I hope everyone is enjoying the summer and I hope all of you can come to our next Nature Night which will take place Sunday June 27th from 3-5pm at the Fairfax City Public Library. We have a great agenda in store for you, including s wonderful guest speaker, Andrew Dolby, a professor at Mary Washington College and Vice President of the Virginia Society of Ornithology. We also want you to meet and elect two very impressive new members for our board of directors. We'll also tell you a bit about our budget and how we are spending the money you help us raise, and then we'll hand out the Birdathon awards. Finally, we want to update you on the latest about our move later this summer.
So, please come on out and spend a couple of hours with us. We are really looking forward to seeing you.
Board Member Nominees
This chapter has always been extremely lucky when it comes to the quality of our board members, and this year is no different. We’ve very pleased to offer the following two highly qualified, Northern Virginia residents to our members as nominees for the board of directors. They will be voted on by our membership at our annual meeting and Nature Night on June 27 and if elected will serve 3 year terms. We may actually have a third nominee by June 27, as well as some folks that need to be re-elected for a second term.
Would you like to join our team and become a board member? If so, let us know! For more information please attend the meeting, call the office or keep your eyes peeled for the next newsletter which will have results from the evening’s election.
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.
Oil Spill Spurs Action
The disastrous April 20 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has brought attention to the dangers of offshore oil drilling and the United States’ dependence on fossil fuels that produce greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet at unsustainable rates. Congress is expected to consider legislation this summer address oil drilling safety and accident response. The Virginia legislature will no doubt wrestle with some bills as well in 2011.
National Audubon mobilized quickly to help birds and habitat in the Gulf states. The Volunteer Response Center has more than 20,000 people willing to help. You can donate on their website.
As for other ways to help, the best thing we cna all do is reduce our use of petroleum-based products. Not only will this help reduce the demand for more offshore drilling, but it will also reduce our personal contribtuions to climate change. Here are several things we can all try:
- Drive less. Take public transit. Visit www.wmata.com/. The Metro Trip Planner can help you plan trips on the subway and local buses. Carpool.
- Combine your driving errands to reduce vehicle miles traveled.
- Insist that meetings and other activities be held near public transit.
- Stop using plastic bottles. The Pacific Institute says that the equivalent of 17 million barrels of oil are use to make them. Nearly 90 percent are not recycled but go to landfills where it takes thousands of years for them to decompose.
- Stop using plastic bags. The Sierra Club reports that Americans use 100 billion plastic shopping bags a year, made from around 12 million barrels of oil. They are slow to biodegrade and many end up in trees and waterways and threaten wildlife.
Our Green Infrastructure
Cliff Fairweather, ASNV Naturalist
Infrastructure issues have been in the news a lot in recent years with problems such as failing bridges and deteriorating interstates. This gray infrastructure of roads, storm sewers, power lines and the like needs constant care and updating to serve our needs. However, there is another kind of infrastructure needs our attention more now than ever – our green infrastructure.
Green infrastructure is composed of the natural systems that provide us with services just as essential as those provided by gray infrastructure. Forests, streams, wetlands and other green infrastructure components make possible a range of ecological benefits, such as clean water, clean air, urban cooling, food sources, recreation, and even protection from disease.
In Northern Virginia, we have treated much of our green infrastructure more as a throwaway item rather than a vitally important asset. Streams have been turned into stormwater channels, forest have been fragmented into woodlots, and wetlands have been destroyed. The result has been the decline of many local native bird species and other wildlife.
There’s a chance that this approach to green infrastructure might be changing, however. The Northern Virginia Regional Commission is working on an ecological corridors project that will map out components of our region’s green infrastructure, giving local jurisdictions a clearer idea of what we need to protect in order to continue to enjoy the goods and services nature provides for free.
I believe that ASNV’s Audubon at Home Wildlife Sanctuary program has an important role to play in this trend by encouraging homeowners and others to create native habitat on their properties. These habitats for local wildlife also provide ecosystem services, such as stormwater runoff reduction and cooling shade. In this way, our Wildlife Sanctuary program could contribute to what I hope will become a growing regional trend towards green infrastructure planning and conservation.
Cliff manages the ASNV Audubon at Home program; he can be reached at email@example.com or 703-256-6895.
Eakin Park Bird Walk
Every Monday morning, weather permitting
Hidden Oaks Nature Center (FCPA) sponsors weekly bird walks along the Accotink Stream Valley.
Spring migration at Eakin Park has ended and Neotropicals including Acadian flycatcher, red-eyed vireo, and northern parula are engaged in breeding activities. Some resident birds have already produced and fledged their first batch of young most notably cardinals, titmice, chickadees, and gnatcatchers. We finally got a good look at two of the park’s young barred owls. We were alerted by their begging sounds. The adult accompanying them gave us a long disapproving stare, strongly suggesting that we move on. We did. The same morning we discovered that the raccoon we’d seen from time to time sleeping while draped over a branch adjacent to a large tree cavity was a mom and raising three youngsters.
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.
The Nature of Meadowood
Saturday, July 17 at 8:30 AM
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.
