Text by Kristin Bartschi. Photos by George Sutherland.
Ducks. They’re cute, they paddle around in parks. Some ducks are so commonplace that we don’t really think twice about them (i.e. the quintessential mallard). But, as with all animals, there is a lot to learn and every duck has a unique story.
Recently, I decided to expand my rudimentary knowledge and attend a deep dive on ducks at Gulf Branch Nature Center in Arlington. Naturalist Ken Rosenthal hosts deep dive lectures about once a month at Gulf Branch. Each hour-long talk focuses on a different topic, such as pollinators or homes made out of sticks.
Attending one of these has been on my list for a while and it did not disappoint. Ken’s enthusiasm and knowledge of animals is infectious, and the hour-long presentation flew by.
Did you know there are 154 species of ducks worldwide? 50 of those species can be found in North America, with 48 different species in Virginia and 28 right here in Arlington.
Now, we covered A LOT in this deep dive, so I’m just going to pull out a couple fun facts.
How do ducks stay dry?
Did you ever think about this? I actually hadn’t until this talk, but it’s fascinating. Ducks have oil glands at the base of their tails. They use the oil from these glands to preen their feathers, which waterproofs their feathers and allows them to dabble or dive without getting wet. Ducklings have fluffy plumage which traps air and helps them stay buoyant above the water.
Total eclipse of the feathers
One of my favorite facts was about “eclipse plumage.” When male ducks molt after breeding season, they acquire a temporary plumage that closely resembles the camouflaged plumage of female ducks. This helps to protect them from predators during the molt. If you look at a male mallard during his eclipse plumage, he looks almost identical to a female mallard! Want to spot the difference? While plumage color changes during molting, duck bill colors never do. So, the mallard’s yellow bill (as opposed to the female’s brown and orange bill) will give him away.
Want to learn more (and catch a glimpse of some of Arlington’s unique ducks)?
If you’re interested in learning more about the animals that surround us, I’d certainly recommend signing up for one of Ken’s deep dives in the future. (If you’re an ARMN member, any deep dive will count towards your CE credits.) They occur once a month on Thursday evenings and are $5 to attend. To look for upcoming talks, visit the events page on the Arlington Parks and Recreation website. Ken’s next deep dive will be Animal Meteorologists on Thursday, February 13th from 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Gulf Branch Nature Center. Check it out!
In the meantime, if you’d like to take a look at some of our local ducks, good viewing locations are at Gravelly Point or Roaches Run.
Peter Hansen is a recent graduate of the ARMN training class (Fall 2017). He became a Certified Master Naturalist the first year he was eligible and will receive this certificate at our upcoming March chapter meeting. I was able to sit down with Peter for conversation over a cup of tea in late January. I was looking forward to this conversation because Peter is part of the next generation for ARMN, and I’m anxious to see where he and his compatriots are able to lead us in the future. I was not disappointed. Here’s the essence of our conversation:
Tell us about the ARMN projects you spend time on.
year, I mostly volunteered at various nature center-run events in Arlington
County. I helped out with World Migratory Bird Day at Lacy Woods Park, Firefly
Festival at Fort C.F. Smith Park, and the Bat Fest and the Fall Heritage Festival
at Gulf Branch Nature Center and Park. I think Arlington’s nature centers do a wonderful
job creating arts and crafts projects that draw kids’ attention to nature. I love
engaging the next generation of environmental stewards. I particularly enjoyed quizzing
Bat Fest attendees about the animal sounds that color our evenings in
Arlington. Though no one—not even my fellow Master Naturalist volunteers—could
identify all the mystery sounds I played, many young attendees blew me away
with their already expansive knowledge.
especially meaningful aspect of partnering with Arlington’s nature centers was
the opportunity to reach out to the Spanish-speaking community in Arlington. I assisted
at the Long Branch table at the Latino Community Festival, and with the World
Migratory Bird Day event, which was bilingual. Promoting inclusion is near and
dear to my heart, and I support ARMN’s efforts to reach and represent the full
diversity of people in our area. In a prior job at the Federal Reserve Board, I
worked to increase diversity and inclusion in the fields of Economics and
Finance. I look forward to transferring these skills to my volunteer work in
the local community.
year, I joined the ARMN Board of Directors as Secretary. I look forward to
involvement in critical strategic decisions that shape the future of our
organization. I also hope that my relative youth and experience reaching out to
underrepresented groups might bring some useful perspectives. So far, it has
been a sincere pleasure to collaborate with the experienced and highly
competent members of the Board.
