For those of you who may have missed June's Nature Night, we announced the winners of our annual Birdathon and want to take the opportunity now to reiterate our thanks to all of you who participated and helped make it such a great success. And, a big thanks goes out to our two sponsors, Roger Ritter of "The Bird Feeder" in Reston and Maureen Hirsch, Director of Marketing for the "Clydes Restaurent Group." This is only one of several major fundraising events we do all year, and we thank everyone involved. And, of course, a final round of applause for our winning Birdathon team: Gary Fleming and the 2 Drakes and a Hen came up with 107 species followed by Fred Atwood and his teen birders and David Boltz and the Mighty Kinglets with 104 species each. Our fundraising leaders were Carol and Jay Hadlock, who raised over $1700. What an achievement by all!
Our next Nature Night isscheduled for September 26, again on a Sunday afternoon. Our new board members will have begun settling in by then and your new management team will have begun planning for the year ahead. One of the things on the agenda will be our educational plans. On that note, Kristy Liercke and her team have generated a lot of new ideas for us, but could really use a few more hands to make some great things happen. If you have a few hours to spare, and would like to help out, please get in touch. There are a lot of educational outreach programs we'd like to run with local schools but need your help to get it done.
Just a reminder that ASNV has relocated to a new office space. This means we have a new address and a new phone number:
11100 Wildlife Center Drive
Reston, VA 20190
Climate Change Legislation Update
Time Is Running Out; Contact Your Senators Now!
Climate change is one of the most serious threats to the planet, birds, wildlife and habitat of all time. To learn more about the impact of climate change on birds, read National Audubon’s report.
If the Senate does not pass a bill this summer, it is unlikely that a clean energy / climate bill will move this year. The Senate leadership is trying to craft a bill that can garner 60 votes. Virginia Senators Warner and Webb are critical swing votes. They need to know that Virginians expect them to be leaders in this effort.
Please contact your Senators today:
- Senator James Webb
- Senator Mark Warner
Here are a few talking points you can include in your email or phone call:
- Virginia is vulnerable. In 2008, the bipartisan Virginia Commission on Climate Change concluded, “The Hampton Roads area is particularly vulnerable due to the low elevation of the land and the existence of civilian and military ports, buildings and infrastructure.” The Commission called on government at all levels to act.
- Virginians want a cleaner environment. Just over half of Virginians gave the state’s environment a grade of “C” and 77 percent of Virginians want government to improve that grade by addressing climate change, according to an April Christopher Newport University poll.
- Transition to clean electricity. A bill should create incentives for wind, solar, geothermal and sustainable biomass energy and establish a renewable electricity standard.
- Strengthen energy efficiency standards. Energy efficiency is the least expensive way to cut emissions. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) found that Virginia can meet almost 20 percent of its electricity needs by 2025 through energy efficiency, a strategy also would cut utility bills by $15 billion by 2025 and create nearly 10,000 new jobs. We need to enhance energy efficiency in every sector -- buildings, vehicles and appliances, for example. We also must make new investments in infrastructure, rail transportation and public transit to provide Americans with more sustainable transportation choices and to reduce dependence on cars.
- Create jobs. Retrofitting buildings to make them more energy efficient and moving to cleaner fuels create jobs. Two million jobs can be created by investing in clean energy technologies, according to a University of Massachusetts study.
- Enhance national security. A clean energy plan can lead to true energy independence. The U. S. imports one million barrels of oil a day, much of it from unfriendly countries.
- Reduce dangers. The tragic April, ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and coal mining accidents are sad reminders of the dangers of our dependence on fossil fuels.
- Cut global warming pollution by at least 80 percent, as scientists worldwide have recommended, including Nobelist Dr. Jagadish Shukla of George Mason University, to avoid the worst impacts of global warming. America must take decisive action now and be a global partner.
- Inaction has costs. Every day we postpone action creates increased costs later, from damage to infrastructure by more extreme weather events to the public health costs of more vector-borne diseases.
- The House has acted. Last year, the House of Representatives sent the Senate a bill that could start us toward a clean energy future and less reliance on fossil fuels.
- Be leaders. Senator Warner and Senator Jim Webb should take strong leadership roles in the Senate in passing comprehensive clean energy and climate change legislation this summer.
