Prince William Conservation Alliance
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Prince William Conservation Alliance
Explore, enjoy and protect nature close to home
Community Report
April 20, 2011
Prince William Conservation Alliance


Tour! Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge

Volunteer! Bluebird Trail at Merrimac Farm


Zabulon skipper on pickerel weed
There is no season such delight can bring,
As summer, autumn, winter and the spring.
~William Browning
Act Locally

Our programs & successes are thanks to our members

by Ernie Sears

Neabsco Creek at Rippon Landing Park

If you would like to see an often spectacular sunrise, follow the path along the Service Authority right-of-way on the backside of this small county park to Neabsco Creek.

The spatterdock and arrow arum both flower in early spring and are surrounded by newly emerging cattails and rushes. The view across the marsh towards the Potomac River is unlike any that you may see at a public area.

Quantico Cascades at Prince William Forest Park

I have been visiting Prince William Forest Park since I was a child, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I visited the Quantico Cascades.

Located on Quantico Creek where it passes over the fall line, this is one of the few places in eastern Price William with waterfalls.

With a mixture of hardwood trees and large boulders combined with the sound of falling water, this is a great spot for forgetting your cares and the urban grind.

Anchor  Tour! Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge
Spring PeeperWhen: Saturday, April 23, from 8:00 to 10:00 am

Where: Meet at the Rippon VRE main parking lot, located at the end of Farm Creek Drive just past the intersection with Rippon Blvd.

Tidal wetlands are teeming with life and beautiful to see in the spring. With nearly two miles of Potomac River shoreline, the Featherstone Refuge is not to be missed. Please join us for a morning walk through this beautiful forest along the Potomac River.

Bring binoculars and cameras. Wear clothes suitable for the outdoors, including long pants and sturdy shoes. It's been a rainy spring, waterproof shoes may be a plus.
 Anchor  Volunteer! Bluebird Trail at Merrimac Farm
Bluebird nesting boxIf you want to help but can't make the training, contact us to attend a regularly scheduled monitoring session.

When: Sunday, April 23, 1:00 - 2:30 pm

Where: Merrimac Farm Stone House, 15020 Deepwood Lane, Nokesville

RSVP & more info:, 703.499.4954.

Thanks to the many people who install and tend nesting boxes, Bluebird populations are growing. You can help and have a great time too!

Responsibilities include working with other volunteers to check the nesting boxes each week and gather data about what's happening at each box. It takes about two hours to cover the entire trail... unless you see lots of interesting things along the way!

We hope you can help with this important project. Click here to read more about the Bluebird Trail at Merrimac Farm.

Anchor  Merrimac Farm Bird Walk
Birders tally up the speciesWhen: Sunday, April 24... on the last Sunday of every month, beginning at 8:00 am

Where: Merrimac Farm, Stone House Visitor Center, 15020 Deepwood Lane, Nokesville

We'll look for birds and other wildlife, especially butterflies, as we 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 alliance(at)

Anchor  Merrimac Farm Open House
Spring Beauties at Merrimac FarmWhen: Sunday, April 24, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Where: Merrimac Farm Stone House Visitor Center, 15020 Deepwood Lane, Nokesville

Stop by the Stone House to meet people who are making things happen at Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area. Find out about new projects, what wildlife we've been seeing and join us for a fun nature walk.

Expect light refreshments, good conversation and a refreshing walk led by local naturalists. No RSVP needed, bring your family and explore nature close to home.

Anchor  The Amaizing History of Corn

Indian cornPWCA 1st Thursday Speaker Series

When: Thursday, May 5 from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m.

Where: Bull Run Unitarian Universalist Church, 9350 Main Street, Manassas

Speaker: Charlie Grymes, Chairman, Prince William Conservation Alliance

Corn was created perhaps 9,000 years ago by some of the earliest human farmers, who lived in what today we call Mexico. Humans domesticated a grass (teosinte), altering its genetics and creating a seedhead that ultimately resembled the "Indian corn" used in Halloween decorations now.

It took thousands of years for Native American farmers to develop a version of teosinte that could grow in the colder climates to the north. However, once corn could grow in the Mississippi River Valley - hey, there went the neighborhood.

It appears the population grew, culture changed dramatically, and Native American tooth cavities skyrocketed due to the sweet corn diet. Since then, corn has been an essential part of Virginia agriculture, providing food for people and animals in Prince William County.

Join us May 5 (Cinco de Mayo) to discuss this plant; you'll be amaized!