ResOURces Newsletter-May 2014: Gardens, Trails, Ticks and More

By FCPA - Wednesday, May 14, 2014


May 2014,  Vol. 14 No. 5

Pohick Rangers Program Expands

Hidden Pond's popular and hugely successful Pohick Rangers program (info: Summer 2011, page 9) is expanding. Three-to-eight-year-old future Rangers now can become Puddle Jumpers, part of an outdoor experience that has anchored Hidden Pond's environmental education for 23 years and that has inspired several careers in the sciences and the outdoors. Pohick Puddle Jumpers debuted this spring at Hidden Pond Nature Center and has upcoming programs on seeds, insects, wildflowers, butterflies and worms. Get more information and sign up on our website.

Spring Garden Day is May 17 

The big plant sale is this weekend. Master Gardeners will be on hand, there will be a bake sale, and there will be an art exhibit in the Historic House. Spring Garden Day is Saturday, May 17, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Green Spring Gardens.

All eleven county Farmers Markets are open.

The new market at the Government Center debuted this month with a bell-ringing ceremony. It will be open from 3-7 p.m. on Thursdays through October.
There will be a market open with some of our more than 100 vendors somewhere in the county Wednesdays through Sundays into late fall. If you need information about the markets that's not on our website, call 703-642-0128.

National Trails Day is June 7

Use National Trails Day on June 7 as motivation to get out to a park. Some ideas:


It's tick season. Yeah, they're smaller than Godzilla, but it's still weird to think about getting bitten. Here's what you need to know.



Riverbend Park Naturalist Brian Balik has been surveying animal dens. He uses unmanned cameras that can be triggered by motion.
This photo of a red fox kit recently was pulled from a video camera trap in a park. The young foxes are now old enough to leave their dens and seek out their own food.

Volunteer Opportunities

Looking for service hours or a chance to give something back?
We're always in need of volunteers at RECenters, nature centers, historic sites, the horticulture center or on the farm. There are opportunities indoors, outdoors, in nature, at the golf courses, in the gardens, in the pools or in the nature centers.
There's also still time to help Take Back the Forest, a program that kicked off last month with these volunteers at Nottoway Park.

The Park Board has established tobacco-free play zones in county parks -- areas such as skate parks, playgrounds and athletic fields. Nobody's going to write you up -- it's a volunteer program. We're just asking you to keep those park areas safe and clean. 

Hidden Pond Nature Center's Envirothon team defends its state title on May 18-19 at Sweet Briar College. HPNC won local and area crowns this spring on the way to the state event. In 2013, Hidden Pond claimed the Virginia state title and then placed 15th out of 57 teams at the national finals in Montana. HPNC has placed first or second at state in each of the past three years. Team members are Monica Banghart, Sydney Spicer and Stuart Murdoch of West Springfield High School; Caroline Healey and Matt Baker of Woodson High School; and Evelyn Rosado of Robinson High School.

 Flirting Frog


Writer/photographer Ann Cameron Siegal caught this male Southern Leopard Frog in mid-courtship call at Huntley Meadows Park. This is one of the target species park employees monitor to judge the effectiveness of the recent wetlands restoration project.

The frog is sitting on spike rush, a native wetland plant that only grows in shallow wetlands.

Huntley Meadows and, possibly, Old Colchester are the only known FCPA parks with breeding populations of Southern Leopard Frogs, which can leap several feet. Learn more about them on the Fairfax County Public Schools website.


Busy Time at Huntley Meadows 

It's been a busy month at Huntley Meadows Park.
Beaver masks were one of the crafts created by kids on May 4 during Wetlands Awareness Day at Huntley Meadows. And on May 10, the park held the official opening ceremony following completion of its wetlands restoration project.
Learn more about the project and its impact on the wildlife of Huntley Meadows by joining the park manager for a free walk-and-talk discussion about the site on Saturday, May 17. Just meet at the visitors' center at 4 p.m.

Moving Firewood: Not Good Stewardship 

Although Virginia's statewide quarantine on the emerald ash borer means it's legal to move firewood among Virginia counties but not out of the state, moving firewood is still not good stewardship. In addition, Fairfax is one of several counties under quarantine for the moving of all walnut material, including firewood, because of Thousand Cankers Disease. Moving firewood moves insects. Both the Virginia Department of Forestry and Fairfax County's Urban Forest Management strongly encourage campers not to move firewood.

Ride the train on your birthday. Hold a party on Engine #62 at Sully Historic Site. Ride the train while pretending to be a farmer hauling food to town, or experience the life of a Civil War solider. Party in Sully's new Visitor Center after the ride. $200/two hours/15 people.

Lake Accotink's 25th anniversary Cardboard Boat Regatta is June 1. The idea was spawned by current Oak Mar RECenter Manager Kirt Chase and Park Authority Director Kirk Kincannon when they worked at Lake Accotink Park. Kincannon has agreed to return and mark the anniversary in traditional maritime manner. Have you ever tried to break a bottle of champagne over the bow of a cardboard boat?

Permit applications for professional photographers working in Fairfax County Park Authority parks are now on our website. Download the permit and read the guidelines at Professional Photography in the Parks.

Program Listings by Parks

Program Listings by Date

May 17  Spring Garden Day, at Green Spring Gardens, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
May 17  Food Wars, at Frying Pan Farm Park, 10 a.m.
May 17  Civil War Living History, at Colvin Run Mill, 12 noon - 4 p.m.
May 18  Grain Grinding Demonstration, at Colvin Run Mill, 12 noon - 3 p.m.
May 18  Intro to Kayaking, at Riverbend Park, 12 p.m.
May 18  Tree Trek, at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, 5 p.m.
May 23  Kayaking for Fitness, at Riverbend Park, 5 p.m.
May 24  Shenandoah Float and Fish, via v, 8 a.m.
May 24  Cures from the Quarter, at Sully Historic Site, 1, 2 and 3 p.m.
May 30  Kids Night Out, at Riverbend Park, 6 p.m.
May 30  Family Nature Night, at Huntley Meadows, 6:30 p.m.
May 31  Bow Making Workshop, at Riverbend Park, 9 a.m.
May 31  Food Wars, at Frying Pan Farm Park, 1:30 p.m.
Jun   1  The Civil War at Home and in Camp, at Sully Historic Site, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Jun   1  Blacksmithing Demonstration, at Colvin Run Mill, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Jun   1  Grain Grinding Demonstration, at Colvin Run Mill, 12 noon - 3 p.m.
Jun   1  Wetland in Bloom, at Huntley Meadows, 1 p.m.
Jun   1  Stream Stomp, at Hidden Oaks Nature Center, 3:30 p.m.
Jun   2  Nature Quest, at Hidden Pond Nature Center, 10 a.m.
Jun   2  Feeding Day, at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, 3:30 p.m.
Jun   7  Birds of Western Maryland, via Riverbend Park, 7 a.m.
Jun  9-13  Discovery Time, at Colvin Run Mill, 9 a.m.
Jun  9-13  Tea Parties, Picnics & Storybooks, at Hidden Oaks, 9 a.m., M-F
Jun  9-13  Little Ducklings Camp, at Riverbend Park, 9:30 a.m., M-F
Jun   9  Nature Quest, at Hidden Pond Nature Center, 10 a.m.
Jun 14  Nature Buddies, at Huntley Meadows, 11 a.m.
Jun 14  Backyard Conservation, at Huntley Meadows, 3:30 p.m.
Jun 15  Grain Grinding Demonstration, at Colvin Run Mill, 12 noon - 3 p.m.
Jun 16-20  Discovery Time, at Colvin Run Mill, 9 a.m.

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