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.
Reflections on Pt. Pelee National Park, Ontario, Canada, May 6-9, 2010.
New birding friends, a considerably improved life list (80 species first day, 20+ Warblers), mama wild turkey tending her eggs right off the trail, great horned owl nestlings with mama's watchful eye closeby, people packed trails but serene times in the woods and on the beach, numerous stands of beautiful wildflowers, hanging out until dark to observe the American woodcock's astounding mating display, a most amazing guide, a well organized trip . . . these are some of my thoughts as I reflect on my recent trip to Pt. Pelee with ASNV. What a great experience! - Sharon McCracken
Upcoming Field Trips
Registration is not required unless noted. Contact the ASNV office at 703-256-6895 or firstname.lastname@example.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.
Buttermilk Creek, Reston
Sunday, June 27, 7:30-10:30 AM
Explore the forest, stream valley and a marshy area near Lake Fairfax that we have not previously explored. Cindy Foster will lead. For directions and additional information, click here.
Meadowlark Gardens, Vienna
Sunday, July 11, 3:00 PM
Terry Liercke will lead this stroll through the Potomac Valley Collection of native plants, pointing out how Native Americans and early colonists used these plants. In the meadow, we’ll look for butterflies, and down by the pond, dragonflies. And of course, birds everywhere. For directions and additional information, click here.
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.
Remember to check our website regualrly 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 703-256-6895. 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.
Sex, Lies, and . . . Pollination Ecology?
Wednesday, July 7, 7 - 9:30 PM (classroom)
Saturday, July 10, 9 - noon (field trip)
Join ASNV naturalist Cliff Fairweather for a class and field trip to explore the seemingly familiar but, in many ways, little known world of plants and their pollinators. For fees, directions and more information, please visit our website.
Remember to check our website regualrly for more walks, classes and other activities.
Advocacy Update: Conservation Depends on You
Senate Kills Bill to Hamstring EPA; Virginians Vote No
The U. S. Senate on June 10 rejected Senator Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) bill to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) use of its authority to control greenhouse gas emissions under the current Clean Air Act. The bill disapproved EPA’s scientific finding that carbon dioxide is a pollutant that endangers the public health and welfare. The vote was 47 to 53.
Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb both voted against the bill. Both issued statements. Senator Webb indicated that he supports a similar bill introduced by Senator John Rockefeller (D-WV) that would suspend EPA regulation of greenhouse gases from stationary sources (like power plants) for two years. Most environmental organizations have concerns about the Rockefeller bill.
Many Auduboners and others urged Senators Warner and Webb to oppose the Murkowski bill. It is important for Auduboners to thank them for this key vote. Had the Murkowski bill passed, the prospects for Senate passage of a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill would have been bleak. To thank our Virginia senators, take a few minutes to email them via www.senate.gov.
Connolly Supports Bird-Safe Buildings
At ASNV’s request, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-11) has agreed to cosponsor, H.R. 4797 (Quigley), a bill to require that each public building constructed, acquired or altered by the General Services Administration (GSA) incorporate, to the maximum extent possible, bird-safe building materials and design features. The legislation would require GSA to take similar actions on existing buildings, where practicable.
Auduboner Steve Bruckner spoke to Fairfax County’s Tyson’s Task Force on March 17 on behalf of ASNV and urged planners to include bird-safe buildings in their plans to redevelop the Tyson’s Corner area.
As many as one billion birds may be killed by collisions with buildings every year in the United States, according to studies by Dr. Daniel Klem, of Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania. Between 50 and 90 percent of birds involved in collisions die, usually from internal hemorrhaging, according to the American Bird Conservancy. Many stunned or injured birds fall prey to cats and other predators.
The problem is two-fold. Collisions often occur when birds fly into high rise buildings, because of glass in the buildings and lights on at night.
Gear Up for the November Election
Virginians will elect all members of the U. S. House of Representatives on November 2. For information on filed candidates and deadlines, visit http://www.sbe.virginia.gov/cms/Election_Information/Election_Calendar_Schedule.htm. 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.
Annual Butterfly Count
Join in the Annual Butterfly Count at the Occoquan Bay NWR and Meadowood Recreation Area, Saturday, June 26, 8:00 a.m. – 1 p.m. This is the 10th year of ASNV's participation in the North American Butterfly Association's "4th of July Count."
For details and to RSVP, contact Jim Waggener at 703-567-3555 or email@example.com.
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.
Learn How to Bring About a Clean Energy Future
Sharpen your advocacy skills and learn how to bring about more clean, renewable energy that will enhance the environment and curb greenhouse gas emissions by attending this free evening workshop. The workshop runs from 5:30 to 8 PM, and includes dinner, information on energy policies and impacts, and an opportunity for networking.
June 29 at the James J. McCoart Government Center (1 County Complex Court Woodbridge)
This workshop is sponsored by the Virginia Conservation Network and the Virginia League of Conservation Voters.
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
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
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.
- June 25, Occoquan Bay NWR
- July 2, Meadowood
- July 9, Metz
- July 16, Occoquan Regional Park
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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.