July 2012
In This Issue
Field Trips
Native Plant Starter Kits
Advocacy Update
Leaders for Nature Walks
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

  • July 25
  • August 29
Meadowood on Mason Neck
  • July 11
  • August 15

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:
  • July 13: OBNWR
  • July 20: Meadowood Recreation Area
  • July 27: Metz Wetlands
  • Aug 3: Occoquan Regional Park
  • Aug 10: OBNWR
  • Aug 17: Meadowood Recreational Area
  • Aug 24: Metz Wetands

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

Help make a difference!
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.
Message from the ASNV President

Dear members, partners and friends:


ASNV is a remarkable community of people willing to take action to support the Audubon mission to conserve and restore natural ecosystems. I'm honored to be among so many dedicated volunteers who care about protecting the environment and want to give back to our growing community. I thank Bruce Johnson for his time and talent as ASNV president and look forward to working with him on our leadership team as we welcome some new names to our board of directors. I'd also love to hear ideas and suggestions from members and partners who are involved--or would like to become involved -- in any facet of ASNV's mission.


We simply cannot be passive in the face of obvious environmental pressures on our shrinking planet! ASNV's citizen science, advocacy, education, and conservation programs present countless opportunities to make a difference. ASNV has conducted the annual Northern Virginia Bird Survey since 1995. The most recent update (which can be found here) documents a steady decline in the abundance of birds in our region. This coincides with National Audubon Society data that has prompted a new strategy to focus more attention on our hemispheric migratory flyways.


Our Audubon at Home wildlife sanctuary certification program is one way to help with the Atlantic flyway by stitching together eco-friendly habitat. We now have over 30 volunteers - and growing - that are ready to consult with property owners of all types on how to create and enhance local habitat for birds and other beneficial wildlife. Most volunteers are also members of our local partners, Virginia Master Naturalists and Master Gardeners, and the Potowmack chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society. Get ready for fall planting with a consultation by contacting us at 703-438-6008 or info@audubonva.org.


For those willing to participate in the wildlife sanctuary program by counting some birds, butterflies and native bees on their properties, we have just introduced our "Native Plant Starter Kit" (more info below). Douglas Tallamy, who has studied the critical relationships between native plants and animals, reminds us that we increasingly have what ecologists call "sink" habitats: isolated locales that constantly lose individuals to death and emigration. His unforgettable admonition is, "Increasing the percentage of natives in suburbia is a grassroots solution to the extinction crisis!" So please join us at the grass roots and put a native plant in the ground!


Finally, working to educate and create awareness is integral to all ASNV does. We can always use help and ideas for workshops and classes. We are ready to co-sponsor events and workshops that will further our mission. It's been a long time since ASNV offered Ornithology, but Ray Smith, a highly respected and avid birder (with a formidable life list), will lead a course beginning in February for 12 weeks with 4 field trips. Look for more information in this issue of the newsletter. You can sign up now to assure your place in the class. Do keep in touch, and "Garden as if life depended on it!" (Credit that to Tallamy too).


Terry F. Liercke, President


Field Trips and Birdwalks
Upper Glade Stream Valley, Reston
Sunday, July 15, 7:30-10:30 AM
Join Carolyn Williams and explore the upper reaches of the Glade Stream Valley.
Getting there: Meet at the Glade Pool and Tennis Courts parking lot. From Reston Parkway, go east on Glade. The parking lot will be on your left.

Stratton Woods Park, Reston
Sunday, August 19, 7:30-10:30 AM

This small suburban park has woods and meadows that will offer butterflies as well as birds. Join Bill Brown to explore. From Fairfax County Parkway, turn west on Fox Mill Rd. and take the first right turn into the parking lot for the park.


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.


Advocacy Update
Conservation Depends on You!

Speak Up for Parks: Internet resources for area park planning documents can be found here. If you would like to help ASNV's advocacy efforts, contact Glenda Booth at gbooth123@aol.com or 703-765-5233. Be sure to sign up with National Audubon's action alerts here.


2012 Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp: On July 1, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) will begin selling the 2012 Virginia State Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp. The artwork for the stamp, painted by John Obolewicz, is entitled "Buffleheads at Cape Henry Light" and depicts a pair of bufflehead ducks arching up with outspread wings on the water, with the lighthouses at Cape Henry in the background. Read more...


Two Million Comment on Carbon Rule. Over two million people, including ASNV, sent comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in support of what is known as the "carbon rule." Read more.



President, U.S. Senate, House Races This Year. Along with a U.S. President,Virginia will elect a new U.S. Senator in November, to replace Senator Jim Webb who has announced he will not run again. We will also vote on 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. Few are talking about conservation issues at this time. It is up to us to inject our concerns into those races.

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
Guide to Huntley Meadows Dragonflies. Huntley Meadows Park is noted for its numerous dragonflies, and now the Dragonflies of Huntley Meadows Park Field Guide has been updated. Read more.

State of Canada's Birds. The report draws on 40 years of data to create a picture of the current health of Canada's birds. Birds are crucial indicators of ecosystem health. Overall, nearly half (44%) of the species studied have declined since 1970. Read more.


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
Stay tuned for more details about a fall wildflower workshop. Learn how to identify some common fall wildflowers and plant families as well as the folklore association with plants in this area. 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.