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Creating a Wildlife Sanctuary on Your Property: The Audubon at Home Program, webinar 27 August

Webinar
Thursday, 27 August 2020
7 – 8:30 pm
$5
Register here

What can you do on your own property to attract and support wildlife? To learn how, join online for “Creating a Wildlife Sanctuary on Your Property: The Audubon at Home Program.” Originally scheduled as a live event last March, the program had to be canceled due to the pandemic. Now you’ll be able to attend from the comfort of your home.

Betsy Martin will talk about the Audubon at Home program, Wildlife Sanctuary certification and Habitat Best Practices. Betsy is a member of the ASNV Board of Directors and a Co-Coordinator of ASNV’s Audubon at Home program. She is a Virginia Master Naturalist, a founder and President of the Friends of Little Hunting Creek and the Mount Vernon representative to Fairfax County’s Chesapeake Bay Exception Review Committee, which she also chairs.

Laura Beaty will relate how she transformed her yard into a wildlife habitat with a slide program entitled: “Your Landscape as Habitat.” She will show how to support nature’s relationships in your wildlife habitat, and why it’s important to view your habitat from two perspectives: the eyes of turf-grass traditionalists and native pollinators. She’ll show you the truth behind the phrases, “The greater the plant diversity, the greater the wildlife” and “Plant it and they will come.” Laura Beaty is Horticulture Chair of the Virginia Native Plant Society and Propagation/Plant Sales Chair of the Potowmack Chapter of VNPS. She also represents her Fairfax County district on the Fairfax Tree Commission.

This program is co-sponsored by the Friends of Mason Neck State Park and Audubon Society of Northern Virginia. They’re charging a nominal fee of $5.00 per registration to help defray the costs.

Sustainable Garden Tour Coming in June

Virtual experiences from each of this year’s incredible garden tour sites are available on the NVSWCD website.

The 2020 Sustainable Garden Tour will be held VIRTUALLY this year throughout the month of June.

For this year’s Sustainable Garden Tour, Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD) is partnering with the Fairfax Food Council Urban Agriculture Workgroup to highlight front-yard gardens and edible landscapes. You’ll also see garden tour favorites like rain gardens, native plant landscaping, rain barrels, backyard wildlife habitat, composting and more. Local residents open their gardens and share their experiences landscaping with natural resources in mind. Hidden treasures and verdant landscapes await you!

Virtual experiences from each of this year’s incredible garden tour sites will be added throughout the month of June. Check the website for more information and a tentative schedule, or follow NVSWCD on Facebook to see garden tour materials as they are released.

View Resources for Sustainable Gardeners.

For more information or to nominate a future site, please email NVSWCD or call 703-324-1423, TTY 711.

Sustainable Landscaping Solutions for Faith Communities, June 14

When: June 14, 2:00-4:30 pm

Where: Either via videoconference or St. Peter’s in the Woods, Fairfax Station, VA

Join Plant NoVa Natives as they discuss how and why faith communities are using their places of worship to demonstrate stewardship of the Earth. Learn more.

Create Helpful Habitat with Native Planting, Virtual Learning

Looking for a reason to get out into nature?  How about making your property more wildlife-friendly by adding plants native to Virginia?  Find out why this is important during this webinar hosted by Audubon Society of Northern Virginia’s Audubon at Home program. The webinar was recorded on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, 2020, and is also is in celebration of our partnership with Green Muslims during National Arab-American Heritage Month.

Watch the webinar! Master naturalists earn one hour of continuing education credit.

Bluebells at the Bend Festival, April 11th–CANCELED!

Riverbend Park
8700 Potomac Hills St., Great Falls VA
Saturday, 11 April 2020
10am – 3pm

Celebrate the Virginia Bluebells that carpet the early spring forest at Riverbend Park!

Pre-sale tickets are $7 online until April 10th, regular tickets are $9 at the gate.

Enjoy
• Wildflower Walks
• Live Music
• Face Painting
• Live Animals
• Moon bounce
• Obstacle Course
• Wagon Rides
• Puppet Show
• Eagle Scope
• Crafts, games, and more!

Bonus: Friends of Riverbend Park will be selling bluebells from a native plant nursery. Pots will be $10/plant. Proceeds benefit FORB and help us assist Riverbend Park.

Event is rain or shine. For questions call 703-759-9018.

Gardening for Earth Renewal

Article by Plant NOVA Natives staff

How does your garden renew the earth? Vegetable gardens, flower gardens, conventional landscaping and even container gardens can all contribute to a connected landscape that supports our local birds and butterflies. By restoring native plants and avoiding chemicals, together we can heal the damaged landscape we have created with our buildings, sterile lawn, and green-but ecologically-useless plants from other continents.

The wildlife of the East Coast evolved in concert with the complex mixture of trees and understory plants that covered most of the land in the past, plus smaller areas of meadows and wetlands. Turtles, birds, frogs and fireflies all suffer when those hundreds of species of plants are replaced by a monoculture of lawn and a few specimen shrubs. And biodiversity all but disappears when those few plants consist of species that were introduced from elsewhere, as is the case with turf grass (which is from Europe), Japanese Barberry, English Ivy, and many other commonly sold plants, some of which have become invasive and taken over our remaining natural areas.

