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April 2016
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Audubon eNews

36th Annual Bloomin’ Birdathon

Join us for the 36th Annual Bloomin’ Birdathon and count for a cause, Friday, April 15 to Sunday, May 15, 2016. Over the course of one month each spring, teams and individuals count as many wildflower or bird species as they can at locations of their choice over one 24-hour period. Participants may solicit sponsors to pledge to donate to ANS based on the numbers counted. Or you can participate by donating. All donations are tax-deductible and directly benefit ANS’s environmental education and conservation programs. 

Register Today

Photo credit: Chan Chao

Taking Aim at the Emerald Ash Borer  
Emerald Ash Ash tree damage from Emerald Ash Borer

You’re hiking along the Rock Creek Park trail in Montgomery County—and you notice there are less trees. Less ash trees, to be exact. They’ve been removed by Montgomery County Parks arborists because they are damaged. The removal is a safety measure to both prevent dead or injured trees from falling and to protect existing and future ash trees. 

Blame a tiny bug called the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). Named for its color, the Emerald Ash Borer is a non-native beetle that originated in Eastern Asia and has set up shop in North America.  It probably arrived in the U.S. on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes. The borer has killed millions of trees across the Midwest and Eastern United States. First discovered in Michigan in 2002, it has spread to more than 25 states, including Maryland and Virginia, and the District of Columbia. 

Here in the D.C. metropolitan area, the infestation is moving quickly. Patrick Harwood, a horticulturist for Montgomery Parks, notes that in the previous year, Montgomery Parks removed 20 or so trees. “This year, we are on par to remove upwards of about 1,800 trees, which is a pretty startling number,” he said. “As the population density of the bug increases, the speed which it kills trees is much faster. So it can go anywhere from one to three years but in high infestation areas, it can be as little as six months.”  

"I've seen evidence of the County's prophylactic cutting and it’s made me wince, since some of the infected trees still appear so healthy," said Stephanie Mason, Senior Naturalist for the Audubon Naturalist Society. "However, I've also watched the demise and eventual death of ash trees along the C&O Canal. And sadly, I have visited places in Ohio where they're gone."

What’s in the future for our ash trees? There’s a natural predatory wasp--an EAB bio-control-- that will help restore balance. Using this biocontrol will allow for future plantings of ash trees to be successful, but unfortunately will not stop the current widespread ash mortality. “We are aggressively pursuing University of Maryland and Maryland Department of Agriculture for them to supply us with the imported predatory wasps that they are rearing,” said Harwood. “Yet we are reminded by UMD that we are in a long line of folks waiting for the wasps. They are expensive and time-consuming to rear but are looking promising for the long-term future of ash in America.” 

What can the ANS community do in the meantime? Report any ash trees that are dying to the Montgomery Parks Service Center. Call 301-670-8080 or email service.center@montgomeryparks.org.

Don’t use ash tree logs as firewood--removing and transporting logs can spread the beetle. And be patient—once the infested ash trees are removed, Montgomery Parks staff will replant new trees. “It’s obviously an enormous loss of canopy,” Harwood said. “Trees are extremely important in storm water management and erosion control. They provide habitat for wildlife as well as a wonderful place to recreate. We are dedicated to replanting.”

Master Plan Meetings  Hit the Trail 
Spring at Woodend Trail at Rust Sanctuary
Two Woodend Master Plan public meetings scheduled, Monday, April 11, 2016, 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Learn More.
Join the trails team, Friday mornings. Great way to get outside this spring, get some exercise. Sign Up

Master Naturalist Training Ad


Rock Out - Help Out: 2016 Concert for the Chesapeake Bay, Sunday, April 3, 2016, Arrive by 5:15 PM, Show 6-7 PM, All ages welcome, Free parking. Hear great local music and help raise awareness and activism for our state’s most treasured natural resource. This is a live studio taping that will air on MPT on April 30th!

