April 2012
In This Issue
ASNV is on Facebook
Partners Provide Valuable Hours
Gardening with Deer
Field Trips
Advocacy Update

Upcoming Events

Save the Date!

More details coming soon.

Conservation Counts
Join Jim Waggener in his ongoing wildlife surveys at two of Northern Virginia's best birding spots. Surveys alternate between Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge and Meadowood Special Recreation Management Area on Mason Neck.

Each survey is limited to four participants, and reservations are required. More information is available on the ASNV website.

Contact Jim via email or phone (703-567-3555) for more details or to reserve your space.

Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge
  • March 28
  • April 25
  • May 30
Meadowood on Mason Neck
  • April 11
  • May 16

Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys
Join Jim Waggener each Friday (April-October) in his ongoing survey of the butterflies and dragonflies at four locations in Fairfax and Prince William County.

Each survey is limited to four participants, and reservations are required. More information is available on the ASNV website.

Contact Jim via email or phone (703-567-3555) for more details or to reserve your space. (Note: Surveys may be cancelled for inclement weather.)

Upcoming surveys:
  • April 6, Metz Wetlands
  • April 13, Occoquan Regional Park
  • April 20, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge
  • April 27, Meadowood Recreation Area

Eakin Park Bird Walk
Hidden Oaks Nature Center (FCPA) sponsors weekly bird walks along the Accotink Stream Valley.

We meet every Monday morning (weather permitting) at the parking lot on Prosperity Ave. about half way between Routes 50 and 236 (Little River Turnpike). We begin at 7:30 AM December through February, and 7 AM the rest of the year. No need to sign up. The walk generally goes for a couple hours but can vary depending on how "birdy" it is and the weather. If you have any questions please contact the leader, Carolyn Williams, at 703-273-1961.

Audubon at Home needs you
People-oriented volunteers are needed to help spread the word about the Audubon At Home Wildlife Sanctuary Program at community and regional events. We schedule the dates, provide all the materials, and brief you on our message -- you supply the enthusiasm!

To volunteer or for more information, contact info@audubonva.org.

Help make a difference!
The National Audubon Society invites all Auduboners to join their e-activist network. When you subscribe to their newsletter, you'll receive alerts about important Congressional actions and information about how you can affect legislation by contacting your Members of Congress. Visit www.audubonaction.org to learn more.

We also need passionate volunteers across Virginia who can help us persuade our U. S. senators to support a strong climate change bill. If you would like to help us make a difference with climate change and other important issues, please contact Glenda Booth.
Message from the ASNV President

Hello, Everybody!
I told you last month that we were losing Jill Miller but picking up Perry Macdonald and this month I have to tell you that we're losing our naturalist, Cliff Fairweather.  Our loss is Fairfax County's gain as Cliff is slated to take over the naturalist's slot as park manager of the Long Branch facility.  So all of you in that neighborhood are lucky indeed since it is a given that Cliff will continue the fine legacy of that park and continue to offer the neighborhood outstanding programs. Although he's leaving Audubon in an "official" way, we certainly anticipate staying in close touch and co-working lots of programs in the future.  So, wish Cliff a very fond farewell and good luck in his future role.
I still haven't heard from many of you out in Fauquier and Loudoun counties but if there are more things you'd like to see from us, let me know.  And, on that topic, is there anyone out there that would be willing to represent us for a few hours at events at Potomac Overlook Regional Park and then separately down around the Occoquan NWR both in May?  If so, contact me for details.

Thanks, and please stay in touch!! 

ASNV is on Facebook!
"Like" our Facebook page for updates and the latest news

We have a Facebook page! Go to our website (www.audubonva.org), click on the Facebook logo and like us. Or, click here to be taken directly to the page.

All you have to do is click "like" on our Facebook page, and you'll be kept in the loop on our latest events, field trips and classes. We'll also be using the page to share ideas and thoughts about our organization and the natural world.

Come join the conversation!


It's Time for the Annual ASNV Birdathon!
Support your organization while
enjoying the outdoors

Our annual Birdathon will be held between April 27 and May 13 this year.This event is one of only two ASNV fund-raising efforts during the year, and we need your help.

It's easy (and fun!) to play. First, form a team with a few friends.Then, choose a day during the peak of neotropic bird migration. Finally, get outside and see how many bird species you can spot!You can bird for a full day or just a couple of hours, travel across Northern Virginia or just relax in a local park.You may even win a prize for your effort!And, best of all, you will definitely help support ASNV's conservation and education programs.

