August 2012
In This Issue
Native Plant Starter Kits
Other Items of Interest
LEAPP Classes

Upcoming Events

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.

General Surveys

Occoquan Bay NWR

  • August 29
  • September 29
Meadowood on Mason Neck
  • August 15
  • September 12

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:
  • Aug 17: Meadowood Recreational Area
  • Aug 24: Metz Wetlands
  • Aug 31: Occoquan Regional Park
  • Sept 7: Occoquan Bay NWR
  • Sept 14: Meadowood Recreational Area
  • Sept 21: Metz Wetlands
  • Sept 28: Occoquan Regional Park

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


Help make a difference!
Volunteer
E-Activist Network. 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.

Climate Change.
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.

Research Plant Value to Wildlife. ASNV is looking
for a Virgina master naturalist, or other interested volunteer, willing to research the wildlife value of specific native plants.

More information about these and other opportunities can be found here.

Audubon at Home. 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.


Save The Date: ASNV's Christmas Bird Count will be on Sunday, December 16th. Look for details in this newsletter.
 
Message from the ASNV President

Dear Members, Partners and Friends:

 

I'd like to pose a challenge. Can you help us with our "elevator story?" It is said a good program can be described in the time it takes to go between floors (maybe several floors) on an elevator. ASNV is making plans to get its elevator story out to potential supporters and donors in the larger community, particularly the business community. We'll be targeting donors because, first - we must work harder to raise awareness at home, but more importantly - we're spending more money than we are taking in to run the programs of our chapter.

 

To appeal to institutional donors, benefits need to be compelling. I believe that ASNV's annual bird survey presents a unique opportunity every year for a corporation or foundation to identify itself on a pamphlet that circulates widely and has been popular at outdoor events and Audubon presentations throughout the community. Furthermore, our Wildlife Sanctuary certification program now has a successful track record and poses another opportunity for organizations seeking exposure as a "green partner" in the community.

 

ASNV's dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers, from wildlife counters and committee members, to Audubon at Home ambassadors and board members, make our elevator story a reality. I'm confident this community service and enthusiasm will continue whether we find institutional supporters or not. However, the scope and impact of all that we do will benefit from the additional resources institutional partnerships can bring.

 

So please put on your Madison Avenue hat, and send us your suggestion for a punchy introduction to our friends in the business community. ASNV's elevator story says our region has experienced a remarkable loss of natural habitat to human development. Bird populations are declining. Migratory corridors have been sliced and diced. Natural food and living space has fallen to invasive non-native plants. We have documented this, but we also know there is something all of us can do to reverse this trend. Audubon's Healthy Yard Pledge points the direction (reduce pesticides, conserve and protect water, remove invasives, plant natives). We now have an "army" of volunteers carrying this message to the community on behalf of ASNV and our partners. Help our community to act now to change the ethic regarding our relationship with our environment, one healthy space at a time!

 

Terry F. Liercke, President

Native Plant Starter Kits
First Come, First Served
Audubon at Home ambassadors and clients participating in the Wildlife Sanctuary program may now order a kit, including 4 wildflowers and 1 shrub (2 kits max.) for delivery in early September. Our project coordinator, Nippy Page, has order forms for participants. Contact Nippy at nippy@audubonva.org. The kits are a way to donate to our cause -- they sell for $35 each -- and to act immediately to increase healthy habitat. More.

 

Field Trips and Birdwalks

 

Bombay Hook NWR, Delaware

Saturday, August 18, all day

Join Larry Meade and Steve Williams on this trip with Northern Virginia Bird Club. Migrating shorebirds will be the focus, but we'll be taking note of everything there is to see. Meet the leaders at the visitor center at 8:00 AM, or look for them before 8:00 for some early birding along the entrance road. We will make a lunch stop at Sambo's restaurant in Leipsic, or feel free to bring your own. Other areas of interest may be visited after lunch. Be sure to bring insect repellent, water, sunscreen, hat and, of course, binoculars, and scope if you have one.

Getting there: Allow at least 2 ½ hours driving time to the visitor center. Take Rt. 50 across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Go north on Rt. 301. Turn right on Rt. 300. At Kenton, DE, go right on Rt. 42 to Leipsic. Go left on Rt. 9 to the entrance to the refuge.

 

Stratton Woods Park, Reston

Sunday, August 19, 7:30-10:30 AM

Bill Brown will lead this walk through a variety of habitats, looking for birds and butterflies.

Getting there: From Fairfax Co. Parkway, turn west on Fox Mill Rd. and take the first right into the parking lot for Stratton Woods Park.

 

Riverbend Park Meadow

Labor Day, Monday, September 3, 7:30 AM

Skip the crowds at the beach and come for a walk in the meadow, looking for early migrants, (especially those pesky fall warblers!) with Carol & Jay Hadlock. If things are slow there, we'll take a walk along the river.