What has surprised you about ARMN?
things: First, the volunteer basic training covered more areas than I could
have imagined. If a subject was at all related to anything in nature, we addressed
it in class. Second, I have been pleasantly surprised that ARMN has a broader
distribution of people from young to old and a better mix of men and women than
What do you like most about ARMN?
the credibility that the ARMN basic training class has given me. Because of my
Master Naturalist certification, I am trusted, particularly by the staff at the
nature centers, and am able to volunteer there in ways I otherwise could not
have. For example, I can handle turtles and snakes to show kids and parents at
events like the Latino Community Festival. It is so rewarding to introduce kids
to animals that might seem a little scary at first and show that they are
really excellent fellow neighbors.
Tell us something about your adulthood
experiences that shaped your perspective on nature.
I led hiking, canoe, and climbing trips at The College of William and Mary when I was a student there. Canoe trips were my favorite because we all experienced the river exactly the same, plus we didn’t have to carry everything on our persons like backpackers do (though I find backpacking to be super fun, too). While I love climbing, leading those trips was stressful because I had to focus on safety and spent most of the time setting anchors and belaying participants (i.e., making sure all climbers are safely suspended by a rope in case of a fall).
trips is one of the main reasons I am a Master Naturalist today. Early on, a
fellow trip leader named Adam Rotche inspired me with his knowledge of the
natural world. The way he identified plants and animals and explained the world
around us elevated the experience of being outdoors to a whole new level. Becoming
a Master Naturalist allows me to build my own knowledge of the natural world
and share that extra layer of color with the others outdoors.
What is your background?
up in Arlington. I attended Glebe Elementary, Swanson Middle School, and Thomas
Jefferson High School in Fairfax County, and as noted above, I graduated from
William and Mary, where I studied Economics.
What would people find interesting about
the non-ARMN parts of your life?
coach youth basketball with a close friend. Currently, we’re working with a sixth-grade
boys’ team. Coaching packs a world of challenges: different personalities, learning
styles, skillsets, outside stressors, and more. But it’s so rewarding to watch
the kids learn new skills, overcome adversity, and gel as a team. And though
they may only be 11, they’re fun and smart and always entertaining.
Tell us something unusual about yourself.
been volunteering with ASPAN (the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network)
for most of my life. When I was five years old, my parents first took me to
make and deliver food to people who are experiencing homelessness. I remember that
in my first year or two, I was trusted with little more than dipping the
bananas in lemon juice to prevent browning. They give me a little more
responsibility these days.
for such a long time on a single project is an experience that I would highly
recommend. I’ve watched as the population we served swelled to a peak during
the Great Recession, then decreased significantly with the improving economy
and the opening of a new ASPAN shelter. I’ve also gotten to know some of the
homeless people in our community. I think most people would be surprised to
find out how smart, well-informed, and friendly most of our clients are. The
forces that push an individual into homelessness are far more complex than many
realize. Even after 20 years of serving this community, I have barely begun to
ARMN’s Membership Committee posts occasional profiles of our members, including how they came to be master naturalists, which parts of nature they most enjoy, and how they affect their environment. This latest biography features ARMN Member Emily Ferguson, who graduated from our training class in Spring 2010. Many of our members already know her because she currently teaches tree identification as part of the Basic Training class. If you know someone else in ARMN with an interesting story and think others might be interested, please contact Bill Browning(firstname.lastname@example.org)or Alison Sheahan(email@example.com).
Tell us about the ARMN projects you spend time on.
Besides teaching the basic tree ID section for the ARMN training class, I’m involved with stream monitoring at Lubber Run and Barcroft parks as well as the salamander patrols at Gulf Branch and Long Branch nature centers. I have a lot of fun with the patrols as I think vernal pools are really cool. I also have helped with tree inventories at Fort Meyer and at Columbia Gardens Cemetery on Route 50 (http://www.columbiagardenscemetery.org/).
This year teaching the incoming ARMN class, I was surprised and honored to teach the Tree ID and Botany sections. I learn something from the students in the class every time I teach, which makes the experience even more rewarding.