Two New Board Members!
Welcome, Martin Ogle and Carol Sottili
This chapter has always been extremely lucky when it comes to the quality of our board members, and this year is no different. Martin and Carol were voted in by our chapter’s members at the June 27 Nature Night. We’re very thankful and pleased to have them as part of the Audubon team and look forward to working with them. Board terms are three years and we hope they’ll be happy enough with the chapter’s programs and projects to stay with us for several terms!
Bio for Martin Ogle
Martin Ogle holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University and Virginia Tech. He has been Chief Naturalist for the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority since 1985 during which time he has overseen all operations of Potomac Overlook Regional Park including: staff, budget, grant-writing, volunteers, human and natural history programs and activities, etc. He has developed a number of new features at the park including solar energy and energy efficiency features, a demonstration organic vegetable garden, a concert series and other community events. Since 1990, Mr. Ogle has promoted a widespread understanding of the Gaia Theory through lectures, courses, writings, a major conference on the subject (2006), and other public programs. Mr. Ogle was born and raised much of his younger life in South Korea. He and his wife, Lisa, live in Arlington, Virginia.
Bio for Carol Sottili
Carol Sottili, a former staff writer for The Washington Post, is now a contract writer for the Post's travel section. In her spare time, she leads beginner bird walks, monitors bluebird nests and takes nature-oriented courses. Carol is mom to two grown children, and lives with her husband Bud on 1.5 acres in Fairfax Station that's been certified as wildlife friendly by the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and the National Wildlife Federation.
And, thank you Terry Liercke
We were also thrilled that Terry Liercke, current board member and chair of the conservation committee, allowed us to nominate and vote him in for a second three year term. Thanks for sticking with us Terry!
Help Restore our Environment -- Plant a Native! Create a Sanctuary!
ASNV members are invited to take advantage of our new free service! Our membership stands first in line for practical help from knowledgeable volunteers who have information you need about eco-friendly landscaping and healthier yards. Whether or not you want to apply for ASNV's new Wildlife Sanctuary Program, you will benefit by discussing ideas with a trained volunteer.
Our Audubon at Home Ambassadors are volunteers who can consult with you about environmentally friendly practices and the use of native plants in your yard as a way to help restore our shrinking natural environment. The migratory songbird population in much of the east has declined one percent per year since the late 1960s! And the disappearance of milkweed means the disappearance of the miraculous monarch butterfly! There is ample evidence that many familiar species we take for granted continue to decline due to loss of habitat. We can all help by making more use of native plants in our suburban landscapes and container gardens, and by removing invasive plants, reducing the use of pesticides and fertilizer, and by taking steps to conserve water and its quality.
For 2010, through ASNV's new wildlife sanctuary program, we have already certified over 100 acres of conserved/restored habitat in northern Virginia. Why not add your yard to the list? Or just plant a milkweed! Call our office (703-438-6008) or visit us online to learn more, including whether you have our selected sanctuary species living in your yard. You can have an Audubon at Home Ambassador visit and suggest some simple steps toward helping the environment. Remember: "Conservation begins at home!" Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call our new office number: 703-438-6008.
Majority Supports Government Limiting Business's GHG Emissions
Steven Bruckner, ASNV member
Contrary to reports in the press over the last year that fewer Americans believe climate change is real, human-caused and threatening to people, a just completed survey of 1,000 Americans shows just the opposite. An NSF-funded survey conducted this month by Stanford University found that:
Further, with respect to the desirability of federal government action to deal with business and industry contribution to this problem:
- 74% think the earth's atmosphere has been heating up over the last 100 years.
- 75% think human behavior is responsible for the warming that has occurred.
These survey results provide clear evidence that the perception of declining support among the public, often ascribed to hacked emails from East Anglia and errors in IPCC reports, is baseless and likely due to disinformation and spin generated by industries seeking to derail government action.
- 86% want the government to limit business's emissions of air pollution;
- 76% want the government to limit business's emissions of greenhouse gases;
- 74% favor a cap and trade system to reduce GHG emissions; and
- 72% think most business leaders do not want the government to take steps to stop climate change.
