Turtle Talks

By Esther Massey … and frogs and toads and snakes. O, my! Showing the Gulf Branch reptiles to the birthday party attendees has been an absolute blast for me. As a former teacher, I really appreciate being able to enjoy the instructional part without the daily toil. Each party is different, as are the parents and the children. The children vary in ages from 3-6 and sometimes their older siblings come along as well. Before the children and parents arrive, I decorate the room with posters and pictures availablable at the center and put up the “Private—Birthday Party” sign. I gather the materials that I intend to use for the talks on a table in the front of the room and place a cloth over them to keep the children from playing with them. The center provides puppets, skeletons, models, and other audiovisual aids to help the kids learn about the life cycle of the different reptiles and amphibians. The one they seem to like the most is the frog croak identifier. Pushing a button elicits the different calls of the specific frog. I let the kids take turns pushing the buttons.

ARMN volunteers enjoy helping Smithsonian eMammal camera trapping project

By Jeanette Murry and Alan Tidwell We  graduated from the spring 2012 ARMN Basic Training Course. During the summer and fall, we volunteered on a camera trapping project called eMammal organized by the Smithsonian. We focused on Keyser Run Fire Trail in the Shenandoah National Park for our trapping. When we saw the eMammal Project advertised through the ARMN listserv,Continue reading “ARMN volunteers enjoy helping Smithsonian eMammal camera trapping project”

Power of Passion and Persistence

By Sue Dingwell The power of passion and persistence brought to life a new wetland last Saturday at Campbell Elementary School, a Title One, alternative school bordering Long Branch Park in Arlington. Two and a half years in the planning and fund-raising stage, the garden was installed by an all-volunteer crew at an event they calledContinue reading “Power of Passion and Persistence”

Interning at USGS Native Bee Lab

By Brooke Alexander While I was taking the ARMN Basic Training Course in Fall 2011, I started working at Sam Droege’s U.S. Geological Survey Bee Inventory and Monitory Lab as an intern. I was amazed to learn that there are 4,000 native bee species in the U.S.! One of the projects I’m working on involves processing native bee specimens from nationalContinue reading “Interning at USGS Native Bee Lab”

Second Graders Create Bird Habitat Outside Classroom Windows

By Christine Payack Bird Watching It was subtle at first. “I think I saw a bird!” I was sure I heard a child chirp, as he fluttered to the classroom windows. Do my eyes and ears deceive me? A flock of children swoop swiftly by. I blink as other fledglings fly toward the window panes,Continue reading “Second Graders Create Bird Habitat Outside Classroom Windows”

Backyard Nature Photography

By Monique Wong When Christine Freidel moved into her home near Potomac Overlook Park five year ago, she inherited a typical suburban lawn in her backyard.  Inspired by the book “Bringing Nature Home,” Christine applied her training as a Master Naturalist and spent two years introducing native species to her backyard. “We spotted butterflies andContinue reading “Backyard Nature Photography”

Calling All Tree-Loving Master Naturalists

By Nora Palmatier YOU have a great opportunity to get native canopy trees planted in your Arlington neighborhood – last year the Tree Canopy Fund got 515 trees planted, including 61 Nyssa sylvatica, 110 Quercus species, and 45 Betula nigras!  All of the information you need to start planning is on the ACE website atContinue reading “Calling All Tree-Loving Master Naturalists”

Citizen Science: Stream Monitoring in Arlington County

By John Bernard I began my career as a citizen scientist with the Spring 2010 ARMN training class.  Among the volunteer activities approved for service hours, I enjoy participation in one of several Arlington County sponsored stream monitoring volunteer teams.  After I completed a class given by the County, I joined the team volunteers atContinue reading “Citizen Science: Stream Monitoring in Arlington County”