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FMN Chapter Meeting: Native Bees, June 21

Augochloropsis metallica, a species of sweat bee; photo: USGS

Monday, June 21, 2021
7 – 9pm
Zoom

This chapter meeting will include the graduation ceremony for the Spring 2021 Basic Training Class.

Deana Crumbling will provide a presentation about native bees. Deana worked as a chemist with the U.S. EPA for 21 years and retired in 2019 to start a one-person business offering analysis of lead and arsenic in soil. She volunteered with the U.S. Geological Survey to learn how to identify native bees and watches bees in her suburban yard which has been converted to native habitat.

Please email Janet Quinn at vmnfairfax@gmail.com to receive the link.

FMN Annual Chapter Meeting includes Lanternfly Training, December 14th

Photo from nps.gov

Monday, December 14, 2020
7 – 8:30 pm
Request Zoom link by emailing vmnfairfax@gmail.com

Rachel Griesmer will talk about spotted lanternfly, an invasive planthopper new to Virginia. Rachel is an urban forester with Fairfax County Forest Pest Management Branch. She earned a Bachelor of Science in environmental biology and botany from Michigan State University and a Master of Science in forest ecology and management from Michigan Technological University. She holds certifications from the International Society of Arboriculture as a Certified Arborist as wells as a Qualified Tree Risk Assessor and has participated in suppression programs for invasive insects.

The meeting will also include the graduation of our Spring 2020 Basic Training class and an election for some key board positions.

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.

FMN Quarterly Chapter Meeting and Bluebird Box Monitoring presentation, Mar. 16th — CANCELLED!

Hidden Oaks Nature Center
7701 Royce St., Annandale VA
Monday, 16 March 2020
7:30 pm

The Fairfax Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalists will hold a short quarterly chapter meeting which will be followed by a presentation from volunteers who monitor bluebird boxes. They work on behalf of the Virginia Bluebird Society which was founded in 1996 to promote bluebirds and other native cavity nesters. Volunteers record data and ensure that boxes are clean and free of pests to promote bluebird breeding success.

The meeting is free and open to the public. Please join us to learn about this worthwhile project and how you can become a nest box volunteer.

Parking at Hidden Oaks is limited, but there is overflow parking at the Fred M. Packard Center, 4022 Hummer Rd., Annandale, VA 22003. It is just a short walk along a wooded trail to the Hidden Oaks Nature Center from the parking lot.

Master naturalists earn one hour of continuing education credit for the presentation and can record service hours under code C034: Bluebird Trails if they participate in the project.

Lead and contribute to FMN Chapter committees in 2019 and 2020

Photo: Ana Ka’Ahanui

From President Joe Gorney to Chapter Members,

As a volunteer organization, our chapter succeeds based on the collective efforts of many people participating in an array of service activities. The same is true of the management of our chapter. At the end of this year, we will have a significant number of people rotating out of Board positions. Please consider serving on the board as an officer or committee chair, or as a member of a committee.  Your perspectives and ideas are enormously valuable.  Serving in one of these positions would take only a few hours each month but would be invaluable in helping our chapter to thrive.  And all of these hours count toward your service hours! Please submit your expression of interest to Fairfax Chapter Virginia Master Naturalists. Don’t delay!

Listed below is a description of the respective officer and committee chair positions. And if you’re not ready to be an officer or committee chair but would still like to help, you can still be a part of a committee as a member.  (We would especially like to have a diversity specialist under the Outreach Chair).

Secretary (officer)

Solicits board meeting agenda items; posts meeting agendas; takes and records meeting minutes; maintains chapter bylaws and handbook. Keeps us all accountable and working together!

Treasurer (officer)

Maintains the budget and accounting records; produces a monthly financial report; pays bills; collects dues; presents the financial records for audit; coordinates with committee chairs to produce the annual budget. Allows us to spend our money wisely to accomplish our mission!

Hospitality  (committee chair)

Coordinates general member meetings and basic training graduation activities including logistics, activities, and refreshments; orders and manage sales and/or distribution of fundraising items and logo items if needed. A welcoming presence at our activities!

Outreach (committee chair)

Promotes the chapter and its mission through outreach activities; manages booth staffing for outreach events; opens the eyes of the community to our mission and our work; helps ensure a diverse membership; motivates others to become members. Keep our good works in the forefront!

Continuing Education (committee chair)

Identifies, solicits, and approves continuing education proposals based on the criteria provided by VMN; notifies members of approved opportunities; maintains a catalog/calendar of opportunities.  Help us all to stay motivated and sharp!

Membership (committee chair)

Leads a small, dedicated, and experienced team; responsible for maintaining FMN and VMN membership directories; tracks and issues service awards and certifications; serves as member of Student Selection Committee.  Help welcome new members and foster camaraderie among current members!

Service (committee chair)

Approves service project proposals using established criteria; notifies members of opportunities; maintains a diverse catalog of opportunities. Help us all to serve our community!

Communications (committee chair)

Maintains the chapter public website, newsletters, social media, and chapter email account. Leads three or four strategically-minded people who communicate effectively and enjoy keeping all of us in the know. Earn hours from the comfort of your home while connecting us all to the chapter!

