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

 Community Report - February 2, 2011
 Newsletter Archive
American Goldfinch
Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land. —Aldo Leopold
Act Locally
PWCA community programs and conservation successes are made possible thanks to the support of our members.
Great Backyard Bird Count
Friday, 2/18 through Monday, 2/21 

The 2011 Great Backyard Bird Count will take place Friday, February 18, through Monday, February 21.

Led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent.

Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds.

Visit the Great Backyard Bird Count webpage here to learn how you can get involved!

Annual Bluebell Festival at Merrimac Farm

Sunday, April 10, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Click here for more information.

Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area is 302 acres of floodplain wetlands, fields and hardwood forest.

Merrimac Farm is Virginia's 37th Wildlife Management Area and the first that is located in Northern Virginia.
  Saving the Bay = New PWC environmental policies
Route 234 Wetland Mitigation AreaPWCA First Thursday Speaker Series

Speaker: Norm Goulet, Senior Environmental Planner, Northern Virginia Regional Commission

When: Thursday, February 4 from 7:30 to 9:00 pm

Where: Bull Run Unitarian Church,93650 Main Street, Manassas

The EPA's Chesapeake Bay TMDL defines new pollution limits to save the Bay. We know these new standards will affect all localities, but the extent of the changes is still largely unknown.
What do you need to know to understand how we in Virginia plan to help save the Bay? The EPA has approved Virginia's Watershed Implementation Plan, but we're still in Phase 1 and little is known about the implications associated with Phase 2 implementation.
Join us on Thursday, February 3, to learn about the new standards and their potential influence on business as usual in PWC... and to hear what Norm's crystal ball has to say about the future of environmental policies in Northern Virginia.
   Featherstone Refuge - FWS holds public  
   meetings on draft management plan

Public information meetings on the draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) are scheduled for Wednesday, February 3, 2:00-4:00 pm and 6:30- 8:30 pm, at Potomac Library, 2201 Opitz Blvd., Woodbridge.

Wildlife refuges are for both wildlife and for people, and finding the right balance is a challenge. The US Fish and Wildlife Service stated clearly in the Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for Featherstone and Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuges that "[p]ublic access is the overarching issue at Featherstone Refuge."

The CCP for Featherstone includes a Compatibility Determination based on biological impacts for seven activities: dog walking, outdoor events, research, non-motorized access on designated trails, wildlife observation/photography/environmental education/interpretation, hunting, and fishing. All are defined as compatible, with stipulations (such as staying on trails).

The Compatibility Determination resolves the key debate: opening the refuge to public access will not harm the wildlife resources.

The Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) has been closed to public use ever since the first land was acquired in 1979. After over 30 years, that might finally change. Keep reading...

  PechaKucha Nature Night
Zebra LongwingWhen: Saturday, February 12, doors open at 7:00 pm, presentations begin promptly at 7:30 pm
Where: Tall Oaks Community Center, 12298 Cotton Mill Drive, Woodbridge
PechaKucha Nights are informal gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, experiences and thoughts in the PechaKucha 20x20 format.
PechaKucha 20X20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. All the presentations are timed, the slides move forward automatically. Each presentation is a total of six minutes 40 seconds long. 
You won't want to miss Nature Night, featuring presentations by:

Ernie Sears - Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge

Rob Hartwell - Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge

Earnie Porta - Chasing the Sun 

Kim Hosen  - On Six Legs

Julie Flanagan  - Glacier National Park

Judy Gallagher - Wonderful World of Wasps

Charlie Grymes - The Occoquan Reservoir

Nancy Vehrs  - Milkweed, Monarchs and Migration

David Werth  - The Life and Death and Life of Stars, or Joni Mitchell was Right!

Laura Cohen  - Prince William Forest Park 
Sponsored by the Prince William Conservation Alliance and Lake Ridge Parks & Recreation Association. Open to the public, free of charge. Donations for refreshments benefit the PechaKucha for Haiti Fund.
Questions? Kim Hosen, PWCA, at 703.499.4954 or Shirley Couteau, LRPRA, at 703.491.2154
  Open House at Merrimac Farm 

Cedar Run at Merrimac FarmWhen: Sunday, February 27, 1:00 to 4:00 pm  

Where: Stone House Visitor Center, Merrimac Farm, 15020 Deepwood Lane, Nokesville, directions
Stop by the Stone House to learn more about what's happening at Merrimac Farm and join us for a winter nature walk.

Expect light refreshments, good conversation and a fun nature walk led by local naturalists. Last month we heard saw Yellow-rumped Warblers, heard Barred Owls, and skated through the floodplain on this ice. This time, we'll look for Virginia Bluebells, which should be starting to break ground in the floodplain.

No RSVP needed, bring your family and have fun exploring nature close to home.

  Monthly Bird Walk at Merrimac Farm
Yellow-rumped Warbler by Julia FlanaganWhen: Sunday, February 27, beginning at 8:00 am
Where: Merrimac Farm, North Parking Lot (1st entrance), 14710 Deepwood Lane, directions
Join us for the regularly scheduled last Sunday of the month bird walk at Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area. We'll travel through the uplands to the edge of the floodplain, covering a variety of habitats, including open fields and woodland edges. Everyone is welcome. Dress for the weather, bring binoculars and cameras. More info and RSVP (not required) to PWCA , 703.499.4954 or