Summer is fast approaching, and everybody is busy making plans. We hope your plans include our June 5th Audubon Afternoon. We'll meet at the usual time of 3-5pm at the National Wildlife Federation building in Reston. It's our annual meeting and our opportunity to tell you what we've done all year, to give you a budget breakdown and to bring on new board members for which we need your vote. We hope to see you there!
We will also have a wonderful nature talk presented by Martin Ogle who is not only a member of our board but is the chief naturalist for the Northern Virginia Park Authority. This has been a difficult year for Mother Earth, with the Gulf oil spill calamity, the Mississippi River showing its strength and the recent deadly swath of tornados throughout the South. Martin will address all of this in terms of the "living earth" concept bringing in GAIA theory, geology, botany and natural history. I guarantee it will be a fascinating look at Earth, perhaps in a way new to you, so please come and see us for a great afternoon
Stay in touch, Bruce
Being Good Neighbors to Our Parks
Cliff Fairweather, ASNV Naturalist
We recently held one of our Audubon at Home and Beyond programs at the home of Paul Kovenock in Arlington. His property is adjacent to Lubber Run Park and provides a remarkable habitat for local wildlife. During our day there, we could hear a variety of migratory songbirds overhead, including Black-throated Blue Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Northern Parula, and Scarlet Tanager, Great-crested Flycather and Gray Catbird.
Paul has brought the park into his backyard instead of, like too many park neighbors throughout our region, extending his yard into the park. Charles Smith, a natural resources specialist for the Fairfax County Park Authority, noted at a recent Northern Virginia Urban Forestry Roundtable that encroachment by neighbors is one of the major threats local protected natural areas.
Abuse of neighboring parkland can take many forms. It can be something as seemingly innocuous as dumping yard wastes over your fence into the local park. Innocuous, that is, until you consider that yard waste can include seeds of invasive exotic plants and can also smother native plants struggling to survive at the edges of a park. More serious encroachments involve extending backyards past the park boundary well into the park and even setting up tables, chairs and playground equipment.
In addition to essentially stealing public land, such encroachments chip away at our local natural heritage. Every encroachment shrinks natural areas a little and the cumulative effect can be quite dramatic, when it’s all added up. Encroachment shrinks core habitat so vital to wildlife such as box turtles, spotted salamanders, and wood thrushes and allows greater penetration by house sparrows, starlings and cowbirds.
I believe Audubon at Home can be part of the solution to encroachment by encouraging park neighbors to follow the example set by folks like Paul Kovenock. I like to think of this as a reverse encroachment that, if widely adopted, could extend a buffer around our local natural areas as well as providing additional habitat for wildlife. If you border a local park, consider having an Audubon at Home Ambassador give you a free consultation on how to be a good neighbor to your local park.
Upcoming Field Trips
Registration is not required unless noted. Contact the ASNV office at 703-438-6008 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.
Clarke's Crossing, Vienna
Wednesday, May 25, 7:30 - 10:30 AM
Join Carol and Jay Hadlock to walk a stretch of the W&D Trail looking for Indigo Buntings, Orchard and Baltimore Orioles, Yellow-breasted Chats and spring warblers. For directions and additional information, click here.
Sapsucker Woods and Upper Glade Stream Valley, Reston
Sunday, May 29, 7:30 - 10:30 AM
The stream valley should be full of birds, plus this is a beautiful place for a spring walk. For directions and additional information, click here.
Sky Meadows State Park
Saturday, June 4, 8 AM
Registration required: Contact the ASNV office at email@example.com or 703-438-6008 to RSVP.
Meet Marc Ribaudo in the parking lot at the Visitor Center to explore varied habitats in the park. For directions and additional information, click here.
Northern Virginia Teen Bird Club at Piney Grove Nature Conservancy Preserve
Saturday, June 11, all day
Registration required: Contact Mr. Atwood at firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP.
Learn about the work being done by the Center for Conservation Biology and The Nature Conservancy to restore populations of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. We should also find Bobwhites, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Brown-headed Nuthatches, Chats, Prothonotary Warblers, and lots of other birds of southern forests, fields, and swamps. For directions and additional information, click here.
Glade Stream Valley, Reston
Sunday, June 12, 7:30 - 10:30 AM
This is one of Reston’s birding hotspots, and for leaders Joanne and David Bauer, it’s their backyard. Join them for a morning of fine birding. 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.
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.
Saturday, July 30, 9 AM - 12 PM
Monarch populations are dwindling due to climate, parasites, predation, pesticides and loss of habitat. Rearing monarchs is a way to ensure the success of local populations. The butterflies spend their last brood here before flying south to Mexico. Learn a little about their natural history and biology, and then collect eggs and caterpillars to raise in captivity. And if we get brave, we'll tag a few. For directions and additional information, click here.
