Members of the Arlington Regional Master Naturalist (ARMN) chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalist Program:
provide, promote, and facilitate volunteer service to sustain natural areas in our communities using sound natural resource management and conservation practices,
offer and support environmental education and outreach to encourage understanding and respect for our natural environment, and
engage in a wide range of citizen science activities that contribute to greater knowledge of local streams, plants, animals, and local habitat.
Application for the ARMN Fall 2021 Volunteer Training Class is now Open.
Applications are due Friday, August 13, 2021
ARMN will hold a virtual open house informational session for prospective trainees on Tuesday, August 3 at 7:00 pm via Zoom. All applicants for the Fall 2021 Basic Training Class are strongly encouraged to attend. Details for joining the call are posted on the Apply for Basic Training page. To learn more about the ARMN training and how to sign up, click HERE. And please visit this site for upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.
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This hillside pollinator garden contains native plants local to the area, including Upland Ironweed (Vernonia glauca), Sundrops (Oenothera frutica), and various Milkweed species (Asclepias spp.). Many of these inhabit the nearby Dora Kelley Nature Park and the Holmes Run Gorge. The pollinator garden has for several years been an important part of the work the Nature Center to share the wonders of nature with the community, as well as to support our local pollinators.
Unfortunately, the garden has gradually accumulated many invasive species and other weeds that have been crowding out the native plants. Recognizing the need for some serious TLC, Master Naturalist Valerie LaTortue collaborated with Master Gardeners Bob Besse, Mary Lou Leary, and Scarlett Swan to begin a rejuvenation project. They met several times this spring and realized that they needed a lot more help. So, Valerie organized the July 17th volunteer garden day and reached out to other Master Naturalists, Master Gardeners, and park neighbors to pull invasive plants and other weeds from the garden, clear paths, and spread mulch.
Although it was a hot day, the volunteers worked tirelessly to uproot stubborn invasive plants and weeds and clear the pathways, filling many yard-waste bags.
Some roots were tough to remove, but the volunteers were tougher!
And for breaks, volunteers enjoyed snacks, cold water, and Valerie’s herb iced tea under a canopy on the deck overlooking the garden.
Best of all, the volunteers could enjoy the fruits of their labor right away! Check out Valerie’s video of accomplishments of the day:
The ongoing work to rejuvenate the pollinator garden is part of a long-term plan to redesign and replant the garden and increase its access to and public education value for the community. In addition to supporting pollinators and improving the ecosystem, Master Naturalists, Master Gardeners, and other area volunteers are helping to reclaim this treasured public education resource for visitors to the Buddie Ford Nature Center and Dora Kelley Park.
More volunteers are needed and welcome! During the foreseeable future, volunteer days are scheduled each Saturday from 9:00-11:00 am (https://armn.org/volunter-alexandria/). Instructions, tools, and refreshments are provided. Volunteers should bring gloves, sunscreen, and insect repellent, and a favorite digging tool if they like.