Over a third of the 99 Audubon at Home Ambassadors gathered on February 17 for the third annual Ambassador Brunch at National Wildlife Federation headquarters, where ASNV also has its office. Sporting color-coded tags identifying their county, AAH Ambassadors from Arlington/City of Alexandria, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William Counties mingled to share experiences and a delicious potluck meal. ASNV President Carl Kikuchi thanked Ambassadors for their work and told them how they are contributing to our observance of the “Year of the Bird.” New ASNV Program Administrator Louise Edsall introduced herself; we are thankful to have her support. Co-Directors Barbara Tuset and Robin Duska outlined revamped program planning for AAH, including goals for habitat growth, volunteers, outreach, and administration.
A highlight was a spirited presentation on native bees by Atziri Ibanez, the National Education Coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Estuarine Research Reserve Program. As a “science translator,” Ms. Ibanez focused brunch attendees on identifying bees in Virginia and understanding their complex, vital functions. We are happy Ms. Ibanez is also an AAH Ambassador in Loudoun County.
Updates from County Coordinators indicated continued AAH progress: For example, Arlington has expanded Ambassador ranks from their original Arlington Master Naturalist base to include several Master Gardeners to serve the many clients in this mostly urban county. To date, AAH has certified nearly 500 properties and 5,000 acres, with more than 250 properties now in the process of certification.
AAH is planning for a very busy 2018!