Hello Everybody!

I rarely say it, but mark your calendars for our Sunday, April 10, Audubon Afternoon to see and hear the award-winning Chris Palmer discussing his book Shooting in the Wild: an Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom, which takes us behind the scenes of popular nature and wildlife films. We'll also pull back the curtains and show you the dark side of wildlife filmmaking, revealing an industry driven in part by money, sensationalism, extreme risk-taking, fabrication, and sadly some abuse of animals. This will really be an interesting afternoon, so come and see us and our speaker Chris Palmer at the National Wildlife Federation building in Reston. Check our website for directions, or call (703-438-6008) or email us.

Speaking of our website, please take a moment to look at it, and check out our latest update. We've (by which I mean, Board Member Marilyn Gaizband and her husband Sam) been working very hard to give it a sharper look with new features and up-to-date articles and announcements. All of this is a collaboration with our newsletter publisher Cristina Santiestevan of Red Bug Media to ensure that you can move from articles in The Flier that interest you via a link to our website for additional information. Let us know what you think. We welcome your comments! And, those of you who may have a separate or commercial need for newsletter or editorial assistance, by all means contact Cristina at Red Bug Media. Her contact information is at the bottom of this newsletter.

Finally, while it might seem that most of our activities are focused within greater Fairfax County, we do have many members in Prince William, Loudoun and Fauquier counties. We know some of our events might be too far for some of you, and we'd like to hear suggestions for activities out your way. So, whether it would be a public advocacy issue -- such as clean streams in Loudoun -- or a wish that we did more bird walks or other things, if there is something you would like to see us playing a greater role in, I'd like to hear from you. While it takes volunteers to do volunteer work, I would like to find ways for us to become more active over time outside our core area so please give me your thoughts.

Stay in touch, Bruce

What Can We Do About Climate Change -- A Workshop For Advocates

Join other advocates and volunteers for a free day-long workshop on climate change issues at the personal, regional and national level. The workshop is scheduled for April 4, from 9 AM - 5 PM, and will be hosted at George Mason University.

Discussions and topics include:
  • What's going on in Congress?
  • Why should people get involved?
  • The science behind climate change
  • How to communicate with elected officials; how to craft an effective message
  • Environmental justice, eco-feminism, mountaintop removal, vegetarianism and more.
Learn more about the event and register online.

Upcoming Field Trips

Registration is not required 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.

Stratton Woods Park, Reston

Sunday, April 10, 7:30 - 10:30 AM
This suburban park has woods, vernal pools and meadows for a surprising variety of birds. Join Bill Brown to explore. For directions and additional information, click here.

Ft. Smallwood, Maryland

Saturday, April 16, 9 AM - 12:30 PM
Reservations required: contact ASNV at 703-438-6008 or info@audubonva.org to reserve your space.
Join local hawk watcher, Nolan Britt, for a trip to the region’s premier spring hawk watching site – Fort Smallwood Park. With good weather, over 100 raptors can be seen in a short time from the hawk watch, and there is the potential for seeing kettles of Broad-winged Hawks. Trip will be canceled if heavy rain is forecast, but will go on if the weather is overcast and will focus more on waterfowl, wading birds, and passerines. Bring binoculars, sunscreen, water, snacks, field guides. Optional items include sunglasses, spotting scope, and a lawn chair. Call Nolan at 571-225-3988 if you have questions or need help with directions. For directions and additional information, click here.

Wildflowers at Riverbend Park

Saturday, April 16, 2 - 4 PM
Spring ephemerals put on a spectacular show along the Potomac River. Join Katy Simenson for a walk among the bluebells and other early blooming flowers. Meet at the Visitor Center. Reservations are not required, but Katy would appreciate a call at 703-281-7129 if you plan to attend. For directions and additional information, click here.

Riverbend Park

Sunday, April 17, 10 AM - noon
Rob and Crystal Young will lead this walk along the river in search of early arriving songbirds. Meet at the boat launch by the Visitor Center. For directions and additional information, click here.

Bright Pond, Reston

Sunday, May 1, 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, which is co-sponsored with Reston Association and The Bird Feeder. Come early for coffee and goodies. For directions and additional information, click here.

Coming Soon!! Delaware Bay Weekend Fieldtrip

May 20-23, 2011
Ray Smith will again lead this trip at the height of shorebird migration. The Beacon Motel in Lewes, DE, will be our base, with birding starting at Cape Henlopen State Park on Friday, May 20. In the evening, Ray will hold a shorebird identification class, and discuss the natural history of the Horseshoe Crab. Saturday will be spent at several great places on the Bay that are famous for Horseshoe Crab eggs that feed the migrating shorebirds—Broad Kill Beach Rd., Prime Hook, Satellite Beach, and Mispillion Lighthouse. On Sunday, we will drive to Port Mahon and Bombay Hook. Reservations are needed. Limit is 20. Contact Ray to sign up at 571-286-7856 or bluebird58@verizon.net. More information available online.

And more!!

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.

Biodiversity of the Potomac Gorge

Sunday, March 27, 10 AM - 1 PM The Potomac Gorge is one of the most densely biodiverse locations on the East Coast, boasting endemic plant communities and hundreds of state rare plants. All this survives in the middle of an urban region. Join Mary Travaglini from The Nature Conservancy at Great Falls Park, Virginia, for a lecture and walk to discover how rare plant communities, geology, and the flooding of the Potomac River combine to create an ecological treasure in our own backyard. One highlight will be early spring wildflowers. For directions and additional information, click here.

Beginning Birding Workshop

Class: Thursday, April 7, 7 - 9 PM
Field Trip: Saturday, April 9, 7:30 AM - ?

