Check our Events Calendar
for all upcoming events. Events posted here generally reflect the next upcoming VNPS Potowmack chapter happening.
Newsletters for download are here
Our fall plant sale is almost here! Please mark your calendars for
Saturday September 13th, 9am-3pm. We'll be in our usual spot at our
propagation beds behind the greenhouse at Green Spring
Gardens Park. Click here
for a Google Map to the beds.
See the attachment below for a typical list of plants for sale.
Mason Neck State Park:
Visit with Lisa Bright to one of her favorite places
VNPS programs are free and open to the public, but space on field trips is strictly limited.
Located on the Mason Neck peninsula, surrounded by Pohick Bay, Belmont Bay and the Potomac
River, this is an especially good place to witness many interesting
Coastal wetland plants. We will walk through the trail along the wetland
to the pond and to the marsh area to see an amazing variety of Coastal
species, including some great patches of lowbush and highbush
blueberry, black huckleberry, swamp doghobble, serviceberry, possumhaw,
and VA sweetspire. We will also find pickerel weed, arrow arum, three
squares, rose mallow, cardinal flower, smooth beggarticks, fringed and
shallow sedge, sneezeweed, and many others.
Note: At the entrance to the park, the state charges a parking fee of $5.00 per car. http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/mas.shtml
lunch if you would like to join us after the walk for a picnic near the
parking lot while we review the list of plants we discovered.
Bright is co-founder, Executive Director and Dharma Teacher of the Earth
Sangha. She has been studying and propagating the native plants of
the mid-Atlantic since 2000 and has spent many years collecting seeds
from local forests and meadows for the Wild Plant Nursery. She has
covered Mason Neck and many natural areas in our region repeatedly in
different seasons over the years, but says she always finds new species
overlooked in previous seasons.
For more information about the Earth Sangha, visit http://www.earthsangha.org/
Mark your calendar for Saturday August 2nd, 9AM!
Stay tuned for details....
Wavyleaf Grass Identification, Ecology and Management
A workshop with Dr. Vanessa Beauchamp of Towson University
Saturday, July 5
Great Falls, VA
(See below for times and registration details)
Wavyleaf grass is a recently-introduced invasive grass which is rapidly spreading in our area. It has the potential to devastate forests in Virginia and Maryland. Infestations are being actively sought by Early Detection teams in both states. The public is being asked to assist in the early detection work by mapping and reporting the locations of any sightings. Towson University has developed a smartphone app to assist in reporting.
Dr. Vanessa Beauchamp, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences and head of the Plant Ecology Lab at Towson University will be leading this workshop to train citizen scientists on the identification, ecology and management of this very invasive grass, including potential look-alikes, impacts and use of the new smartphone app. The workshop will be held at Fraser Preserve and will be followed by a field trip to infestations within the Preserve.
Free and open to the public. RSVP is required.
9:30 am -12:00 pm
1:00 pm -3:30 pm
Walk and Weed at Fraser Preserve:
A field trip with Margaret Chatham
Saturday, June 21
9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Great Falls, VA
RSVP required: https://vnps20140621.eventbrite.com
VNPS programs are free and open to the public, but reservations are required for field trips.
see what’s blooming at Fraser Preserve. In May, it’s
jack-in-the-pulpit, pawpaw, hooked crowfoot, puttyroot (if the deer
don’t eat them all) and clustered sanicle. In June? We’ll see. Then
spend half an hour getting up close & personal pulling wavy leaf
basket grass. No equipment needed, beyond the usual needs of a woodsy
walk: water, insect repellent, long pants.
is a somewhat strenuous walk, two miles down & up & down &
up (but that way you get to see wetlands & hilltops!) Carpooling is
Margaret Chatham is a Potowmack Chapter Board Member, a story-teller and a long-time volunteer at Fraser Preserve.
Preserve is a 220-acre tract owned by The Nature Conservancy. Many of
the natural habitats found in the Piedmont region are represented at
For more information about this beautiful site, see:http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/virginia/placesweprotect/fraser-preserve.xml
Check out our summer newsletter below. Newsletter editor Alan Ford said, "We have a great article on Merrimac Farms written by Charles Smith, and much else worthy of your attention."
Our Spring 2014 plant sale is Saturday May 17, from 9-3pm at Green Spring Gardens Park. Look for our tent behind the greenhouse and visitor's center. Hope to see you there!
Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve:
Restoring a Primeval Wilderness in the D.C. Area
Thursday, April 10
7:30 - 9:00 pm
Green Spring Gardens
4603 Green Spring Road
Alexandria, VA 22312
VNPS programs are free and open to the public. No reservations are necessary for this presentation.
Naturalist Louis Halle called Dyke Marsh “the nearest thing to primeval wilderness in the immediate vicinity of the city.” It is one of the last large tracts of freshwater tidal marsh along the Potomac River, and is one of the most biologically diverse habitats in the Washington, D.C. region. The marsh is home to 300 known species of plants, 6,000 arthropods, 38 fish, 16 reptiles, 14 amphibians and over 270 species of birds. It is the only site in the upper Potomac River zone with a breeding population of marsh wrens and has state-threatened breeding populations of least bitterns. The state-threatened river bulrush is common in the marsh.
U.S. Geological Survey scientists have concluded that 1.5 to two acres of wetlands are vanishing every year, a rate so severe that Dyke Marsh will be gone in 10 to 20 years. Dredging reduced what was once 200 acres of emergent marsh to 83 acres and destabilized the whole system, spurring the loss of another 23 acres. Today fewer than 60 acres remain. The National Park Service is proposing a restoration plan to stabilize and restore the marsh.
Friends of Dyke Marsh President and VNPS member Glenda Booth will describe Dyke Marsh, its significance, the NPS restoration goals and the importance of wetlands and wetlands restoration.
Spring in the Potomac Gorge:
A field trip with Cris Fleming
Saturday, April 12
9:00 am to 1:00 pm
Turkey Run Park
George Washington National Parkway
VNPS programs are free and open to the public.
Reservations are required for field trips.
chapter Botany Chair Cris Fleming for a walk through one of our area’s
best spring wildflower displays. Famous for the spectacular show of
Virginia bluebells along the Potomac River, Turkey Run Park also harbors
other early spring flowers such as dwarf ginseng, swamp buttercup, wild
geranium, sessile trillium, perfoliate bellwort and many others.
Participants need to be able to walk the zig-zag trail down the steep
hillside and to cross the creek on rocks (there will be helping hands).
Depending on bloom status, we may see the very early bloomers like
harbinger of spring. The normal early bloomers may not yet be in full
oaks, beech, tuliptree, basswood, sugar maple and other mature trees
form an exceptionally fine hardwood forest at Turkey Run. A
well-developed floodplain, rocky bluffs, and deep ravines are habitats
of this 200 acre park.
Details and starting point for the walk will be sent to registered
participants. Please RSVP to https://vnps20140412.eventbrite.com. Space is limited.