Emily explaining features of tree bark during March 19, 2018 Basic Training field trip. Photo courtesy of Oliver Torres.
What brought you to ARMN?
When I moved to Northern Virginia, I was starting a job with the EPA to work on the “superfund” program and I knew I would be stepping away from nature. I knew I needed another connection to nature. So, I went looking for something like ARMN and I was glad to find it. Walking around Arlington, the trees looked so different to me. They were all street trees or had been planted out of their natural environment. Rod Simmons, the Alexandria City Natural Resource Manager and Plant Ecologist, taught the tree ID section when I took the Basic Training and confirmed that the trees weren’t different or new. I needed to re-calibrate my eyes because the trees weren’t in the mountain habitats I knew.
What do you like most about ARMN and what has surprised you?
I like the number of activities you can get involved in. There are bird walks, seed cleanings, plant sales, and invasive pulls. I think what I like most is that people are very open to sharing their knowledge. ARMN is so broad. You can find a walk or lecture to learn or explore about almost any aspect of nature that you’re interested in.
Emily leading tree ID field trip in Riverbend Park in January 2017. Photo courtesy of Toni Genberg.
Tell us something about your experiences that shaped your perspective on nature?
When I was 15 and attending high school in Bermuda, I dropped biology. Soon after that, my mother took a class to become a tour guide at the local botanical gardens. She taught me about pencil trees (Euphorbia tirucalli) and I challenged myself to identify them when we were driving around. Much to my parents’ horror, these trees were scattered around the island and I pointed them out on every drive we took around the island, which was probably really annoying. I even got my brother to play along.
Since I graduated from the Bermuda High School at the age of sixteen, my parents decided to send me to boarding school in New Jersey for two years. There, I enrolled in ”baby bio” followed by Advanced Placement biology so that I could load up on biology before heading to college because I loved this tree stuff. For the first time, biology made sense and I helped classmates prep for tests.
What is your background?
I attended Rhodes College (http://www.rhodes.edu/) in Memphis, TN where I earned a BS in biology. I also earned my master’s degree in biology (botany and trees) from the University of South Florida in Tampa (http://www.usf.edu/). My mentor and advisor for my thesis wrote the Guide to the Vascular Plants of Florida (http://florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/) and I used to pester him with my irritation at the way he characterized some of the plants.
My parents were not outdoorsy. They sent me to a summer camp in Vermont each year for a month where I first saw the “white dark” (or fog) and hiked in a deciduous forest. I was captivated, but it was not all smooth. One summer my parents sent me to an expedition camp in Pennsylvania, we set out on a weeklong hiking and camping trip. I wanted to dump the 45-pound pack, ditch the other campers, and hitchhike to my uncle’s house in New Jersey where I knew he lived. I didn’t. I stuck it out and ended up having a great time.
What would people find interesting about the non-ARMN parts of your life?
My husband is an ultrarunner. When I started running with him, I learned if you can’t see the top of the hill you can walk up to prevent yourself from overdoing it and focus running the downhill and flat portions of the runs. This approach works great for me. The one thing I like more than running is looking at plants. So, when I run with him, I run downhill and look at plants on the uphill. I’m always walking off the sides of the trail to check out the plants or break off a piece to look at later, much to his surprise.
I’m also my brother’s favorite snorkeling or diving partner. He wants to see the rays and sharks, while I like to drift along just looking at variety of color and beauty under the ocean. Recently, we swam with a manta ray, some white tipped reef sharks, a school of mobula rays, and a school of hammerhead sharks while on a trip through the Galapagos Islands.
Tell us something unusual about yourself.
I always carry a hand lens. Recently, I set up my boom microscope and immediately had to run outside to grab some twigs. I brought them inside to check out under my scope and got lost looking at the delicate beauty of the bud scales and flowers.
“The joy of looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.” – Albert Einstein
Citizen Science is defined as “the collection and analysis of data relating to the natural world by members of the general public, typically as part of a collaborative project with professional scientists.” Why is it important? It offers many benefits both to residents of a community and local natural resource programs. While there are many citizen science opportunities in the region at large, this piece focuses on how citizens may participate in research projects in Arlington County, improve their knowledge of the local environment, and identify species resident in the County. The County gets to use the expertise of citizens to accomplish needed projects that might otherwise be delayed due to resource constraints.
