The Gulf Branch Nature Center at 3608 Military Road will be hosting its annual Fall Heritage Festival on Saturday.
The festival will feature live music and family-friendly autumn activities. Admission is $5 per person, though children under three may attend for free.
The nature center issued the following promotional blurb about the event.
On Saturday, October 13 from 1 to 5 p.m., visit Gulf Branch Nature Center for old-timey fun for the whole family. This is a beloved community event that has been attracting hundreds of Arlingtonians for over a dozen years. “We’re starting to see the second generation now – young families coming whose parents remember making cider here when they were little.” said Jennifer Soles, staff naturalist. Last year, two more activity stations were added: pumpkin-painting and scarecrow making, so bring old clothes! Families can also participate in activities such as butter-churning, candle-dipping, cornhusk doll-making and LOTS more. “Everyone always wants a chance to explore the log cabin when they visit” reports naturalist Marty Pross. The Blacksmithing Guild of the Potomac has ongoing demonstrations in the forge. “Kids love to see the sparks – but the dads are the ones who often have to be dragged away” smith Curt Welch remembers. Festival goers enjoy music by Andrew Acosta & the New Old-Time String Band too! Summing up, 4-year old Mason Schnell says of the whole festival “It’s my favorite!”
For details, please call (703) 228-3403. Gulf Branch Nature Center is located at 3608 Military Rd, Arlington, VA 22207. $5 per person (children under three enter for free). Parking lot is closed for the event. On-street parking available on Military Road and 36th Road North.
The Gulf Branch Nature Center (3608 N. Military Rd.) is hosting its popular annual Bat Fest Arlington event on Saturday, with a live bat presentation and a “bat walk” for adults, weather permitting.
“Bat rehabilitator” Leslie Sturges will explain the mysterious nocturnal mammals with a 6:30 p.m.- 7:15 p.m. live presentation.
The event includes crafts and games for families and a walk through the woods to check out the bats’ habitat. Adults are welcome to stay until later, when Nature Center guides will go out to search for flying bats.
The bats typically don’t start flying until 8:30 p.m.
Bat Fest draws about 100 people each year, so the Nature Center is asking those interested to register in advance online. Admission is $5.
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Borland
The nature center was saved from potential closure and demolition in 2009 when supporters rallied to have it removed from a list of county budget cuts. Now, the nonprofit Friends of the Gulf Branch Nature Center organization is throwing the wooded outpost another birthday party.
The free event is scheduled from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 16. The program includes:
- Live music by the New Old Time String Band
- Live animal encounters and nature fun for everyone
- “Open forge” with the Blacksmiths’ Guild
- Birthday cake
Photo via friendsofgbnc.org
After years of reports of coyote sightings in various parts of north Arlington, county naturalists finally have visual proof of their existence.
From a county press release:
Just last week, a game camera at Potomac Overlook Regional Park, in Arlington, took the first video of an Arlington coyote. “We’ve had reports of them for years now, mostly in north Arlington, along the Potomac River, but couldn’t get any proof,” said County Natural Resources Manager Alonso Abugattas. “The public has sent us several pictures claiming coyotes but they were all either dogs or mangy foxes.”
What brings coyotes, long an iconic image of the West -– and paired with the Roadrunner in a beloved series of cartoons — to Arlington? Abugattas believes that our highly urbanized, densely populated County might actually be attractive to coyotes, who are skillful scavengers.
“Coyotes will make a living wherever they can find food, even in big cities,” he said. “I think they are here to stay.”
Arlington’s coyotes have proven to be very cautious and wary of people. They move around primarily at night, according to naturalists.
“Coyotes are very good at avoiding people, so residents shouldn’t be overly concerned,” Cliff Fairweather, a naturalist at the Long Branch Nature Center, said in a statement. “The key is for resident to not feed them or to encourage them not to be afraid of people. The longer they are afraid of people, the better it will be for coyotes and people.”
A group of local nature lovers is hoping to attract support for a new Virginia license plate with the inscription “Protect Polinators.” The plate is meant to bring attention to the role pollinators — bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, etc. — play in supporting the vitality of the earth’s ecosystem and food supply.
