About the Arlington Regional Master Naturalists-ARMN

Arlington Regional Master Naturalists are trained volunteers who share a love of the natural environment and a commitment to service in our local communities. Our members restore native habitats, monitor stream health, lead public nature walks, and do much more to help maintain and improve the region’s rich biodiversity.

ARMN was formed in 2008 as a chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists, a statewide corps of volunteers providing education, outreach and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources.

The chapter now has about 225 members who support a wide range of projects in northern Virginia, often in collaboration with local partners. In 2022, ARMN volunteers logged more than 22,000 hours of service.

Our Work

ARMN’s volunteer efforts are aimed at education and outreach, citizen science, and stewardship of natural resources. Among other things, our volunteers:

Restore native habitats at about 30 sites in northern Virginia. We help bring meadows, marshlands and forests back to life by removing invasive non-native plants and other disturbances. 

Develop and maintain demonstration native plant gardens to showcase the beauty and benefits of native plants. Gardens are grown in both sunny and shady locations, demonstrating that beneficial plants can thrive and attract wildlife anywhere. ARMN maintains three demonstration gardens: at the Arlington Central Library in central Arlington, Potomac Overlook Park in north Arlington and Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center in west Alexandria.

Help homeowners create and nurture backyard wildlife sanctuaries through the Audubon at Home program. ARMN volunteers serve as ambassadors, offering information and on-site consultations to help homeowners and other landowners restore native plants, reduce or eliminate pesticide and fertilizer use, and support wildlife with water, cover and food.

Lead nature programs for young people in collaboration with schools, scouts, 4-H clubs and other youth groups.

Measure atmospheric levels of ozone through a garden planted at Walter Reed Community Center as part of the Ozone Bioindicator Garden Network, a collaboration of NASA and Harvard. ARMN’s observations of plants that are sensitive to ozone will contribute to a global study of ozone levels. 

Track and report wildlife populations by leading and participating in the City Nature Challenge, the Christmas Bird Count, and inventories of frogs, butterflies and more.

Monitor stream health in Arlington and Fairfax counties by taking water samples four times a year. Volunteers count and track the number and types of macroinvertebrates found in each sample. A sudden loss of more fragile species could indicate a problem in the watershed. 

Collect wild seeds and propagate and maintain plants in conjunction with native plant nurseries at Earth Sangha, Green Spring Gardens and Arlington County.  Plants are used for habitat restoration projects, landscaping of public lands and in home landscaping.

Help inspire an awareness of and appreciation for biodiversity by leading nature walks and sharing knowledge through outreach programs.

ARMN’s Work Honored

ARMN is proud that its work to protect local natural resources has been recognized by multiple organizations.

In 2021, ARMN received the A. Willis Robertson Award from the Virginia Chapter of The Wildlife Society for public outreach and education efforts related to white-tailed deer.

In 2016, for its work on the restoration of the Barcroft Magnolia Bog, ARMN received an Achievement Award from the Virginia Association of Counties and the Best New Environmental Sustainability Award from the Virginia Recreation and Park Society.

The National Park Service awarded ARMN the George and Helen Hartzog Award for an Outstanding Volunteer Group in 2012.

Recent Bill Thomas Award Winners from ARMN

In 2013 ARMN received the Bill Thomas Outstanding Park Service Volunteer Award from the Arlington Parks and Recreation Commission. The award is given in the name of lifelong parks volunteer Bill Thomas and honors both individuals and groups who have demonstrated a passionate dedication and support for Arlington’s natural resources and public open spaces. ARMN members have received multiple Bill Thomas Volunteer Awards.