What can we look forward to in the near future? A bright outlook for citizen science!
Arlington’s First Bioblitz
On May 20, ARMN will be supporting the first Arlington’s Bioblitz as a key focus project for 2017. This 24-hour survey is the first of a series of annual surveys designed to document the plants and animals present in a number of parks in the county. Data collected will be used as part of the Arlington Natural Resource Management plan. Experts will provide support and advice to volunteers who will document local species.
The mammal survey component of the bioblitz will look for proof of locally rare species. Game cameras will be used to monitor species and volunteers will be needed to review photos. An entomologist will support volunteers who will collect, preserve, and send bee samples to other entomologists for additional study. Other insects will also be surveyed. Ornithologists and expert birders will conduct bird walks. Any unusual nesting activity may be included in the Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas.
There are many other projects that are longer-term and often part of a national scope. All offer participants the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of the environment and do significant field work. Below are some projects that focus on deer, birds, insects, and plants.
Deer Browse Surveys
Deer browse surveys are underway within Glencarlyn Park and Barcroft Park. Additional studies are being planned that will use existing trees and fences to create temporary deer exclosures. The exclosures will allow collection of data using different methodologies than currently used.
Game camera surveys can also be conducted over a long period to capture photos of locally rare species and monitor trends in more common mammals.
Ornithology Projects Including the Annual Christmas Bird Count
Yellow-rumped warbler (Setophaga coronate)
There are many wonderful citizen science bird programs, too. These include the very popular Christmas Bird Count, sponsored by the National Audubon Society in which volunteer birdwatchers contribute to the annual census of birds during the winter. Another opportunity is the eBird Project, co-sponsored by the Cornell Ornithology Lab and Audubon. It is an online database of bird observations in which anyone can enter bird lists to monitor bird species in their area or map overall abundance of a species in an area over time. There is also the Breeding Bird Atlas of Virginia program. The second Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas (VABBA2) is a follow-up survey to the first Atlas that was published over 25 years ago and surveys all bird species breeding in the state. Data collected will help map the distribution and status of Virginia’s breeding bird community in order to provide better information for natural resource and conservation decisions.
Insect Citizen Science Projects
Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
The North American Butterfly Association conducts a butterfly count in July. The Pollinator Partnership sponsors National Pollinator Week in June to collect data on pollinators including bees and monarch butterflies and generally to celebrate pollinators and spread the word about what can be done to protect them. National Moth Week takes place in the last week in July and celebrates the beauty, life cycles, and habitats of moths. People of all ages and abilities are encouraged to learn about, observe, and document moths in their backyards, parks, and neighborhoods. There are between 60 and 70 moth species in Arlington already recorded but even more species could be identified!
Plant Citizen Science Opportunities
Bee balm (Monarda didyma)
Botanists and plant lovers of all levels will also have opportunities. Arlington County is developing some exciting projects: The Arlington Herbarium needs to be digitized in order to improve the usefulness of the collection for analysis and voucher specimens need to be collected for the State Atlas.
Whatever your interest in nature, there is probably a local or national citizen science project in which you can participate. Go outside, look, learn, and share!
From time-to-time, ARMN’s Membership Committee posts profiles of our members including how they came to be master naturalists, which parts of nature they most enjoy, and how they have an impact on the environment around them. Here is the latest biography of ARMN member, Ann Ulmschneider, who graduated in the Spring 2010 training class. Alison Sheahan conducted the interview.
What brought you to ARMN in the first place?
I always had a really strong interest in nature and science. A friend at church, Mary Pike, told me about ARMN and it sounded like a really good thing to do. I immediately became interested in the service projects with children because of my background.
I have a master’s degree in Child Development. When I first earned my degree I became the director of a child care facility in Fairfax and eventually taught parent education classes for Fairfax County Public Schools. This led to my 30-year career with FCPS Family and School Partnerships, an organization that helps schools engage parents, especially families of English Language Learners and other underserved families. I continued to teach children in various volunteer capacities and enjoyed raising our three daughters but once they were no longer young, I missed children and began to look for other opportunities to be with them.
At ARMN, which child-centered activities do you enjoy?
I lead birthday parties at both Long Branch and Gulf Branch Nature Centers. I usually do them with a partner, Mary Ellen Snyder. We work well together as a team and enjoy each other’s company.
