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Shoreline Cleanup, Mason Neck State Park, September 25th

Photo: Jerry Nissley

Mason Neck State Park
7301 High Point Rd., Lorton, VA 22079
(Meet at the Visitor’s Center)
Saturday, September 25, 2021
9 am

Can you help keep Mason Neck State Park looking good? The Potomac and Occoquan Rivers bring trash of all kinds to the shores of the Park. The Friends of Mason Neck State Park will lead a cleanup of the shoreline on National Public Lands Day (Saturday, September 25). They’ll have gloves, trash bags and a few “grabbers” to help you pick up the smaller stuff. Please bring waterproof shoes or boots. The tide will be high that morning, and you are almost certain to get wet.

For those who are experienced paddlers, they’ll have canoes, paddles and life vests available so you can collect trash that is not acessible from the shore. Thanks to the generosity of Prince William Marina, we’ll have snacks available to keep your energy levels high while you clean up the park.

Friends of Mason Neck Virtual Eagle Festival, May 8th

Photo (c) by Barbara J. Saffir

Saturday, May 8, 2021
2 pm
Register here.

The Friends of Mason Neck State Park will host a virtual program featuring Buddy the Bald Eagle in lieu of the Park’s annual Eagle Festival. Buddy has appeared at several previous Eagle Festivals. This year, Lauren Edzenga, the Outreach Educator for the Wildlife Center of Virginia, will join us in a Zoom program during which she will show Buddy live and on-camera while she discusses the lives of Bald Eagles.

The Friends of Mason Neck State Park are presenting this program without charge, thanks to the generosity of our donors and members.

Friends of Mason Neck Swanfall: All About Foxes, December 6th

Photo from Friends of Mason Neck State Park

Sunday, December 6, 2020
2 pm
Webinar
$5 per family
Register here.

Swanfall, the Friends of Mason Neck State Park‘s annual holiday celebration that traditionally is held at the Jammes House in the Park, will be held online. Erin Thady, a Wildlife Biologist with Fairfax County, will entertain and inform with a presentation about the secretive lives of foxes.

Northern Virginia is home to a diverse assemblage of mammals that cohabit our suburban communities. Foxes are among the mammals that have adapted to an increasingly urbanized landscape and have learned how to successfully coexist alongside humans. Although foxes can be elusive, they are often commonly observed throughout our communities.

Erin will discuss the natural histories of red foxes and gray foxes and their unique adaptations for survival in a dynamic landscape. She will also discuss fox characteristics and identification tips, diet and habitat preferences, population dynamics, and ways that humans successfully coexist with foxes.

Friends of Mason Neck State Park Owl Moon Program, Zoom session October 17th

Saturday, October 17, 2020
7 pm
FREE
Register here

It’s nearly time for the Friends of Mason Neck State Park’s annual presentation of OWL MOON! This year, they will be bringing the event to you right in your own home using Zoom.

You will meet and learn about all the owls from raptor rehabilitator Secret Garden Birds and Bees, their favorite presenter. A special treat will be the introduction of Phantom – a beautiful barn owl. Find out what makes him unique as you also explore the life of a barred owl, great horned owl, and screech owl.

You will be able to ask questions about all the raptors in the program.
Get the whole family together. This event is appropriate for all ages and is open to the public. Registration is only $10 per person or family, which will help to offset the cost of the program. Don’t miss it!

After you register, they’ll provide you the instructions you’ll need to join the program.

“Audubon at Home” program presentation, Mar. 21st

Jammes House
Mason Neck State Park
Saturday, March 21, 2020
2 pm

The Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and Plant Nova Natives will present “Creating a Wildlife Sanctuary on Your Property: The Audubon at Home Program” at 2 PM on March 21. The program will explain the importance of native plants to restoring and maintaining a balanced ecosystem and give guidance on how to do it.

The program is free and is open to everyone. The Friends of Mason Neck State Park, which is hosting the program, will provide light refreshments. Registration for the program will open on February 15. Space will be limited, so be sure to register as soon as you can.

See Tundra Swans, Jan. 1st

Mason Neck State Park
7301 High Point Rd., Lorton, VA 22079
Great Marsh Trail Parking Lot
Wednesday, 1 January 2020
12:15 pm

Have you ever seen Tundra Swans, those amazing birds that migrate thousands of miles from the Arctic to spend the winter in our region? Their haunting calls are nearly impossible to forget!
You’ve got a great opportunity to see the Tundra Swans when the Friends of Mason Neck State Park will lead a guided walk to see them. They’ll start from the Great Marsh Trail parking lot, on the left side of High Point Road a short distance BEFORE you get to the Park’s Contact Station. They’ll walk about a mile over fairly level ground to the viewing area. You’ll likely hear the birds before you see them. They’ll have binoculars and telescopes so you can view the swans and other water birds and they’ll also help you identify them.
There’s no charge for this event, which is open to everyone. Come out and enjoy the first day of 2020 with the Friends! The trails can be a little muddy, so be sure to wear good shoes or boots.
Mason Neck State Park is also offering guided First Day Hikes in the park on January 1. You can see their schedule of hikes at Mason Neck State Park First Day Hikes.