Hike organizer/leader wanted for FMN Chapter CE events

The Continuing Education (CE) Hike Coordinator is responsible for scheduling about 4- 6 hikes per year depending on interests of the members.  The coordinator can conduct surveys once or twice a year to help determine the CE needs. The coordinator determines the hike topic, finds the leaders and schedules the hike, and then advertises the hikes to the members via the newsletter.  In the past we have used Sign Up Genius to track sign ups.  There is an excel worksheet that lists hike leaders with contact information.  We are open to finding new leaders!  The coordinator also either attends the hike or asks one of the attendees of the hike to act as the sweep and carry a first aid kit.  Contact the chapter at vmnfairfax@gmail.com if you are interested.

2018 in review for Fairfax Master Naturalists

Our year in numbers, courtesy of Michelle Prysby, Director, Virginia Master Naturalist Program

Heres’s the flyer

2018 infographic of FMN accomplishments

Use our Member Directory to keep in touch

Marilyn Schroeder

Want to contact an FMN colleague (if you are a member)? Get the FMN Member Newsletter at your new email address? Find out if you’re certified now or re-certified for 2020?

The Member Directory is the place to go! 

  • For contact information, click on the Member Directory on FMN Members page of the members-0nly SharePoint. You’ll see a list of active members.  To look by Training Class, click on Members by Training class.
  • Notify FMN of changes to your email, address, or phone number by editing your entry. Click on your last name.  Choose Edit item.  Make the changes and click Save.
  • Your certification information is also included in your entry. Click on your last name. 

The Membership Committee meets periodically to review hours and update certification information. If you have questions about the data, contact Membership Chair Shawn Dilles, sjdilles@gmail.com.

Hear bird calls at FMN Quarterly Meeting, Mar. 18

Photo by Barbara J. Saffir (c)

Hidden Oaks Nature Center
7701 Royce St., Annandale VA
Monday, 18 March 2019
7:30 – 9 pm

Public welcome!  The Fairfax Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists will have a brief chapter meeting, enjoy some food and drink, give out door prizes, and enjoy a presentation on Beginning Birding by Ear by Colt Gregory. Colt Gregory has been pursuing birds since the 1970’s when he first saw an Oystercatcher through a scope at Assateague.
He started closely listening for birds when small children limited his outings to neighborhood walks.  He expanded his knowledge by listening to the Allen Kellogg LPs – (founder of Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology) and moved on to CDs and MP3s! (Got to keep up with the technology.) Colt is an active member of Arlington Regional Master Naturalist, Northern Virginia Audubon Society, Northern Virginia Bird Club and volunteer for the National Park Service.  He participated in the two year birding census for National Park Service at Wolf Trap, leads a section on the Christmas Bird Count and co-leads the weekly Sunday bird walk at Great Falls National Park with Fairfax Master Naturalist Kristine Lansing.

Master naturalists can earn one hour of continuing education credit.

 

Look what you’ve done!

by Michael Reinemer

As I sign off as president, passing the baton to Joe Gorney, I want to thank each Virginia Master Naturalist in the chapter for what you do. The numbers of volunteer hours are astounding.

It’s hard to overstate how desperately your hours and your expertise are needed. Fairfax County and the whole region suffer from habitat loss, climate change, pollution, fragmentation, overuse – among many other assaults.

Meanwhile, we humans are increasingly disconnected from nature, suffering from the “landscape amnesia” Pete Mecca describes to FMN classes. Or shifting baseline syndrome: It’s impossible to notice the many gradual declines in the natural world – unless you understand the natural world, and you care about it and you actively monitor it. Which is one of the things you do as master naturalists. The statewide mason bee monitoring project is a great example.

You may have read “The Insect Apocalypse Is Here,” the cover story by Brooke Jarvis in the New York Times Magazine, Nov. 27, 2018.  The now global, scientific alarm about loss of insect diversity and abundance was triggered in part by small bug club in Germany. That club of 63 amateur naturalists, which included a few with science backgrounds, documented an astounding 80 percent drop in insect numbers in their research plot over a 30-year period. They had been consistently monitoring and recording changes in insect numbers or biomass in addition to species.

What’s the big deal? As E.O. Wilson put it, “If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.”  While the “10,000 years” part is probably optimistic, the role of decomposers, pollinators, and other insects is indisputable.

In her NYT piece, Jarvis talks about the long amateur naturalist tradition in Europe and how that has figured into faster, more aggressive response to the insect apocalypse there, compared to the U.S. 

So as part of the growing master naturalist movement in the U.S., you are a vital resource in this era of shrinking budgets for conservation and a time of overt hostility toward science in some quarters of the federal government. Your work as monitors, mentors, and stewards is invaluable.

While all the 2018 numbers aren’t in yet, look what you’ve done:

680 hours staffing information desks at nature centers

445 hours working on nature programs for the county

435 hours removing invasive plants

375 hours as Audubon at Home ambassadors, assessing wildlife habitat

360 hours for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology feederwatch program

350 hours managing habitat and land for Fairfax County Park Authority

343 hours for school programs for Fairfax County Park Authority

330 hours for citizen science programs for the park authority

267 hours monitoring trails for Virginia Bluebird Society

260 hours working with the Plant NoVA Natives campaign

That’s just a small snapshot of your amazing numbers and work. Congratulations, and thank you. 

And a hearty thanks to the many volunteer leaders who serve as officers, committee chairs, and committee members who manage the training and all the mechanics that make the Fairfax Master Naturalists the force for nature that it is.