The antidote is clear: plant more plants, and make sure they are native species! The first step is to look at any nearby natural area and figure out how your property might expand its habitat value and reduce the fragmentation that interferes with the movement of animals. Are you near woods? How about adding more trees and shade-loving shrubs and ground cover? After all, they say that shade gardens are the gardens of the future, because it will be too hot to want to spend much time in the sun! Or perhaps your yard receives your neighbor’s runoff which can be turned into an asset by deep-rooted plants that soak up the excess water and recreate a butterfly-filled meadow. Or perhaps you are lucky enough to have a lawn in full sun that could be used for a raised vegetable bed. Those vegetables are unlikely to be native plants, but the bed will absorb runoff much better than lawn, and you can improve your crop yields by adding a nearby sunny flower garden that draws in the pollinators.

It doesn’t matter whether you want to change or to keep the general appearance of your property – if you prefer, you can achieve the same general look by simply substituting native plants for introduced ones. What we should change is our understanding of how our land functions. You need not settle for a yard that is an empty hole in the map that excludes its natural residents. Rather, your home can become part of what Doug Tallamy, in his newly-released Nature’s Best Hope, is calling our future “Homegrown National Park.” If enough of us make some relatively easy changes to our yard practices, we can knit together our properties into a thriving environment where people and nature live in harmony. Now, in this time of trouble, we can renew the Earth. Find out how at www.plantnovanatives.org/gardening-for-earth-renewal.

Huntley Meadows: Preserving Native Plants, program April 9th–CANCELED!

Photo: Barbara J. Saffir (c)

Green Spring Gardens
4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria
Thursday, 9 April 2020
7:30 – 9pm

David Lawlor will discuss the recent Natural Resource Management activities at Huntley Meadows Park including the newly revised Natural Resource Management Plan based on Natural Vegetation Communities found in the park. He will review the quality and types of Huntley Meadows Park Natural Vegetation Communities, as well as the monitoring and protection efforts for the rare plant communities and rare plants found in the park. David will also speak about the surveys and research being conducted at HMP to enhance the understanding of the ecosystems being protected.

David Lawlor is a native of Fairfax County growing up in Annandale, VA. He graduated with a B.S. in Biology from George Mason University. David has over 20 years of experience in the field of Natural Resource Management planning and implementation. David worked as the Fairfax County Assistant Wildlife Biologist for six years and has been the Natural Resource Manager at Huntley Meadows for over 15 years.

Presented by Virginia Native Plant Society, Potowmack Chapter.
Lecture is free and open to the public.

Piecing Together Nature’s Puzzle with Alonso Abugattas, March 12th–CANCELLED!

Green Spring Gardens
4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria VA
Thursday, 12 March 2020
7:30 – 9 pm

Nature is intricately interconnected. While we certainly don’t know how all the pieces fit, we can have some informative fun trying to put them together. Virginia Native Plant Society, Potowmack Chapter presents an interesting look at how pieces of the “nature puzzle” fit together, focusing on our native flora and wildlife of course. Get a peek at just how interdependent are plants, fungi, insects, wildlife, and even humans can be and try to piece together some parts of our local nature puzzle. Take a look at host plants, oligolectic bees, ethnobotany, and other wildlife interactions. You may not look at our natural world the same way again. 

Alonso Abugattas is a well-known local naturalist, environmental educator, and storyteller in the Washington, DC area. He is the Natural Resources Manager for Arlington County Parks, VA and the longtime Co-Chair for the Beltway Chapter of Region 2 of the National Association for Interpretation, the professional association for naturalists, historians, and docents. He was awarded their Regional Outstanding Interpretive Manager Award in 2018 and the national Master Interpretive Manager in 2018. He has been trained as a Master Gardener, was made an honorary Virginia Master Naturalist for his role in starting 2 chapters, and serves as an instructor for both.

Alonso is a co-founder of the Washington Area Butterfly Club and has held several offices (including President) for the Potowmack Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society. With numerous mentions and appearances on television, radio, and the press, he invites you to check out his NAI Interpretive Section Thomas Say Media Award winning FaceBook Group “Capital Naturalist”, his Capital Naturalist Blog, @CapNaturalist on Twitter, and the Capital Naturalist YouTube Channel.

“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.

Getting to Know and Love Your Ferns, Feb.13th

A talk by Kit Sheffield

Green Spring Gardens 
4603 Green Spring Road 
Alexandria, VA 22312 
Thursday, February 13, 2020
7:30 – 9:00 pm 

Please join the Potowmack Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society for a talk by Kit Sheffield, who will answer the following
questions: What is a fern and what makes it different from other organisms? What is a “fern ally”? How do ferns grow and reproduce? How can you tell ferns apart from each other?

Kit Sheffield is a Virginia Master Naturalist who has led fern-related hikes for the Virginia Native Plant Society, the Audubon Naturalist Society, the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, the Fairfax Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.