Advocacy Update: Conservation Depends on You
Advocate for Birds and Habitat
The Bird Conservation Alliance is having an Advocacy Training on May 17 and a Lobby Day in the Congress on May 18. If you would like to participate, please register online.
The program will cover the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act; North American Wetlands Conservation Act; State Wildlife Grants; Making Wind Development Bird-Smart; Being an Effective Advocate; Preparing for Meetings; and Role Plays and Lobby Day Logistics.
Bird-Smart Wind, Send Comments
By 2030, there will be more than 100,000 wind turbines in the U.S. and these are expected to kill at least one million birds each year—probably significantly more, says the American Bird Conservancy. Poorly sited wind farms can be very harmful, in fact lethal, to birds, bats and other animals. Their footprints impact habitat.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently accepting comments on its proposed voluntary wind energy guidelines until May 19. Please submit your comments online.
View the Federal Register notice (pdf download).
View the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website about the guidelines.
Learn about Offshore Wind in Virginia
The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is having an offshore wind summit June 4, in Richmond. A new offshore wind advocacy coalition in Virginia is having a conference on June 22 in Virginia Beach.
Redistricting Occurring This Year
You may be in a new state delegate and senator district. The Virginia legislature and Governor Bob McDonnell drew new district lines for state and federal elective positions. Local governments are drawing boundaries for local elected officials. Virginia’s plans must be approved by the U. S. Department of Justice. You can view the new maps online.
In November, Virginians will elect state legislators and local officials in many jurisdictions to represent their redrawn districts. To see the 2011 elections calendar, visit the State Board of Elections online. Campaigns offer many opportunities to meet and work for candidates and to influence their conservation platform.
Stop Toxic Air Pollutants; Support EPA
The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a new rule to reduce toxic air pollutants like mercury, arsenic and dioxin. Many industries and some in Congress are trying to block EPA. Auduboners may wish to let EPA and members of Congress know that strong, health-based protections against toxic air pollutants are needed. Coal-fired power plants are a major source of these pollutants. Toxic air pollutants are linked cancer, heart disease, neurological damage, birth defects, asthma attacks and even premature death. Mercury is found in fish and goes up the food chain. It has been found in birds like the wood thrush and great egret. You can find information at this American Lung Association website. Here are all the ways you can submit comments:
- E-mail: Comments may be sent to email@example.com, Attention Docket No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0234. Note: To make sure all email comments are counted correctly, please include the docket number in the email or (preferably)in the subject line.
- Online, at Regulations.gov: Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
- Online, at the EPA Air and Radiation Docket website: Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
- Fax: Fax your comments to: (202) 566-9744, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0234.
- Mail: Send your comments on the NESHAP action to: EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0234. Please include a total of two copies. In addition, please mail a copy of your comments on the information collection provisions to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attn: Desk Officer for EPA, 725 17th St., NW, Washington, DC 20503.
- Hand Delivery or Courier: Deliver your comments to: EPA Docket Center, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460.
Advocate for Parks
Here’s a chance to influence Fairfax County parks, what kind we have, how many, how they are managed and for what purposes. Attend a listening session with Fairfax County Park Authority John Dargle. All are at 7 PM:
Learn more online.
- July 21, Sully District Government Center
- September 8, Dranesville District Government Center
- November 17, Green Springs Garden and Park
Speak Out! Interfaith Workshop on Environmental Advocacy
Plan to attend a Sunday afternoon forum and learn how people of faith are dedicated to environmental stewardship and action. Speakers will describe their work and some of the pressing environmental challenges that face us.
Hear how Beth Norcross of Wesley Theological Seminary and the Green Seminaries Initiative, a former Senate staffer and environmental lobbyist, draws strength from her faith in undertaking environmental advocacy. Learn about several opportunities right here in our own communities to fight climate pollution. And practice concrete skills that congregational green teams will need to become effective climate activists: writing letters-to-the-editor and opinion pieces, having effective meetings with elected officials, and rallying your own congregation around petition and postcard campaigns. Whether your congregational green team has been participating in advocacy efforts for years or is new to speaking out in the public square, this workshop is for you!
Where: St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, near Clarendon Metro Station
When: June 12, Sunday, 2-5 p.m.
Sponsor: Northern Virginia Climate Action Network
How Did They Vote?
Learn how your elected representatives voted on key conservation issues in 2010 by visiting the League of Conservation Voters online.
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
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.
- May 27, Occoquan Regional Park
- June 3, Occoquan Bay NWR
- June 10, Meadowood
- June 17, Metz Wetlands
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.
Upcoming dates (Saturdays, 8:30 - 11:30 AM)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-256-6895.
Watch Virginia's Eagles
Check out the activity in this bald eagle’s nest in the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. One enthusiast said on April 7, "Eaglets are just a month old, have lost their white fuzz and are growing fast and eating often. You can still tell the birth order by the differences in size." Watch 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.