Articles, Initiatives and Program Updates 

February Stream Monitoring Events
There are plenty of February stream monitoring events to choose from, including many from our friends in Prince William County.
-Saturday, February 3, 9:30am - Noon: Stream Monitoring Session, Bristow
-Sunday, February 4, Noon - 2:30pm: Stream Monitoring Session, Haymarket
-Saturday, February 10th, 1:30 - 4pm: Stream Monitoring Session, Oakton
-Saturday, February 17th, 10am - 12:30pm: Stream Monitoring Workshop, Nokesville
-Saturday, February 24th, 10am - 12:30pm:  Stream Monitoring Session, Woodbridge
-Sunday, February 25th, 1:30 - 4pm: Stream Monitoring Workshop, Springfield
2018 Native Seedling Sale: Place You Orders Now! 
Be shovel ready for the spring: Orders for the  NoVA Conservation District's 2018 seedling sale can be placed starting February 1st! This year's species were all chosen for their deer tolerance. The Shrub and Small Tree Package ($16.95) will include two each of the following: Common Witch Hazel, Silky Dogwood, False Indigo Bush, Spicebush and Shadblow Serviceberry. The Tree Package ($11.95) will include two each of Eastern Redbud, Shortleaf Pine and Pawpaw. All species are Virginia natives and wildlife friendly! Seedling packages can be picked up at the Packard Center in Annandale on April 20th and 21st. This year, there will also be a handful of build-your-own tumbler composter kits for sale. Order them with your seedlings and pick both up at the same time and place.

Get Ready for the 2018 Potomac River Watershed Cleanup!
Sure, it's still winter, but it's not too early to start planning for the Alice Ferguson Foundation's 30th annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup. Volunteer to pick up trash at one of the many participating cleanup sites throughout Fairfax County and beyond, or better yet, get some friends or family together and organize your own cleanup - with bags and gloves provided, of course! If you've never led a cleanup before, consider attending the Site Leader training workshop on February 10th. The official day of the Watershed Cleanup is April 14th, but events will be held throughout the month of April, and even into March and May. Please visit the Alice Ferguson Foundation website to volunteer.

Help Make the Red Salamander Virginia's State Salamander
Fairfax County's own Salamander Savers 4-H Club is lobbying the state legislature to designate the Red Salamander the official state salamander of Virginia. The club's  young naturalists believe that such a designation will help them spread the word about the importance of salamanders across the state.  To support their bill, visit the Salamander Savers website for instructions on contacting your representatives. And if you're between the ages of 8-18 and are interested in learning more about how to help the environment, consider becoming a Club member!
Rain Barrel Spring Workshop Dates Announced
The Northern Virginia Rain Barrel Partners' have announced the spring dates for their popular build-your-own workshops and pre-made rain barrel sale. Build-your-own workshops will be held on March 24th and April 14th, and the pre-made barrel sale will be April 20th-21st. Online registration and ordering will open in early-to-mid February

Job Opening: Watershed Projects Manager, Arlington County
  Arlington's Department of Environmental Services is seeking a Watershed Projects Manager to support the County's stormwater program. This employee will implement watershed retrofit and stream restoration projects; manage stormwater projects from design through construction; work collaboratively to ensure projects are maintained and monitored; and engage and inform residents, commissions, and county officials. This employee will also review development plans affecting riparian buffers, streams and wetlands. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
Public Comment Period on the Northern VA Salt Management Strategy
Salt is a water quality issue in snowy urban areas, so much so that one of Fairfax County's largest creeks - Accotink - is listed as officially impaired because of the high chloride levels in its water. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is working with Fairfax County and neighboring jurisdictions to develop a Northern Virginia salt management strategy that will satisfy the need for safe winter travel, reduce salt pollution in our waterways, and get Accotink Creek into compliance with water quality standards. Information about the strategy is available online, and the public comment period is open through February 16th.

Apply for the 2018 Youth Conservation Camp!
For over 35 years, the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts has sponsored a week long summer conservation camp in July for Virginia high school students on the campus of Virginia Tech. The camp provides a week of learning about Virginia's natural resources from conservation professionals and university faculty. Youth Conservation Camp is a selective program. Interested students must send their applications to the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, whose staff will select which students will attend and be eligible for partia l scholarships. The pre-scholarship cost is $550.

