Prince William Conservation Alliance
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Bleeding Heart
Prince William Conservation Alliance
Explore, Enjoy & Protect Local Natural Areas

Community Report - March 22, 2010
Newsletter Archive
Land Conservation in Northern Virginia - Federal, state and local decision makers discuss challenges and opportunities 
Visit our webpage here for more information.
One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of March thaw, is the SPRING. —Aldo Leopold
  Act Locally  
Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area
The 302-acre Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area was permanently protected through a partnership between Marine Corps Base Quantico, the Virginia Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries, the Prince William Conservation Alliance and the family of the late Dean and Mary McDowell, with support from the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation.
A conservation easement held by the U.S. Marine Corps was placed on Merrimac Farm and the property was transferred to the Virginia Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries on January 16, 2008. Less than three months later, Merrimac Farm was open to the public. 
On April 10, 2008 the conservation partners held a Grand Opening Celebration, the first Bluebell Festival at Merrimac Farm.
Now monthly bird walks, family activities and a Master Naturalist program are just a few fun ways to enjoy this great natural area.
We have preliminary  bird and butterfly lists, and a plant list.
There's also a new trail map, now it's easy to find the pond. And thanks to hardworking volunteers, we are likely to have boardwalks in critical areas before the Bluebell festival.
Things are looking good and we hope you'll visit Merrimac Farm for the Bluebell Festival on April 11!
  -- Temporary storage area for floodwater, prevents flooding
  -- Groundwater recharge areas
  -- Resting place for stormwater, where sediment can settle before water reaches streams
  --  Provide rich habitats and corridors that support a diversity of plants and animals
Grab your bike and go with Google maps; Users can now choose biking for travel plans
Tom Horton, Baltimore Sun; March 22 2010
Annapolis Capital; March 21 2010 
Associated Press; March 19 2010
   Bluebell Festival at Merrimac Farm
When: Sunday, April 11, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Where: Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area, Stone House Visitor Center, directions
Bring your family and friends to Merrimac Farm Bluebell Festival. Welcome spring and view the spectacular display of Virginia Bluebells that carpet the floodplain along Cedar Run for nearly a mile. In the words of one visitor, it's like walking through Oz.
Events include naturalist-led tours to Cedar Run, where everyone can learn more about the birds, butterflies, frogs and other cool wildlife at Merrimac Farm.
Inside the Stone House, local artists will have nature paintings and photographs on display and for sale. On the front lawn, local groups will have displays and hands-on activities for children of all ages, featuring nature close to home.
Supporting groups include BR Associates, Bull Run Mountain Conservancy, Prince William Art Society, Prince William Wildflower Society and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Sponsored by Corps Base Quantico, Virginia Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries, Prince William Conservation Alliance and the McDowell Family.
   Wildlife & wildflower walks
Merrimac Farm WMA

When: 4th Sunday of every month- March 28 and April 25, beginning at 8:00 am Where: Meet at the North Parking Lot, 14712 Deepwood Land, Nokesville

Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge

When: Saturday, April 1 7, from 8:00 to 10:30 am Where: Meet at the Rippon VRE main parking lot, intersection of Rippon Blvd. and Farm Creek Drive

Rte 234 Wetland Mitigation Area
When: Saturday, May 1, from 8:00 to 10:30 am Where: RSVP for email directions to meeting location
RSVP and for more information, contact the Prince William Conservation Alliance at 703.499.4954. or check our online Calendar here.
   PWCA First Thursday Speaker Series
Rattlers & other cool snakes Who lives in NoVA?
When: Thur sday, April 1, from 7:30 to 9:00 pm

Speaker: Paul Peterson, Prince William Forest Park

Managing Deer in the Suburbs
When: Thursday, May 6, from 7:30 to 9:00 pm
Speaker: Charles Smith, Natural Resources Manager,  Fairfax County Park Authority
All 1st Thursday programs are held at Bull Run Unitarian Universalist Church, 9350 Main Street in Manassas, thanks to support from their Green Team.
   Merrimac Farm Trails
Floodplain wetlands, upland fields and hardwood forests come together at Merrimac Farm, creating a diverse habitat mosaic that supports a variety of wildlife. It's a great place to explore nature all year round.
Now there's a new trail map you can use to plan your visit. Please note that Merrimac Farm is managed to promote wildlife diversity... most trails are best described as footpaths. No matter the season, appropriate attire for Merrimac Farm is always long pants, sturdy shoes and long socks. Click here for more info and directions.
With more than 100 acres of floodplain wetlands, some areas can be very wet and difficult to cross. We're working on low boardwalks for a couple areas to keep feet and mud in separate places. The critical areas should be done before the Bluebell Festival thanks to hardworking volunteers Bill Olson, Martin Jeter, Kevin Parker, Ed Hudgens, Steve Kelsch and Greg Bagford.
Contact Kim Hosen at 703.499.4954 or if you're interested in helping... or have wood to contribute. To date we've used cedar trees damaged by the snow and wood from a small barn being converted into meeting space, but that will run out before we're done.
  Land Conservation in Northern Virginia
Federal, state and local decisions makers discuss the challenges and opportunities
When: Monday, May 17 - Doors open at 7:00 pm, program at 7:30 pm
Where: McCoart Government Center, Board Chambers with displays from Northern Virginia conservation and environmental organizations in the lobby.
Learn about the ecological and financial benefits of land conservation for individuals and communities.
Opening remarks
  • Congressman Gerry Connolly, 11th Congressional District
  • Robert Davenport, Board Director, Virginia Land Conservation Foundation
  • Supervisor Mike May, Vice-Chairman, Prince William County Board of Supervisors
  • Sarah Richardson, Land Conservation Coordinator, Virginia Dept. of Conservation & Recreation
  • Bob Lee, Executive Director, Virginia Outdoors Foundation
Q&A and Community Discussion with all speakers
  Eagle Festival at Mason Neck
When: Saturday, April 24, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
After escaping the chopping block in this years state budget thanks to the many people who spoke up for parks, we all looking forward to the Eagle Festival at Mason Neck!
This years theme is Nature is the Key for Healthy Children. Exhibits from over 30 environmental, historical and non-profit organizations will be there, including the Elizabeth Hartwell National Wildlife Refuge and the Potomac Refuges, the Bureau of Land Management, Pohick Bay Regional Park, Gunston Hall, the Prince William Conservation Alliance, and the Prince William County Park Authority. 
Just for Kids - What's for lunch at Merrimac Farm?
When: Monday, April 19, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm(teacher work day)
Where: Merrimac Farm Stone House Visitor Center, 15020 Deepwood Lane, Nokesville
RSVP & questions to PWCA at or 703.499.4954.
At the end of the morning, we're ready for soup and sandwiches. But if you were a frog, you'd be looking for flies. In addition to frogs, we'll investigate what's on the lunch menu for wildlife at Merrimac Farm cafe. After a discovery walk, we'll return to the Stone House and create clay replicas of your favorite animals favorite lunch.
Suggested contribution is $5/ea. Register early! Program is capped at 12 participants.