Participating is fun and signing up is easy. To learn more and sign up, or to pledge a donation, please click here.

Then enjoy your springtime birding.


Partners Provide Valuable Volunteer Hours to ASNV Projects

We understand from the Fairfax Master Naturalists that a dozen Master Naturalists devoted nearly 200 volunteer hours in 2011 to ASNV projects, including Audubon at Home Ambassadors, the Christmas Bird Count, the Winter Waterfowl Count, the Northern Virginia Bird Survey, and ASNV outreach and education. FMN is one of our key partners in the Northern Virginia region - our thanks to them, and to these individuals, for helping make these ASNV projects a success.


habitatgardeningHabitat Gardening and Landscaping with Deer
an Audubon at Home workshop

Deer pose a significant challenge in many parts of our region for gardeners trying to provide wildlife habitat on their properties. In this outdoor workshop, we'll discuss plants that deer favor, native plants that are deer resistant and a variety of techniques and products that discourage deer browsing. And, if you have a reliable approach, please share it at the workshop!

Click here for more information on our website.

Date: Sun., May 20, 2012

Time: 2 - 4 p.m.

Location: Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

Instructors: Debbie Humphreys, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens and Terry Liercke, ASNV

Limit: 20

Cost: $10 for members; $15 for non-members (AAH Ambassadors & trainees, free)


Field Trips and Birdwalks

Registration is not required for field trips, unless noted. Contact the ASNV office at 703-438-6008 or info@audubonva.org for more information. Participants should dress for the weather and bring binoculars. Visit our website for more information about these and other upcoming field trips.

Riverbend Park

Thursday, April 12, 7:30 - 10:30 AM

Meet Jenny Vick in the upper parking lot at the Visitor Center for a walk through the woods and along the river.


Wildflowers at Riverbend Park

Saturday, April 14, 2:00 - 4:00 PM

Katy Simenson and Riverbend are the perfect combination for a wildflower walk. Meet her at the Visitor Center and experience the beauty of spring along the river. Bring a hand lens and a wildflower guide if you have them. Katy would appreciate a call if you plan to attend (703-281-7129), but drop-ins are also welcome.


Brown's Chapel, Reston

Sunday, April 15, 7:30 - 10:30 AM

Join Bill Brown to check the lake, woods and open fields around Brown's Chapel.


Lake Fairfax Park

Wednesday, April 26, 7:30 AM,


There is a lot more to this park than the lake and Water Mine. Bill Brown has been exploring there recently and has found some excellent birding areas. Meet him at the Visitor Center to check out some new areas of the park.


Twin Branches, Reston

Sunday, April 29, 7:30 - 10:30 AM

Matt Bender will lead this walk through stream valley and mature forest.  Surprises often turn up here.The first part of the trail is rather steep and rocky downhill so wear appropriate footwear.

Thompson Wildlife Management Area

Wednesday, May 2, 8:00 AM - early afternoon
Does your heart beat faster at the prospect of rose-breasted grosbeaks, scarlet tanagers, cerulean, hooded and Kentucky warblers?If so, join Carol and Jay Hadlock and we'll throw in spectacular trilliums and other wildflowers and birds.


Important notice: Virginia DGIF is now requiring a permit to enter all state wildlife management areas.This can be a daily use permit, an annual permit, a valid freshwater fishing license or a hunting license.A daily permit can be purchased for $4 and you must have the permit with you while on the property.Go to the DGIF website to find where the permits are for sale near you, and make sure you have one and have it with you if you plan to go on this trip.


Registration required. Limit 10.  Call Carol & Jay at 703-437-7451. Lunch at The Apple House, Dutch treat, optional.



Bright Pond, Reston

Sunday, May 6, 7:30 - 10:30 AM

Always a popular spot in springtime, this natural area in the midst of residential development is a magnet for arriving songbirds.Andy Rabin will lead the walk.


Friday, May 11 - Tuesday, May 15.
Reservations Closed.

Tuesday May 15, 7:00 AM

Get in the swing of spring migration with trip leaders, Glen Gerada and Ed Clark. This will be a nature hike, looking at everything the park has to offer. Please call Glen to let him know you plan to come, 703-725-9892


Clark's Crossing, Vienna

Wednesday, May 23, 7:30-10:30 AM

Join Carol and Jay Hadlock to walk a stretch of the W&OD Trail looking for Indigo Buntings, Orchard and Baltimore Orioles, Yellow-breasted Chats and spring warblers.