~ 11th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival, Sunday, April 24, 2016, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, Howard Avenue, Kensington, Maryland. Street festival, rain or shine. Live music, children's program, authors, readings, food and much more!

~  2nd Annual Montgomery County GreenFest. On Saturday, April 30th, the Montgomery County GreenFest is taking over 2 blocks of Takoma Park with music, films, speakers, exhibitors and workshops all focused on building community and improving our environment. Takoma Park Community Center: 7500 Maple Avenue, Takoma Park, Maryland.

Southeastern Arizona 

August 19-28, 2016
Leaders: Sheri Williamson & Rob Gibbs

Southeastern Arizona has long been considered one of our country’s top birding and natural history destinations.  Four major biomes converge here, each with its own complement of plants and animals.  With ever-changing dramatic scenery as the backdrop, come search for birds and other wildlife while learning about the dynamics of southeastern ecosystems. The region is quite arid, but rains typically come in late summer, bringing greenery to the landscape and more comfortable temperatures.  In August nesting birds mix with southbound migrants and it’s the month with highest hummingbird diversity. 

Read More

Audubon Birthday Parties at Rust 
 Ten Mile Creek Cake

Are you looking for a place to host a unique children’s birthday party? Consider ANS at Rust Nature Sanctuary! 

Wiggly Worms! All About Birds! Ponding! Insect Investigation! Reptiles and Amphibians! Animal Clues! Winter Detective! The birthday parties are available in many themes and topics—all pertaining to the natural world. 

“The parties are multi-sensory, inquiry based,” said Susanne Ortmann, Environmental Education Program Manager at Rust. “The kids get to unplug and play in nature.”  

Parties are held year-round and are 1-1/2 hours long. Available party times at Rust are Saturdays and Sundays, 10:00 am or 12:00 noon. Booking the party at least two weeks in advance is recommended. 

Book your party today at Rust. Call 703-669-0000 or email Susanne Ortmann

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Straw Bale Home & Edible Garden Tour

Saturday, April 9, 2016
3:00 pm to 7:00 pm in Frederick, Maryland

We have a wonderful opportunity to tour a unique straw bale home and three acres of edible landscaping. Please join us! Cost for the event is $75 per person and includes a comprehensive tour of the innovative home and gardens, cocktail hour, dinner and a signed copy of Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist. Space is limited. 

Get Tickets

Spring Birdseed Sale 
 Scarlett birdseed

All birdseed and suet discounted, all month (April 1 - 30) at the Audubon Naturalist Shop. The discount for ANS members is 20 percent.  Non-members enjoy a 10 percent saving. 

Shop Now

Chesapeake Conservation Corps Opportunity 
 Chesapeake Conservation Corps Logo

Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) is one of many potential host sites for the 2016-17 Chesapeake Conservation Corps service year. The Corps Program provides hands-on environmental, leadership and green job training opportunities for young adults through environmental, community engagement and energy conservation projects. This initiative, supported by the Trust, Constellation Energy, the National Park Service and the state of Maryland, places young adults 18-25 with nonprofit or government agencies to work full time in the environmental field for a one-year term of service beginning on August 23, 2016 in the Chesapeake Bay region ($16,000 annual stipend). 

If successfully matched with ANS, the Corps Member will be trained to design and lead a wide variety of environmental education programs for pre-K to grade 12 children, including in-school and afterschool programs, field trips, camps, and family programs. 

Applications must be submitted through the Trust’s online system by April 15, 2016 at 5:00 pm.

For any questions about becoming a volunteer or about the Chesapeake Conservation Corps, contact Program Specialist Tara Baker, tbaker@cbtrust.org or 410-974-2941, ext. 102. 

Learn More

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© Audubon Naturalist Society

Rust Sanctuary
802 Childrens Center Road
Leesburg, VA 20175
Phone: 703-669-0000
Fax: 703-669-1234

Woodend Sanctuary (Headquarters)
8940 Jones Mill Road
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Phone: 301-652-9188
Fax: 301-951-7179

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