Getting there: From Rt. 193 east of the village of Great Falls, take Riverbend Rd. to Jeffery Rd. and follow the sign to the Nature Center. Meet in the parking lot.

 

Algonkian Regional Park

Saturday, September 8, 7:30 AM

River and woods make this a good place to look for fall migrants. Bill Brown will lead.

Getting there: The park address is 47001 Fairway Drive, Sterling. From Rt. 7, heading west, turn on Cascades Parkway, north, and continue into the park. Turn left at the sign for the swimming pool and meet in the parking lot.

 

Swifts and Nighthawks

Sunday, September 9, 7:00 PM

The spectacle of thousands of Chimney Swifts circling and descending into their chosen chimney for the night is truly awesome. We'll be monitoring several sites before deciding, so save this date and check the ASNV website after Labor Day, Sept. 3. We'll follow up the Swifts with Common Nighthawks at Tyson's Corner.

 

Lake Fairfax Park

Saturday, September 15, 7:30 AM

There is a lot more to this park than just the lake and the Water Mine. Bill Brown has been exploring and has found some excellent birding areas. Meet him at the visitor center.

Getting there: From Rt. 7 west, turn left on Baron Cameron Ave., then left on Lake Fairfax Drive and proceed to the park entrance.

 

Occoquan NWR

Sunday, September 16, 8-11:00 AM

Carl Kikuchi will lead this walk through the varied habitats of the refuge.

Please register with the ASNV office.

Getting there: The refuge is located at the end of Dawson Beach Rd. in Woodbridge.

 

Lower Glade Stream Valley, Reston

Sunday, September 23, 7:30-10:30 AM

Matt Bender leads this walk through one of Reston's best birding areas.

Getting there: From Reston Parkway, take Glade Dr. east to the intersection with Twin Branches. Park along the street.

 
Mark Obmascik to Speak at George Mason University

Mark Obmascik, author of The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession, which received five Best of 2004 citations by major media, will be appearing at George Mason University's Fall For the Book Festival ( http://www.fallforthebook.org). The movie adaptation of The Big Year, starring Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson, was released in October 2011 by 20th Century Fox. Obmascik was lead writer for the Denver Post team that won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize, and winner of the 2003 National Press Club award for environmental journalism. He'll be appearing on Thursday, September 27, at 7:30 p.m. in the Johnson Center, Meeting Room G.

 

 

Advocacy Update
Conservation Depends On You

Elect Conservation Candidates Along with a U.S. President,Virginia will elect a new U.S. Senator on November 6 and members of the U.S. House of Representatives. These races present an opportunity for Auduboners to educate candidates about conservation issues and elect pro-conservation legislators.

To learn who is running in your area, visit the Virginia Board of Elections here. Voters in some jurisdictions may also vote on parks or other conservation-related bonds.

 

Federal Funding for Conservation -- Outlook Bleak Most of the national environmental organizations that monitor the Congress, are predicting difficult times for conservation programs funding in the coming months. For example, the House Appropriations Committee has approved an Interior Department funding bill that would cut the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by 21%. The Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act Grants would be reduced by half to $1.8 million under that bill. Also, if the automatic, across-the-board cuts called "sequestration" occur, that measure could slash $1.2 trillion (trillion!) and cut every program government-wide by 8.4% in FY 2013 unless Congress stops it or changes it.

You may wish to express your views to your U.S. senators and representative. To find yours, visit www.senate.gov and www.house.gov.

 

More Severe Weather? Extreme rainstorms and snowstorms are happening 33 percent more frequently in Virginia since 1948 concluded a July 31 Environment Virginia report. Scientists have linked more extreme and more frequent weather events to global warming. Curbing global warming is a top priority of the National Audubon Society. Here's what the group concluded: more...

 

Strengthen Stormwater Runoff Rules in Fairfax County Fairfax County has embarked on a two-year effort to strengthen the rules governing stormwater runoff, including runoff from land disturbances caused by building or expanding homes. Stormwater runoff is a major cause of the degradation of northern Virginia's waterways. The county is recruiting people for work teams. If interested, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/stormwaterordinance.htm or contact Carol Lamborn .

 

The Potomac, Our Most Endangered River

The Potomac River is the nation's "most endangered river," according to the conservation organization American Rivers.
The group's press release said, "The Potomac is the 'nation's river,' rich in culture and history and the lifeblood of our nation's capital. The river provides drinking water to more than five million people and offers abundant opportunities for recreation. However, the Potomac is threatened by agricultural and urban pollution that will only get worse if Congress rolls back national clean water protections. If Congress puts polluters before people, our nation's river - and many other rivers nationwide - will become a threat to public health, unsafe for drinking water, wildlife, or recreation."
They encourage people to urge Congress to stop attempts to weaken the Clean Water Act or prevent the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from restoring protections for small streams and wetlands. You can read the report here

Americans Are Not Really Green A new survey found that Americans are the least likely to have "green guilt" about their environmental impact, even though the U.S. trails much of the rest of the world in sustainable behavior. You can read more about this National Geographic survey here.