Have you ever seen a dragon fly? Learn more Dec. 8th

Jammes House
Mason Neck State Park
Sunday, 8 December 2019
2 pm

Join the Friends of Mason Neck State Park for their annual holiday event and listen to a fascinating program presented by naturalist and author Bob Blakney. Bob is author of the field guide “Northern Virginia Dragonflies and Damselflies.” He has participated in regular surveys of the Mason Neck area for the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia for more than 12 years. Bob will present photographs he has taken of dragonflies and damselflies in the region and talk about these fascinating creatures that inhabit our local ponds and streams.

Did you know that:
Dragonflies have been around for about 300 million years.
Fossil dragonflies have been found with two-foot wingspans.
Dragonflies can fly straight up and down, backwards and hover like a helicopter.
Dragonflies are among the most efficient predators on Earth.

The Holiday Party is open to members of the Friends of Mason Neck State Park. Each member may register one guest. The program fee is $15 per person, which includes admission to the park.
You can register at Holiday Event Registration.
Not a member? Has your membership expired? You can join or renew your membership for as little as $20 per year for up to two people at Join the Friends of Mason Neck State Park.
Be sure to register soon. Space is limited and this event always sells out!

Raptor Education and Photo Encounter, Oct. 19th

Mason Neck State Park Picnic Area

Red-tailed hawk

7301 High Point Rd, Lorton, VA 22079

Saturday, 19 October 2019
Two sessions: 10am or 1pm
$65 for either of the two 90-minute sessions

Would you like the opportunity to photograph magnificent raptors from just 10 feet away? Imagine being close to owls and hawks with your camera in a natural outdoor setting.

The Friends of Mason Neck State Park and Secret Garden Birds and Bees are offering a unique opportunity to get up close to some beautiful birds. Participants will be able to photograph raptors up close. At least four raptors, including a Red-shouldered Hawk, a Red-Tailed Hawk, an Eastern Screech Owl and a Barred Owl, will pose for you on a natural looking perch. You’ll hear from Secret Garden Birds and Bees staff about each one of them, making this a learning experience as well.

This is a fundraising event that will help the Friends continue to present programs and work on projects in support of the Park. $40 of each registration fee is tax deductible to the extent permissible by law.

Space is limited to 20 participants per session, so don’t wait to register! Register at  Raptor Photo Session.

Friends of Mason Neck Owl Moon Meeting, Sep. 14th

Mason Neck State Park Visitor Center
7301 High Point Rd, Lorton, VA 22079
Saturday, 14 September 2019
7 – 9 pm

Imagine sitting outside in the Park as the evening skies grow dim.  The sounds of the night erupt as the park’s wildlife begins its nocturnal prowl.  You might hear the call of a coyote or the hoot of a majestic owl as it flies to defend its territory.

Join Friends of Mason Neck State Park under the tent for a very special program – “A Year in the Life of an Owl”.  Featuring a Barred Owl, a Great Horned Owl, and an Eastern Screech Owl, and presented by the raptor rehabilitators and educators of Secret Garden Birds and Bees, this is a ‘must see’ presentation.

What makes this so special?  In addition to being interesting and educational, you will have the rare opportunity to view and these magnificent raptors up close as the rehabilitator walks through the tent and literally brings the birds to you!

Learn what great horned owls, barred owls, barn owls, and eastern screech owls are doing from January through December. Follow them through courtship, nesting, raising young, fledging and finally dispersal of the young to their own territories.

This event is open to the general public.  Registration is only $10 per person, which will help to offset the cost of the program.  Entrance to the park is free (no parking fee) after 6:30 pm.  You can register at Owl Moon Registration.

Volunteers Needed to Help with the May 11 Eagle Festival!

The Mason Neck State Park Eagle Festival on Saturday, May 11 is the Park’s biggest event of the year. More than 20 environmentally-oriented organizations will showcase interactive exhibits. We’ll have a full day of programs, including shows on reptiles and raptors, live music, pony rides, a tent for children’s activities and more. Last year more than 4000 people attended this great event. The Friends of Mason Neck State Park covers all the expenses for the Festival, as well as providing the volunteers that help to make the event go smoothly. Would you like to help us out? Send an email to Volunteer for Eagle Festival and we’ll find you a job that you’ll enjoy.