College Scholarships for Natural Resource/Conservation Students
The Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts annually offers several $1,000 scholarships to graduating high school seniors for college study. The scholarships support studies related to natural resource conservation. Fairfax County students must submit their applications to the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, which will select one student for consideration by the state committee. Applications can be found online and are due by March 12, 2018
Litter in Our Waters: From the Potomac to the Oceans
Litter on land does not stay on land. Every time it rains, it washes first into our local streams, then on to our rivers and eventually the ocean. Recent articles shed light on the scope of the problem. Locally, an op-ed in the Washington Post discusses the amazing variety of trash that can still be found in our improving hometown river, the Potomac. Globally, unless behaviors change, there could be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.

The Farm Bill: Not Just About Farms
From it's name, you would think the Farm Bill deals only with farms. In fact, this sprawling piece of legislation includes much more, from urban and suburban conservation to food assistance for the needy. Find out what's really in the Farm Bill and how it can affect your friends and neighbors, regardless of where you live.

Seeking Funding for Your Conservation and Efficiency Projects?
The Conservation Assistance Program (CAP) can provide technical assistance and cost-share funds for stormwater projects on private or common land and energy efficiency upgrades to community property. For more information about CAP - including application deadlines, eligible projects and funding levels - please visit the program webpage.     

Remove Invasive Plants from Fairfax County's Natural Areas
Invasive invaders such as kudzu, wisteria and stilt grass are pushing out important native flora and diminishing the health of our parks. Help turn the tide against these exotic invaders by joining the Invasive Management Area (IMA) volunteers and pulling these weeds out by their roots. Several workdays are scheduled in February! The IMA calendar can be found online.
February Calendar of Events

brisSaturday, February 3rd
Stream Monitoring Session: Bristow, Prince William County
Time: 9:30 am - Noon
Location: Broad Run/Dawkin's Branch, near Victory Lakes Elementary School

Join Certified Volunteer Monitor Sonnie Cuffey at his adopted outdoor science lab to learn more about water quality. From 9:30 - 10, Sonnie will demonstrate how to calibrate and take water temperature and pH readings. Invertebrate monitoring will start at 10. For directions and to RSVP, please contact Sonnie.

cat Sunday, February 4th
Stream Monitoring Session: Haymarket, Prince William County
Time: Noon - 2:30pm
Location: James Long Park, 4603 James Madison Hwy, Haymarket, VA

Join pioneer Certified Volunteer Monitor Elaine Wilson as she monitor's her adopted site along beautiful Catharpin Run in James Long Park. Spots are limited! Please RSVP to Elaine.

Thursday, February 8th
School Age Green Educators (SAGE) Meetup
Time: 5 - 6pm
Location: Randolph Elementary, 1306 S. Quincy St., Arlington, VA 22204

NOVA Outside's SAGE group hosts monthly meetups during the school year, featuring green school tours and networking with other educators. This month, learn about Randolph Elementary's 4-H Outdoor Explorers program. This afterschool series, organized by the Cooperative Extension's Arlington office, pairs volunteer teams with youth to explore the great outdoors. Volunteers lead exciting, hands-on activities each week for six weeks. Learn about this curriculum and get ideas on how this program might work at your site. Free. Please contact for more information.

oakSaturday, February 10th
Stream Monitoring Sesion: Oakton
Time: 1:30 - 4pm
Location: Rocky Branch, near Hunter Mill Rd

Help Certified Volunteer Monitor Cathy Greulich assess her adopted stream site in a wooded area of Oakton. Rocky Branch is a tributary of Difficult Run that drains portions of Oakton and Vienna. Collection will be done outdoors, counting will be done indoors. To RSVP and get directions, please contact Cathy.  The snow date is February 17th.

Saturday, February 10th
Homeowner Rain Garden Workshop
Time: 9:30am - Noon
Location: Providence Community Center, 3001 Vaden Dr, Fairfax, VA
Learn how to properly locate, design, construct and maintain a small-scale rain garden--a landscaped area that is designed to capture rain water and allow it to soak into the ground. Rain gardens allow polluted runoff from roads and buildings to percolate through the soil, slowing its flow and preventing pollutants from reaching local streams and the Potomac River.  Free, but registration is required.  Please RSVP to

fergSaturday, February 10th
Potomac River Cleanup Site Leader Training
Time: 10:30am - Noon
City of Fairfax Regional Library, 10360 North St, Fairfax, VA 22030

Interested in leading your own community litter cleanup, but not sure how to do it? This training will equip you with the knowledge, skills and supplies needed to organize a transformative volunteer event. Then, put your new skills to the test during April's Potomac River Watershed Cleanup! Organized by the Alice Ferguson Foundation. Free, but please RSVP to Hannah Seligman and put "Site Leader Training" in your subject line.

nokSaturday, February 17th
Stream Monitoring Workshop: Nokesville, Prince William County
Time: 10am - 12:30pm
Location: Cedar Run, Nokesville, VA

Help monitor this beautiful stretch of Cedar Run  in the Evergreen  Acres Farm community. To RSVP, please contact Veronica Tangiri.

