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   Northern Virginia Conservation Trust

 Saving Nearby Nature
The ground-level view of great blue heron nests Photo by Rentz Hilyer, NVCT
Crow's Nest Peninsula, Stafford County
Positive results from nest count at NVCT's Heronry
The annual great blue heron nest count took place last week at NVCT's Potomac Creek Heronry, adjacent to the Crow's Nest Natural Area Preserve in Stafford County. The good news is that the nest count is up from last year, from 226 to 260 nests. NVCT, Stafford County, and the Department of Conservation and Recreation join together to count the nests, and do so each winter when the giant nests are easily visible high up in the trees. Timing is important because the birds start to lay their eggs in March and are then vulnerable to disruption by human presence.

This year the count was done both from the ground and from a drone above the treeline. The annual survey, conducted since 2005, provides data on individual nests and documents the effects of weather events such as the 2012 derecho. This year the team observed significant tree damage from the emerald ash borer within the Heronry and Preserve. Read a Washington Post story about a previous visit to the Heronry to learn more about this important conserved property.
A migrating bird's view of your yard
Northern Flicker by David Boyd Nearby Nature Photo Contest
Too often the view from above is a food desert for birds, and that's something that Plant NOVA Natives wants to avoid. By planting a variety of native tre es, shrubs, vines, grasses, and perennials, we can furnish the nutritious seeds, nuts, fruits, and berries to su stain birds through all f our seasons. Take a look at the organization's website for tips on what and how to plant native. Make your backyard a bright spot for birds.
Land Protection team
Rentz Hilyer, Andrea Reese
Changes in our Land Conservation Team  
Rentz Hilyer joins Andrea Reese on NVCT's land conservation team, our staff members who develop and manage land conservation projects throughout Northern Virginia. Rentz joined NVCT as a stewardship specialist in 2015, and he takes the place of Shannon O'Neil who recently moved to Baltimore.
Salona Meadows cleanup
Alan Ford explains about invasives management
Invasive cleanups at Salona Meadows
There are several volunteer opportunities coming up to help control invasive plants at Salona Meadows in McLean. Alan Ford, president of the Potomack Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society, leads the Saturday cleanups on the following dates: Feb. 3, Feb. 17, Mar. 3, Mar. 17, and Mar. 31. Volunteers will work from 11 a.m. to about 1:30 or 2 p.m.

Email Alan at amford@acm.org if you're interested! The property is protected by a conservation easement that NVCT monitors, and it is slated to become a Fairfax County Park. Contact and parking information is available on our blog at www.nvct.org.
Monarch Caterpillar on Milkweed Photo by Leslie Gelman
Unleash the Potential of Your Backyard
If you're interested in a road trip next week to Shepherdstown, WV, NVCT and its environmental partners are cosponsoring "Living with Nature: Unleashing the Rich Potential of your Own Back Yard" on Thursday, Feb. 8, 7-9 p.m. See our Facebook post for more details. While West Virginia is out of our service area, NVCT is pleased to work with other conservation organizations on this program.
Save the date!
Protecting Our Land, Protecting Our Water
There's no question that land protection -- conserving land forever -- contributes to our personal health and well-being, and to the economic strength of our communities. NVCT's next conservation lunch will focus on the connection between land conservation and water quality. This will be a great opportunity for networking.
Please plan to join us! 
Thursday, March 15, 2018, for lunch 
Belle Haven Country Club, Alexandria
Support Nearby Nature
link to website
Your financial support helps us protect landscapes in Northern Virginia every day. Please consider a gift to NVCT today! 
Please contact us with any questions about the Trust and our work
703-354-5093  |  4022-A Hummer Rd. Annandale, VA 22003  | email info@nvct.org