Glade Stream Valley, Reston

Sunday, May 27, 7:30-10:30 AM

This is one of Reston's birding hotspots, and for leaders Joanne and David Bauer, it's their backyard. Join them for a morning of fine birding.


Take the LEAPP!!
Learn More About the Natural World

The LEAPP® (Learn, Enjoy, Appreciate, Preserve, and Protect) program offers the opportunity to learn more about the natural world and be informed, active stewards for its care and protection. To register or for more information, please visit our website, email us or call the ASNV office at 703-438-6008. Don't miss out - register early! Please note that registration is not complete until payment is received. Visit our website for more information about these and other upcoming LEAPP programs.

Class: Thursday, April 19, 7-9:30 PM
Field trip: Saturday, April 21, 10 AM - noon
Due to an early spring, this workshop has been cancelled.

Introduction to Birds and Birding
Class 1: Wednesday, April 18, 7-9 PM
Field trip 1: Saturday, April 21, time TBD
Class 2: Wednesday, April 25, 7-9 PM
Field trip 2: Saturday, April 28, time TBD
In Class 1 -- Basic Ornithology -- you will gain a basic understanding of taxonomy and species; bird biology; the natural history of birds, including behavior, reproduction, migration; and the great diversity of birds and habitats. In Class 2 -- Beginning Birding -- you will learn how to choose and use binoculars, explore various field guides and learn the language and tricks of identifying birds in the field. Please note: Participants must register for both Basic Ornithology and Beginning Birding.

Class: Saturday, May 26, 1-3 PM
Field trip: Saturday, June 2, 2-4 PM
Join Potomac Overlook naturalists for an exploration into the world that exists in our smaller local streams. Common fish, amphibians, birds, insects, crustaceans, amphibians, and other invertebrates will be covered through an interpretive slideshow. Live specimens will also be on hand for participants to observe. Please note: The class session is mandatory for those wishing to go on the field trip.

Programs Available From Our Partner Organization:
Audubon members and volunteers are encouraged to sign up for programs of our partner organization, the Virginia Native Plant Society - Potowmack chapter.  The following are especially relevant to our Audubon at Home Wildlife Sanctuary certification program.  See more at the VNPS chapter website.


Native Plant Propagation Workshop, April 14, with Laura Beaty, Propagation Chair. Morning and afternoon sessions. RSVP required: Laura Beaty at laurabeaty@mac.com or call 703 534-8746.


Riverbend Park Botanical Walk, April 18: Natural History, Folklore and Ethnobotany with Alonso Abugattas. RSVP: Diana Carter dcarter1776@yahoo.com


Advocacy Update
Conservation Depends on You!

climatechangeHow Is Climate Change Affecting Virginia?

Save the date - May 5 - for a free workshop titled Climate Change in Virginia: Local Impacts, Local Action, and hear from Del. David Bulova, a Virginia Climate Commissioner. Learn how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is trying to curb greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet and how some in Congress are trying to thwart EPA. Hear from advocates on actions we can take to stem climate change.

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Patrick Henry Library, 101 Maple Ave., East, Vienna


Climate change is affecting birds' migration as some "prairie potholes," America's duck factory, are drying up and northern lakes do not freeze. Sea level rise could flood islands and seashores, inundating nesting and feeding areas.  Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Climate Action Network (NOVACAN)


Partners in NOVCAN are the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia; Sierra Club (Great Falls and Mount Vernon Groups); Chesapeake Climate Action Network; Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment; Sustainable Loudoun; Prince William Conservation Alliance; Friends of the Potomac River Refuges; Friends of Dyke Marsh; Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light; Audubon Naturalist Society.

Budget Time: Local governments are now developing their budgets, which means that funds for natural resources and parks could be targeted.   Study your jurisdiction's budget, find the hearing schedule and speak up for conservation and parks. If you don't, who will?

Cut Carbon: National Audubon is asking every Auduboner to let Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency know that Auduboners support EPA's action to reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions.   Mike Daulton with NAS said, "Audubon scientists have proven warming trends driven by carbon pollution have already disrupted bird migration patterns across the country. Nearly 60 percent of the 305 species found in winter across North America are shifting their ranges northward by an average of 35 miles." Go here for info: http://conservation.audubon.org/programs/birds-climate-change and here to sign a petition https://secure3.convio.net/nasaud/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=622


At this site, you can comment on EPA's proposed limits: http://epa.gov/carbonpollutionstandard/pdfs/20120327factsheet.pdf


Virginia's Rivers and Streams Are Sick


Virginia's rivers and streams are seriously impaired according to a March Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) report. This annual assessment offers a good basis for asking your elected officials what they plan to do about it.