Tuesday, February 20th - Wednesday, February 21st
Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Training: Level 1
Time: 9am - 4pm
Location: Arlington

The Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional (CBLP) Certification is a new, voluntary credential system for professionals who design, install, and maintain sustainable landscapes.
Each class, led by regional experts, incorporates classroom work with a field-based practicum. CBLP emphasizes critical thinking, interactive learning, and collaborative practice. The cost is $425 and registration is available online. Can't make it in February? The class will be held twice in March in Norfolk, VA and Columbia, MD.

Wednesday, February 21st
Outdoor and Experiential Educators Workshop
Time: 8:30am - 3:30pm
Location: Blue Ridge School, St. George, VA

This free workshop brings together colleagues from the DC area for good company, great conversation, and useful presentations. Learn what your colleagues are doing at their respective schools with regards to outdoor and experiential learning. Register online.

Thursday, February 22nd
Gardening For Butterflies and Other Pollinators
Time: 7:30 - 9pm
Location: Long Branch Nature Center, 625. S. Carlin Springs Road, Arlington, VA
Come learn about gardening for butterflies and other pollinators from guest speaker Sylvia Smechel, the lead horticulturalist for the National Museum of Natural History. Free, no registration required.  Presented by the Washington Area Butterfly Club. Please call 703-560-8556 for more information.

powSaturday, February 24th
Stream Monitoring Session: Woodbridge, Prince William County
Time:10am - 12:30pm
Location: Powell's Creek, Woodbridge

Join Certified Volunteer Monitor and Master Naturalist Buck Arvin at his newly adopted site along Powell Creek in the Montclair area. Please RSVP to Buck.

Saturday, February 25th
Evolution's Subtle Signs in Marsh Wrens
Time: 2:00pm
Location: Mount Vernon Governmental Center, 2511 Parkers Lane, Alexandria, 22306

Join the Friends of Dyke Marsh as they welcome Dr. Sarah Luttrell, who will talk about her work on evolution and speciation in the marsh wren. Dr. Luttrell studies how evolution works by comparing multiple traits like plumage, color, size, shape, vocal behavior and genetics. Her work has revealed an exciting pattern of marsh wren evolution that is observable on the human timescale. Historically, Dyke Marsh was the only known nesting area of the marsh wren in the upper Potomac River tidal zone, but their numbers have been steadily declining. Free, no RSVP necessary.

southSunday, February 25th
Stream Monitoring Workshop: Springfield
Time: 1:30 - 4pm
Location: South Run Stream behind the South Run Rec Center, Springfield, VA

Join Certified Volunteer Monitor Veronica Tangiri at her adopted site on beautiful South Run as it flows through forested parkland between Burke Lake and Lake Mercer. Please RSVP to Veronica.
March Sneak Peak

Wednesday, March 14th
Equestrian Management Workshop
Time: 6:30 - 8:30pm
Location: Frying Pan Farm Park, Herndon

 Make your pasture the envy of your community! Come learn some proven techniques for: maintaining lush pasture, applying nutrient and lime, renovating pasture, and locating, constructing and maintaining a sacrifice/heavy use area. Co-hosted by Fairfax County Park Authority, and Northern Virginia and Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation Districts, with a light dinner sponsored by Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park. Presenters: Chris Van Vlack, Urban/Ag. Conservationist, Loudoun County Soil and Water Conservation District and Willie Wood, Senior Conservation Specialist, Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District. Free! Please register online in advance.

Wednesday, March 21st
Virginia Water Monitoring Council Conference: Exploring Emerging Water Issues
Time: 8:45am - 4pm
Location: Henrico County Training Center, 7701 E. Parham Road, Henrico, VA

A great conference for anyone interested in staying up to date on Virginia's water resource issues. Presentations will include the following topics and more: monitoring filamentous algae, water quality benefits of urban trees, plastic pollution as a vector for pathogens, the Virginia Conservation Assistance Program, and a 20-year analysis of water quality monitoring in the Shenandoah watershed. Registration is now open online.
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