“So far we’ve had quite a lot of interest from Beekeepers, Master Gardeners, Naturalists (including native plant and pollinator enthusiasts), and the Audubon Society,” said pollinator plate organizer Samantha Gallagher. “Like all of the proposed new Virginia plates, we need 450 applicants, the General Assembly’s vote, and the DMV’s approval.”
According to the Virginia Pollinator Plate web site, supporters have signed up 44 people so far. They need another 406 commitments by November 2012 to move on to getting legislative and DMV support. An electronic application can be found here.
Gallagher says the purpose of the plate is not to raise money, but to raise awareness.
“Our plate costs $10 annually and isn’t a shared revenue plate, but our hope is that it provokes interest and conversation in pollinator conservation,” she said.
The photos sparked a dialogue in the comments about where exactly the photo was taken. That was enough for reader Alan H. to decide to take his son on an adventure to find the nest Sunday afternoon.
He emailed us with the photo above and the story below.
A few weeks ago I saw a bald eagle next to the Mt Vernon trail by Memorial bridge and thought – “I wonder if there is a nest nearby?” Shortly thereafter ARLnow posted the picture of the eagle nest and a commentator chimed in on approximately where it was located.
This afternoon, under a warm and sunny sky, I took my five year old son on an adventure to find the nest (the bald eagle is his favorite animal). Given the nest approximate location we tried Dawson Terrace park. Sure enough, about 50 yards down the trail at the back of the park we saw the nest. A little further exploration found the place where your photographer probably took the shots. Using our binoculars my son actually caught a glimpse of the bald eagle – most likely sitting on a clutch of eggs – and we saw one of the eagles fly into the nest. Needless to say, my son was hopping with excitement and it was the highlight of his (and my) day. We will be going back regularly to check on the progress of the eggs and hatchlings through the spring and summer.
So thanks for a great local news site – and for inspiring my five year old son!
If you’ve noticed more acorns on the ground than usual this fall, you’re not crazy. In fact, 2010 is “a bumper year” for acorns, according to a naturalist quoted by the Sun Gazette.
After an arduous nut famine in 2008, Arlington’s four species of squirrels are enjoying the feast, writes Scott McCaffrey. And the excess acorn production isn’t just good news for squirrels — it’s also good news for trees. The plethora of nuts may eventually result in new trees sprouting up around the county.
The DC area isn’t the only part of the country seeing an abundance of squirrel food. Ohio is “looking at its best [acorn] crop since 2005,” according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Why are the acorns so bountiful?
The meteorologists over at ABC 7 say that a lack of a major spring frost and a summer drought helped to spur acorn growth.
Naturalist Jennifer Soles is looking for volunteers who want to call part of the nature center their own. Volunteers would be responsible for keeping the area free of invasive plants and litter. In recognition of their work, a small marker will be placed in the ground bearing the name of the volunteer or the volunteer group.
Soles said that adopting an area is a great way to get to know the forest in greater detail.
“It’s your area,” she said. “You see the long-term health and recovery of that area, and that’s very gratifying.”
“Eventually I’d like to see the whole park adopted,” Soles added, while acknowledging that would require a lot of volunteers.
Children as young as middle school may be able to effectively manage an adopted area on their own, Soles said. Adoption is also an ideal volunteer opportunity for groups.
For more information, call 703-228-3404 or email jsoles[at]arlingtonva.us.
Photo c0urtesy Community Volunteer Network
With all this talk of blizzards and groundhogs seeing their shadows, now might be a good time to willfully escape from reality and dream about spring (which is exactly a month and a half away.) Tonight, naturalist Greg Zell will lead a presentation about the wide variety of natural habitats and unique wildlife that reside within Arlington’s borders. Imagine, while everybody else is fighting for bread, milk and toilet paper at the grocery store, you can be learning about natural wonders that exist in your own backyard.
Starts at 7:00 PM
Arlington Central Library Auditorium
1015 N. Quincy Street
(2 blocks from Virginia Square Metro)