I also work at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale, leading groups of school children during the week on planned field trips that align with Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOL). I do the station on frogs and toads for “Metamorphosis and More,” focused on life cycles. For “Fantastic Flora and Fauna” I lead a walk in the woods looking for examples.
Ann teaching first graders about trees at Green Spring Gardens.
I like that both of these activities involve regular hours and have kept me in contact with groups who need leaders on a regular basis. It’s not hard to make my 40 service hours (needed for annual master naturalist certification)! Also, it helps me to keep learning. Any time I have to lead a group like this, I need to learn ahead of the kids. Understanding the information on a basic level (for instance through the books at the children’s section of a library) has been really helpful to me and less intimidating than learning lots of detail. It’s also pushed me to step out of my comfort zone, so that I recently offered a family program on squirrels for Arlington County’s “SNAG” program. I tried other activities with ARMN over the years like Stream Monitoring and the Bug Lab but I have discovered that I’m not that kind of scientist or naturalist. I’m more of a teacher and I like connecting with the families and children at the nature centers.
What was it about your childhood or other early background that you think fed these interests?
When I was a girl, my best friend and I loved to go roaming in an extensive wooded lot in our neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio. In middle grades, I remember going almost every day. We just walked around and went to our “hiding place” (which was probably covered with invasive vines!). I don’t remember particular observations of animals or plants, I just remember loving to be there, surrounded by the trees. To this day, the smell of the woods is imprinted on me, very positively. Then when my husband and I first met we did lots of hiking together and in 1980-82, we began taking classes at the National Arboretum on trees, wildflowers, and ferns. In 2000, I joined the Northern Virginia Bird Club and began to gain knowledge of local birds. I am still a member there along with many other ARMN members.
In summary, what do you like most about ARMN?
It allows me to combine my love of nature and working with kids and families of many cultures, and it lets me keep learning. To me, it’s satisfying just to know information about what we are seeing all around us. In Arlington, we’ve been able to preserve our little swaths of green, and we have this unique mix of people from all over the world who can enjoy it. That’s a great combination and I feel lucky to be a part of it.
From time-to-time, ARMN’s Membership Committee posts profiles of our members including how they came to be master naturalists, which parts of nature they most enjoy, and how they have an impact on the environment around them. Here is the latest biography of Arlington staff employee, Sarah Archer, who graduated in the Fall 2013 ARMN training class. Sarah currently manages Arlington’s Invasive Plant Program and is involved with starting the County’s native plant nursery. She is a valuable collaborator for ARMN on a wide variety of projects.
Tell us about the ARMN projects you spend time on.
I have been able to participate in many ARMN projects over the years, but my favorite has to be the restoration of the Barcroft Magnolia Bog. The success of this project was due to all of the great work done by ARMN members. Marion Jordan, Jim Hurley, Marty Nielson, and others were instrumental in building momentum around the restoration work through community outreach to nearby homeowners and Claremont Elementary School. We received an award from the Virginia Association of Counties for this project because of the collaboration between county staff and groups like ARMN.
I am also really excited about Arlington’s new Native Plant Nursery . We usually have workdays at the nursery every Thursday from 3 – 5 pm. I am also involved with the RiP/ARMN supported invasive plant removal events at Tuckahoe, Ft. Bennett, Madison Manor, Long Branch, Gulf Branch, and Haley/Oakridge/Gunston (“HOG”) parks. These events are led by our ARMN volunteer site leaders and are great opportunities for community volunteers to learn about invasive plant identification and removal techniques. I am always amazed at how much drive and passion the site leaders have to act as stewards for their neighborhood parks!
Earth Day 2014, at an Arlington park. Sarah is second from the right.
What brought you to ARMN?/How did you learn about ARMN?
The first time I heard about the Master Naturalist program was from my mom when she took the training in Illinois. I was lucky to get the opportunity to take the ARMN course when they needed an Arlington staff member to open and close building during the training sessions.
What do you like most about ARMN?
