bats? Bats have a scary reputation, but play an important role in ecosystems and face serious conservation threats. Dr. Ela-Sita Carpenter will discuss her study of bats in Baltimore, as well as ways we can all support these special creatures in our neighborhoods. Presented by Audubon Naturalist Society.

VASWCD Photo Contest, deadline July 30th

Photo by Landon Martin on Unsplash

The Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District is committed to conservation of natural resources through stewardship and education programs and they want to see it through your eyes. The theme this year is “Conservation through the Local Lens.” Capture those vibrant moments and express what conservation looks like through your lens! The contest is open from February 1 – July 30, 2021. To learn more about the contest, please click here to download Rules & Judging. You can submit up to 10 photos. Click here to submit your photos.

All photographs must be taken within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Photographs taken outside the state of Virginia will be disqualified.

View the 2020 winners here.

National Council for Science & the Environment and Project Drawdown 2021 Virtual Conference, Jan 5-9

Science & Solutions for a Planet under Pressure

Co-hosted by the National Council for Science & the Environment (NCSE) and Project Drawdown

January 5-9, 2021

The NCSE Drawdown 2021 Conference is bringing together leaders, research partners, scientists, decision-makers and friends from across the globe to share their science and solutions to the world’s most pressing global challenges. This joint conference will:

  • focus on the physical and social realities of climate change and the way this impacts people, ecosystems, markets and the places people live; and 
  • how implementing climate solutions produces positive co-benefits to society, the economy, and the planet.

Read more about the themes, schedule, and speakers, and register (the last two days are free!)

For Fairfax Master Naturalists: This opportunity is posted to the Continuing Education Calendar.

Creative Counsel from Students in the Time of COVID-19

Naturalists are at home this summer, and so are many of our teens and grand-teens who may have lost their planned summer activities. The FMN chapter invites them to share their practical and scientific wisdom with our readers. Options include:

  • Writing up or posting a video about the results of science fair projects that touch on the natural world, as Curated Resources.
  • Documenting their experiences with iNaturalist or eBird or another app, either in writing or as a video
  • Reviewing a film or show of interest to naturalists. Yup, in writing or as a video.
  • Producing a short series of related posts or videos

Whatever they choose to do will add their perspectives and learnings to our public presence, and we’ll have the honor of offering engaged, enterprising students a platform to speak with the world. 

Please direct the students in your life to [email protected], and we’ll work together for the good of all parties. All contributors under the age of 18 must have the express written permission of their parents or guardians to post to our site.

See also: Are You Really Sure You Want to Water Your Plants From the Tap?, by Anna Gershenson, Fairfax High School

Upcoming Webinar: Social Marketing as a Behavior-Centered Design Tool

On June 10, Dulce Espelosin, Senior Trainer at Rare’s Center for Behavior and the Environment, will lead two webinars hosted by the International Social Marketing Association. Tune in as she shares the unique opportunities and challenges of supporting community-led, behavior change campaigns.

Working in remote places presents many challenges when it comes to nature conservation, beginning with communicating with its inhabitants. The most effective tool has been behavior change design embedded within a social marketing strategy. In this webinar, Ms. Espelosin will share the strategies she used with a community in Mozambique to make a sustainable change.

Fairfax County hosts a diverse community of people who will respond differently to the messages they hear. Tune in to discover how you might change your approach and increase the likelihood that you will succeed.

Webinar 1: 12:00pm-1:00pm Register

Webinar 2: 8:00pm-9:00pm Register

For FMN members: This learning opportunity is on the CE calendar.

Interview with Dr. David Wilcove, Author of No Way Home: The Decline of the World’s Great Animal Migrations

Alison Zak, the very talented education associate supporting The Clifton Institute in Warrenton, interviews Dr. David Wilcove, professor at Princeton University and author of No Way Home: The Decline of the World’s Great Animal Migrations.

Is there hope? Dr. Wilcove says, yes, and urges us to persevere. This is a stimulating, positive, worthwhile use of 24 minutes.

Access the video here.