This workshop is an entry level introduction to birding in the Northern Virginia area. We’ll go over some birding basics, including field guides and binoculars, as well as seasonal information on what birds to look for and where to look for them. The workshop includes one, two-hour classroom session and one half-day field trip at a local park. If you have binoculars, be sure to bring them. For directions and additional information, click here.

Bird Life and Behavior

Class: Wednesday, April 27, 7 - 9 PM
Field trip: Saturday, April 30, 7:30 AM - ?
Explore the fascinating world of bird biology and natural history in this introduction to ornithology. Some of the topics to be covered in the lecture include aspects of anatomy and physiology that make birds supremely adapted for flight; maintenance behaviors that promote the well being of the individual bird; social behavior and interactions between birds; major habitat types; migration; reproduction, nest building, and raising young; plumage variations, including keys to identification. We will talk about threats to birds and some conservation strategies and ways that citizens can participate. Field trip will visit several different habitats and provide an opportunity to observe birds doing the things that have been talked about in the lecture. For directions and additional information, click here.

Plant Lore and Ethnobotany

Class: Thursday, April 28, 7 - 9:30 PM
Field Trip: Sunday, May 1, 11:30 AM 3:30 PM

Ethnobotany is the study of how people use indigenous plants. Virginia's flora has a rich history of both real and imagined uses. This LEAPP workshop will familiarize participants in local floral legend, lore, and ethnobotany. The focus will be on native plants, but exotic species (and how some were used by people) will also be covered where appropriate. Plant identification, natural history, and animal associations and interactions will also be part of what is studied. The participants will also discuss the ethics and legality of collecting and the promise and danger of medicinal uses. The field trip will be to Thompson Wildlife Management Area in Linden, VA (see below for directions). Carpool arrangements will be discussed in class. The Thompson Wildlife Management Area one of the largest (millions!) great white trillium displays in the world! This area is resplendent with many (often rare) wildflowers and trees, including native orchids, which is why it is a wildflower registry site for the Virginia Native Plant Society. On the somewhat rocky 2-mile trail, we'll discuss plant folklore, ethnobotany, identification, and any other natural history we have a good chance to happen upon. Bring a bag lunch and water to eat on the trail. For directions and additional information, click here.

Audubon At Home and Beyond

Saturday, May 7, 9 AM - 3 PM
In this workshop, you will learn to put the principles of Audubon at Home to work in your yard, creating a healthier environment for you, your family, and pets, while at the same time giving birds and pollinators a helping hand. Things should be popping in the garden, the birds will be singing, and outdoor activities will make this a fun, informative day. For directions and additional information, click here.

Chesapeake Bay Ecology: Lecture and Field Trip

Co-sponsored by Potomac Overlook Regional Park
Class: Sunday, May 15, 2 – 4:15 PM
Field Trip: Saturday, May 28

An introduction to how the Chesapeake works! Learn about living communities such as baygrasses and marshes, the tides, flora and fauna and more. The Chesapeake, still one of the most productive estuaries in the U.S., needs our understanding and positive help to remain as a healthy ecosystem. For the field trip, join a naturalist in a morning exploration of a lush lowland forest and wetland along the Chesapeake Bay . Highlights include excellent birding, a beaver wetland and fossil hunting at a protected beach. Binoculars are highly recommended. In the afternoon, the group will visit Battle Creek Cypress swamp and the Calvert marine museum. (Lecture open to all. Field trip participants must attend lecture.) For directions and additional information, click here.

Audubon At Home and Beyond

Saturday, June 4, 9 AM - 3 PM
Carol Hadlock's backyard will be your classroom for this workshop, where you will learn to put the principles of Audubon at Home to work in your yard, creating a healthier environment for you, your family, and pets, while at the same time giving birds and pollinators a helping hand. Things should be popping in the garden, the birds will be singing, and outdoor activities will make this a fun, informative day. For directions and additional information, click here.

Advocacy Update: Conservation Depends on You

General Assembly to Reconvene

The Virginia General Assembly will meet on April 4 for their veto session. The big task this year is redistricting of all state delegate and senate districts and districts for members of the U. S. House of Representatives. Stay tuned for updates.

How Did They Vote?

Learn how your elected representatives voted on key conservation issues in 2010 by visiting the League of Conservation Voters online.

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.

Conservation Counts

Join Jim Waggener in his ongoing wildlife surveys at two of Northern Virginia's best birding spots. Surveys are held on scheduled Wednesdays, 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

Upcoming dates
  • March 30
Getting there
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

Upcoming dates
  • April 13
Getting there
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.

Upcoming dates:
  • April 1, Occoquan Regional Park
  • April 8, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge
  • April 15, Meadowood

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.

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 cliff@audubonva.org or 703-256-6895.

Wildlife Center of Virginia: Spring Open House Schedule

The Wildlife Center of Virginia, the nation's leading teaching and research hospital for native wildlife, has scheduled several open houses for Spring 2011. These are rare opportunities to see the inner workings of the Waynesboro facility, as well as meet some of the wildlife that serve as the Center's education ambassadors.

The open houses will be held on:
  • Saturday, April 2
  • Sunday, April 10
The Center will have three separate sessions each day – at 12:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. Each session lasts about an hour. As a wildlife emergency room and hospital, the Wildlife Center is not usually open to the public. The seasonal open houses are the times during the year when visitors may tour the Center. There is no charge to participate in an open house; however, reservations are required by phone (540-942-9453) or email. A limited number of spaces are available for each session.

Earth Day Celebration at Dyke Marsh

Representatives from the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia will bring hawks, falcons and owls to the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, on April 23, from 9 - 11 AM. Erik Oberg, Acting Natural Resource Manager, U. S. National Park Service, will lead a wetlands walk at 10 AM.

Learn more online.

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.

ASNV, 11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Suite 100, Reston, Va 20190
703-438-6008 • info@audubonva.org

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