I really appreciate the strong relationships that ARMN builds with their partner groups and how informed and motivated the volunteers are! Arlington County wouldn’t be able to do many of our natural resource conservation and restoration projects without the support of community groups, particularly ARMN. ARMN volunteers do so much for Arlington’s Parks and Natural Resources Division including not just invasive plant removal, but education and outreach, project planning, surveying, planting, nursery work, etc. It’s a pretty long list of all of the different types of volunteer projects ARMN participates in. The ARMN membership is so diverse in expertise and interests that they can support almost any project that we have!
Tell us something about your childhood/adulthood experiences that shaped your perspective on nature.
I was a Girl Scout in elementary school and really enjoyed all of the outdoor activities like camping and hiking. I actually pulled my first invasive plant, garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), when I was in Girl Scouts! I didn’t really get interested in pursuing a nature-related career until I joined the Student Conservation Association (SCA) in 2007 after I graduated from Illinois State University (ISU), and did several internships with SCA related to environmental restoration.
What is your background?
During college, I worked with a native plant landscaping company and was a gardener for a few private residents during my summers off. In 2007, I received undergraduate degrees in dance and anthropology from ISU. After college, I went to California to work for the Bureau of Land Management as an SCA intern and then worked on a trail crew on the Pacific Crest Trail. In 2008, I moved to Maryland with another SCA internship with the Nature Conservancy, and managed invasive plants in the Potomac Gorge.
I began working with the Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation in 2009 and received a master’s degree in Natural Resources from Virginia Tech in 2012.
What would other ARMN members find interesting about the non-ARMN parts of your life?
I enjoy many types of social dance, including square, salsa, blues, and kizomba. In college, I performed as a “koken” in a Kabuki production of Othello under the direction of Shozo Sato, an internationally renowned Japanese theater director.
Sarah doing a fan dance (not Kabuki, but close).
I also love international travel and have a trip planned to Peru, Argentina, and Uruguay over the Christmas holidays!
The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday is a nationally recognized day of service. ARMN welcomes members of the public to join master naturalists for various earth-friendly projects in the area to honor the spirit of Dr. King. Here is a list of habitat restoration and invasive removal activities both for the weekend prior to MLK Day as well as the official holiday, Monday January 16, 2017. We hope to see you at one or more of these events that will make a significant difference to the health of our local environment.
If there is any question about the weather, where to meet, what to bring, or any other concerns, please contact the leader ahead of time.
In December 2013, Arlington County Forester Vincent Verweij supervised the planting of 20 American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) saplings in a number of locations in the county. The saplings, which had been grown at the Earth Sangha nursery in Springfield, were planted in small groups at Benjamin Banneker Park, Bluemont Park, Fort C.F. Smith, Fort Scott, Glencarlyn Park, Gulf Branch and Long Branch Nature Centers, and an experimental site along Route 50. They represented a tangible hope that the iconic American tree might be restored to areas in which it once thrived. (See the February 5, 2014, ARMN in Action post for the original story.)
As the second anniversary of the chestnut planting approached, Verweij checked on all the planting sites to evaluate how they had fared in the past two years. Here are his notes (and photos) from his visits:
Benjamin Banneker: One survivor, doing great!
Bluemont: One survivor. Got chomped by deer, but still alive.
Fort C.F. Smith: Could not find surviving trees, but it was not an ideal spot for chestnuts. Did find one twig that appeared to be American Chestnut, without life on it.
Fort Scott: Could not find any either. Also hard to investigate.
Glencarlyn: Found one survivor. Doing well, but heavily foraged. Gives me some hope that some of the insects that coevolved with chestnuts are still around. More heavily foraged than anything around it.
Gulf Branch: At least one survivor, doing well.
Long Branch: Could not find any surviving trees. Hard to investigate the site.
Route 50: Mowed over, despite putting in stakes. Figured this would happen, but it was worth a shot.
Verweij pointed out that the the discovery of 4 surviving trees out of 20 planted was “about as good/bad as I expected, to be honest.” His findings seem to validate the dispersed-planting strategy that was used back in 2013. Dispersal, apparently, did create a variety of growing conditions that allowed some of the pioneering saplings to be successful.
Does this grinding winter weather have you feeling cooped up and claustrophobic? Get out and get moving at one of March’s scheduled invasive pulls. Take out your frustrations on plants that don’t belong in our area’s lovely parks. Dress for the weather, wear rugged shoes or boots, and bring your own gloves and drinking water.