For more information about this survey's results, reference the following:
Advocacy Update: Conservation Depends on You
ASNV Weighs In
Arlington’s Natural Resource Plan
ASNV sent extensive comments to Arlington County, prepared largely by Cliff Fairweather, on the county’s natural resources conservation plan. ASNV pointed out that urban natural resources support critical ecosystem services important to urban populations, such as water supply and water quality protection, air pollution mitigation, and urban cooling. These resources also promote physical and mental health of urban populations.
We urged Arlington to adopt a “zero-loss” policy for county natural lands, to develop a natural resources management plan for each county park and to actively pursue preservation of open space and green corridors through strategies such as conservation easements and acquisitions. We recommended that the plan consider the impacts on birds and other wildlife in the siting of communications towers and similar infrastructure and to avoid siting them in county open space to the extent possible and, where necessary, to mitigate wildlife impacts.
Fairfax, Alexandria, Bird-Safe Buildings
ASNV urged Fairfax County officials who are planning the Tysons’ Corner “makeover” and Alexandria officials developing Potomac Yard to require bird-safe buildings. We pointed out that as many as one billion birds may be killed by collisions with buildings and that glass and lighting can be designed to deter collisions.
For more information on bird collisions, visit American Bird Conservancy online, where you'll find a great summary of the issue.
The Friends of Accotink Creek have documented sediment control failures from the Beltway/I-495 construction, failures that are sending pollution into the Accotink Creek watershed. You can view pictures online. They and Potomac Riverkeeper filed a lawsuit against Fluor-Lane, the construction company. Their lawsuit was pre-empted by a lawsuit filed by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and a settlement was reached.
Advocates want to strengthen the settlement, arguing for example, that a penalty of $66,450 does not reflect the fact that the site has failed to comply with the law for almost two years. They are also asking for independent inspections and a significant contribution from Fluor-Lane for mitigation. ASNV sent comments urging a stronger settlement.
President Obama Wants to Hear from You
ASNV Advocacy Chair Glenda Booth attended a meeting with Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and other federal officials on June 25, part of President Barack Obama’s White House Initiative on America’s Great Outdoors.
President Obama in April said that “we are losing touch with too many of the places and proud traditions that have helped to make America special.” He launched an effort to reconnect Americans to our natural resources and to create corridors and connectivity across of natural, historic and cultural resources. The initiative also seeks to “use science-based management practices to restore and protect our lands and waters for future generations.”
He has invited suggestions and comments online, at America's Great Outdoors. Secretary Salazar will submit a report to the President by November 15, 2010.
How Did They Vote
The Virginia League of Conservation Voters has scored the 2010 conservation votes of all members of the Virginia General Assembly. Visit their website to learn how your state senator and delegate voted. The General Assembly will convene again in January 2011 and all delegates will be up for election next year.
U. S. Representatives at Stake in November Election
Virginians will elect all members of the U. S. House of Representatives on November 2. For information on filed candidates and deadlines, click here. To volunteer to help the candidate of your choice, Google his or her name to find the campaign office. To learn about the 2009 environmental record of incumbents in the current U. S. Congress, view League of Conservation Voters' scorecard.
Upcoming Field Trips
Registration is not required unless noted. Contact the ASNV office at 703-438-6008 or email@example.com 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.
Twin Branches Nature Trail, Reston
Sunday, July 25, 7:30-10:30 AM
Joanne and David Bauer will lead this walk through stream valley and mature trees. Surprises often turn up here. The first part of the trail is rather steep and rocky downhill, so wear appropriate footwear. For directions and additional information, click here.
Sky Meadows State Park
Saturday, July 31, 8:30-11:30 AM
Join Ava Benami to look for the Red-headed Woodpeckers and other resident birds, plus butterflies and dragonflies. For directions and additional information, click here.
Snakeden Branch, Reston
Sunday, August 15, 7:30-10:30 AM
Gavin Small will lead this walk through the restored Snakeden Branch stream valley. For directions and additional information, click here.