Parks Funding on Fairfax County Ballot Voters in Fairfax County will have an opportunity to vote on parks on the November 6 ballot. The Board of Supervisors has proposed more...

 

 

ASNV Is Recruiting Leaders for Bird and Nature Walks

Do you have a favorite birding spot that you return to time and again? Have you ever thought you'd like to share that spot with others but feel you lack the skills to lead a birdwalk? If so, you are invited to attend a session with Carol Hadlock, ASNV's Coordinator of Birdwalks and Field Trips, on Sunday, August 19, at 1:30 PM, at NWF Headquarters in Reston. Carol will share tips that she uses every time she leads a birdwalk, from planning the where, when, what and how, to taking care of your group. Attendance does not mean you are making a commitment to become a leader, but we would really like to expand our roster of leaders, and this might inspire you to believe that you, too, can lead a successful birdwalk. No cost and registrations are required.

 

 

Other Items of Interest
Wildlife Sanctuary Certifications Update. It has been a record year for backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Certifications and could not have been accomplished without the dedicated volunteers of the Audubon at Home program. We have certified some very diverse properties this year including: a 110-acre monastery, a 40-acre therapeutic riding center, and 21 homes and "other" properties, all in the first 6 months of this year. We have almost done as many certifications in the first 6 months of 2012 (24) as was done in all of 2011 (27). Since the program began in 2010, we have certified 86 sanctuaries totaling 678 acres. We hope to make the last half of the year as successful. Please contact us if you or your friends and neighbors would like a free backyard consultation to learn how to naturalize and nurture the existing habitat around your home.
Green Living Expo DC. Mark your calendars for the 4th annual Green Living Expo DC on Saturday, September 8, from 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the UDC Courtyard (just outside the Van Ness metro station). The Green Living Expo is an exciting, free community event connecting conscientious consumers to dozens of eco-friendly exhibitors. The Expo will feature delicious food, green technology, local artisans, community organizations, speakers, and live music! Get your free tickets online , and then visit the Live Green booth the day of the Expo for a chance to win a $100 eco-friendly prize pack. If you have any questions about this event, please feel free to email abby.livegreen@gmail.com.

Discount for ASNV Members at the Bird Feeder. The Bird Feeder in Reston is now offering a 10% discount to current ASNV members, good on all purchases excluding optics and sale merchandise. When you visit, just tell them you are a member of ASNV and ask for the discount. Read more.

 

LEAPP Classes

The LEAPP® (Learn, Enjoy, Appreciate, Preserve, and Protect) program offers Northern Virginians the opportunity to learn more about the natural world and be informed, active stewards for its care and protection. Since its inception in 1999, students have found that LEAPP classes are fun and personally rewarding. Don't miss out - register early! Please note that registration is not complete until payment is received. (For Master Naturalists: All workshops have been approved for Advanced Training hours.) To register, contact ASNV at 703-438-6008 or at info@audubonva.org.

Ornithology 101
This course is an introductory, college-level course in Ornithology and will provide students with the tools and skills of being a birder. The course will cover: field guides and optics, the origins and evolution of birds; feathers, flight and the physiology of birds; behavior and communications;migration, navigation, and social behavior;avian life histories;population dynamics and conservation. Read more.

 

Hawks: Masters of the Skies
Join local hawkwatcher Nolan Britt in a workshop to increase your hawk identification skills and understanding of conservation issues concerning North American raptors. Topics covered include the history of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary,, major migration routes of hawks, flight identification, and the history of DDT in the Americas. The workshop culminates with an all-day trip to Waggoner's Gap Hawkwatch near Carlisle, PA , one of the best sites in the Eastern U.S. for hawk migration! Read more.

 

Fall Wildflowers
Learn how to identify some common fall wildflowers and plant families as well as the folklore association with plants in this area. This combination class and field trip will be held at Riverbend Park, Fairfax County Park Authority's only riverfront park which has over 400 acres of forest, meadows, and ponds. Riverbend's location along the Potomac River makes it a naturally unique and sensitive area with spectacular fall wildflowers. Read more.

Classes In Partnership with Potomac Overlook Regional Park

 

Exploring the World of Aquatic Insects
Did you know that in most freshwater environments, aquatic insects are usually the largest and most diverse group of organisms? From muddy ponds to fast moving streams, Northern Virginia is home to a staggering array of aquatic insects ranging from the pestering mosquito to the graceful dragonfly. Together we will explore the vital role each insect plays in its ecosystem and discuss the clues that will help you identify aquatic insects in your own backyard. Read more.

Paddle Adventures with Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority
NVRPA has a wide selection of kayaking and canoe adventures. Read more.

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