The public is welcome to join the efforts of ARMN members and others at any of these events. Those with a * occur regularly. If the weather is iffy, contact the listed organizer for event status.
*First Saturday HOG (Haley Park, Oakridge, Gunston) Pull, March 7
2400 S. Meade St., Arlington, 9 to 11 am Contact Marti Klein: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monticello Park Invasives Pull, March 7 & 8
320 Beverly Drive, Alexandria, 1 to 3 pm Saturday & 2 to 4 pm Sunday Contact Phil Klingelhofer: email@example.com
*Second Sunday Gulf Branch Park Invasives Pull, March 8
3608 Military Rd., Arlington, 2 to 4:30 pm Contact Jen Soles: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Third Saturday Tuckahoe Invasives Pull, March 21
6550 26th St. N., Arlington, 10 am to 12 pm Meet at school parking lot. Contact Mary McLean: email@example.com
*Third Saturday Madison Manor Park Invasives Pull, March 21
6625 12th Rd. N., Arlington, 2 to 4 pm Contact Jo Allen: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Third Sunday Long Branch Park Invasives Pull, March 15
625 S. Carlin Springs Rd., Arlington, 2 to 5 pm Contact Steve Young: email@example.com
*Fourth Sunday Fort Bennett Park Invasives Pull, March 22
2200 N. Scott St., Arlington, 10 am to 12 pm Contact Mary McCutcheon: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Fourth Saturday Benjamin Banneker Park Invasives Pull, March 28
6620 18th St. N., Arlington, 10 am to 12 pm Contact Eric Sword: email@example.com
Powhatan Springs Park Invasives Pull, March 28
6020 Wilson Boulevard, 10 am to 12 pm Contact Bill Browning: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday is now nationally recognized as a day of service. On January 19, join ARMN volunteers and other like-minded community members at these earth-friendly projects at the times and locations listed. You can also take advantage of upcoming weekend service opportunities listed here in the spirit of Dr. King. We hope to see you at one or more of these events, which are open to the public.
ARMN and APAH Join to Save Trees from English Ivy
ARMN will partner with the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing to train and lead volunteers in saving trees from the choking hazard of English Ivy at the APAH Columbia Grove property and nearby Bailey’s Branch Park.
Time: Volunteers are needed for both morning and afternoon shifts
Location: Columbia Grove is at 1010 S. Frederick St., Arlington
Contact: Please register with Emily Button (email@example.com) if you plan to come.
Invasive Plant Removal at Gulf Branch Nature Center
Gulf Branch naturalist Jen Soles will lead an invasive plant pull at the park.
Time: 1 – 4 pm
Location: Gulf Branch Nature Center, 3608 Military Rd., Arlington
Contact: Jen Soles (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fraser Preserve Japanese Barberry Removal
ARMN volunteer Margaret Chatham will lead removal of Japanese Barberry from Fraser Preserve, a Nature Conservancy property in Great Falls.
Time: 12 – 4 pm
Location: Meet at corner of Springvale Rd. and Allenwood Lane, Great Falls (street parking)
What to wear/bring: Wear layers, sturdy, waterproof boots, and heavy leather gloves. Bring own water (There are no “facilities,” though.); garden forks and strong hand clippers are optional.
Contact: E-mail Margaret Chatham (email@example.com) if you plan to come. Call 703.785.8175 after 11 am on MLK Day to check on conditions or if you arrive after the group has gone into the woods. (This number not answered at other times.)
Note: Workday cancelled for frozen ground or heavy precipitation.
Can’t volunteer on MLK Day itself? Consider these two service opportunities on the holiday weekend:
Winter Tree ID and RiP Invasive Plant Pull at Tuckahoe Park, January 17
ARMN member Mary McLean will conduct a winter tree identification and follow it with removal of invasive plants at Tuckahoe Park.
Time: 9 – 9:45 am (tree ID); 10 am – 12 pm (invasives pull)
Location: Tuckahoe Park, 2400 North Sycamore St., Arlington
Contact: Mary McLean (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Third-Sunday RiP Invasive Pull at Long Branch Park, January 18
ARMN volunteer Steve Young will lead the monthly invasive plant pull at Long Branch Park.
Time: 2 – 4 pm
Location: Long Branch Nature Center Park, 625 S. Carlin Springs Rd., Arlington (Meet in parking lot)