Bombay Hook NWR, Delaware
Saturday, August 28, all day
Join Larry Meade to look for migrating shorebirds on the refuge and in surrounding areas. Meet Larry at the refuge visitor center at 9:00 AM. Return home by early evening. Bring lunch, water, insect repellent, sunhat, binoculars and scope if you have one. Limit 20. Registration required. Contact the ASNV office at 703-438-6008 or firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your space. Questions? Contact Larry at 703-206-9030 (h), 571-275-2523 (c) or email@example.com. For directions and additional information, click here.
Remember to check our website regularly for more walks, classes and other activities.
Take the LEAPP®!
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.
LEAPP is taking a mid-summer break. Please check back next month for more classes and workshops.
Cliff Fairweather, ASNV's naturalist, shows an insect to members who participated in his workshop on pollinators. Join us in the fall when the workshops resume.
Help Audubon Society Respond to the Gulf Oil Spill Damage
As you may have seen in a note from National Audubon Society, Audubon Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi staff and chapters are preparing for impacts to birds, wildlife and important habitat from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Audubon is coordinating volunteer efforts and you can help!
If you are interested in volunteering, please click here.
Check out Our Photo Album!
Have you visited our Flickr photo album recently? If not, you can stop by for a visit today to see the latest photos and comments. If you’re not a member yet, join today. It’s easy.
Join Jim Waggener in his ongoing wildlife surveys at two of Northern Virginia's best birding spots. Surveys are held every Wednesday, alternating 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. Call Jim at 703-567-3555 for more details or to reserve your space.
Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge
- July 28
- August 11
- August 25
Take I-95 to Woodbridge exit 161. Go south on Rt. 1 to Dawson Beach Road, turn left, and go to the central parking area.
Meadowood on Mason Neck
- July 21
- August 4
- August 18
Take I-95 to Lorton exit 163. Turn left on Lorton Road, right on Rt. 1, and left on Gunston Road. About a mile past the elementary school you will see Meadowood’s horse pastures and signs on the right. Enter through the iron gateway, drive straight ahead and park by the stables.
Butterfly and Dragonfly Surveys
Join Jim Waggener each Friday, from April through October, in his ongoing survey of the butterflies and dragonflies at four locations in Fairfax and Prince William Counties. Limit: 4 individuals each week. Reservations required. Call Jim at 703-567-3555 for reservations and directions.
Note: Surveys may be cancelled for inclement weather.
- August 6, Metz
- August 13, Occoquan Regional Park
- August 20, Occoquan Bay NWR
- August 27, Meadowood
The Nature of Meadowood
Join an experienced naturalist to discover the special diversity of wildlife and natural habitats within the Bureau of Land Management's Meadowood Recreation Area. Trips are limited to 10. Call BLM's Jinx Fox, 703-928-0186, for reservations.
- Saturday, August 21 at 8:30 AM
- Saturday, September 11 at 8:30 AM
Take I-95 to Lorton exit 163. Turn left on Lorton Road, right on Rt. 1, and left on Gunston Road. About a mile past the elementary school you will see Meadowood's horse pastures and signs on the right. Enter through the iron gateway, drive straight ahead, and park by the stables.
Eakin Park Bird Walk
Every Monday morning, weather permitting
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 a.m. Dec. through Feb. and 7:00 a.m. the rest of the year. No need to sign up. The walk generally goes for a couple of 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.
Environmental Education Scholarships Available
NOVA Outside is offering two scholarships to the Virginia Environmental Education Conference on September 15 and 16 in Orange, Virginia. These scholarships are available to anyone involved in environmental or outdoor education as a professional or on a volunteer basis. The scholarships provide $100 to offset registration, travel and lodging costs for attending the conference. Scholarship recipients will be responsible for writing an article on their experiences for use by NoVA Outside as well as disseminating the information learned at the conference in the community. They may also ask scholarship recipients to represent NoVA Outside at a September 14 leaders meeting in Shenandoah, Virginia if feasible. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org by July 22.
Are You Interested in Natural History?
The Education Committee of the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia coordinates ASNV's workshops. If you have ideas for classes, would like to teach a workshop, know of good instructors, or would like to help in any way, we welcome your thoughts. We meet approximately 4 to 6 times a year. Please send your feedback to Kristy Liercke at email@example.com or 703-255-3021. Thanks!
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 Cliff Fairweather at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-256-6895.
You Can 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 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.