According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's analysis of the report, 71% of Virginia's streams violate state water quality standards along with 94% of all estuaries. Some of the streams in the Potomac and Shenandoah River basins that are on the list, for example, are Bull Run, Little Pimmit Run, Hunting Creek/Cameron Run, Little Hunting Creek and the Occoquan and Potomac Rivers.


The analysis determines whether the state's waters support six uses: aquatic life, fish consumption, shellfishing, recreation, public water supply and wildlife. If a body of water has more of a pollutant than is allowed by water quality standards, it will not support one or more of its designated uses. Waters impaired by human activities are put on a federally-mandated "303(d) impaired waters" list and DEQ begins development of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plan to reduce pollutants.


Northern Virginia streams have, for example, elevated levels of e-coli bacteria and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's). Many streams are impaired for fish consumption and aquatic life from toxic pollutants, combined sewer overflows, contaminated sediments, and unidentified upstream sources.


Generally, major contributors to polluted waters in northern Virginia are the acres and acres of impervious surfaces. Many localities channelized streams, turning them into concrete troughs to shoot water downstream, instead of letting it naturally infiltrate into the ground. Many wetlands were filled or drained. The ubiquitous impervious surfaces like parking lots, roofs and roads across the region have created too much polluted runoff.


The Center for Watershed Protection says that stream quality is threatened when watershed development exceeds 10-15 percent of impervious cover or one house every one to two acres. In most northern Virginia watersheds, this threshold is breached. For example, in Fairfax County, the Little Hunting Creek watershed has 25 percent impervious cover; the Belle Haven watershed, 32 percent.


DEQ's monitoring does not address litter which is rampant. Last year, the Friends of Little Hunting Creek removed 127 bags of trash from one site in three cleanups. In late March, a group hauled 100 bags of trash out of the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve on the Potomac River.


You can read the report at www.deq.state.va.us. Click on "2012 Water Quality Report." It includes a list of impaired waters. DEQ is accepting comments until April 27. Send comments to John Kennedy, john.kennedy@deq.virginia.gov. This is a good opportunity for Auduboners to let officials know that we expect all levels of government to ensure clean water.


U.S. Senate Seat at Stake: Virginia will elect a new U.S. Senator in November, to replace Senator Jim Webb who has announced he will not run again.   This race presents an opportunity for Auduboners to educate candidates about conservation issues and elect a pro-conservation U.S. senator.

speciesofneedVulnerability of Virginia's Species of Greatest Conservation Need To Climate Change:  Implications for Management and Policy


June 12-14, 2012

9:00 am to 4:00 am

Maymont Park, Garden Room

Richmond, Virginia


The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, National Wildlife Federation, and Virginia Conservation Network invite you to attend a series of workshops that will be held Tuesday through Thursday, June 12-14 at Maymont Park in Richmond, Virginia.  Over the last two years, Virginia Tech's Conservation Management Institute has been working with DGIF and NWF to better describe the climate changes predicted for Virginia and understand what those changes could mean for Virginia's wildlife and habitats.


This project was initiated following the development of Virginia's Strategy for Safeguarding Species of Greatest Conservation Need from the Effects of Climate Change, which specifically recommends producing climate modeling and associated wildlife threats and vulnerability assessment for Virginia.  The development of this strategy was based on two workshops held in Virginia in 2008 and 2009 that brought together many in the conservation community to discuss how to best conserve and manage wildlife and habitats under changing climatic conditions.  Our June workshops are a culmination of this 4-year effort.


We will conduct three one-day workshops where, each day, the climate change data and threats assessment will be presented to different stakeholder groups: forestry/ agriculture (Tuesday, June 12), water resources and management (Wednesday, June 13), and coastal systems (Thursday, June 14).   Participants may come to one or all of the workshops.  We will discuss the methods and outputs of this process, describe the climate change data, and review the results of the threats assessment.  Our discussions will focus on how the vulnerability assessment is relevant to the resources managed by each of the stakeholder groups.   Our goal is to garner feedback on how this information can inform management and conservation across the state for various sectors, what policy changes or new policies may be needed in light of this assessment, and what this information might mean for updating Virginia's Wildlife Action Plan.


RSVP to Austin Kane, kanea@nwf.org or 443-759-3402.  Please indicate if you would like to attend all three days or one specific day (note by date or by sector of interest).