{' '} {' '}
Limited time offer
SAVE % on your upgrade.

Page 1

Walker Nature Education Center

A LOOK INSIDE • Calendar of Events 4 • Kid’s Corner 6 • Wildlife Counts and Classes 7

Nature Notes By Sharon Gurtz


• American Goldfinch nest. • Fireflies are active. • Northern Red-backed Salamanders lay eggs. • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Viceroy and Wood Nymph butterflies are seen.


• Black Cohosh, Cardinal Flower and Sweet Pepperbush bloom. • Damselflies and dragonflies are active. • Eastern Rat Snakes lay eggs. • Wild blueberries and raspberries ripen.

August • Southern Flying Squirrel young are born. • Eastern Box Turtle and Snapping Turtle eggs hatch. • Asters, sunflowers and goldenrod bloom. • Fall bird migration begins.

BRANCHING OUT Reston’s Misidentified Snake By Ken Rosenthal The aquatic habitats of Reston provide wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities. Frogs, turtles and snakes sun themselves along the water’s edge, where they can easily escape to the water when you approach. In Reston, the most common snake found near water is the Northern Watersnake. Unfortunately for these snakes, they are often mistakenly identified as venomous Copperheads or Water Moccasins. Sun-loving lifestyle Northern Watersnakes are thick-bodied snakes that live near virtually every body of water in their range, including lakes, ponds, streams and wetlands. They can be active during day and night, and are most often seen sunning themselves on rocks, trees, shrubs and low branches overhanging the water. Like all snakes, they are cold-blooded and need to warm up by basking in the sun in order to get their metabolism moving. This is especially important for Watersnakes because they hunt underwater, where the water is cooler than the surrounding air and can quickly lower their body temperature. A wide variety of animals make up the Northern Watersnake’s diet, including worms, crayfish, fish, frogs, salamanders, birds and small mammals. At night, they hunt minnows and other small fish that can be found sleeping in shallow water. Watersnakes have long

Continued on page 2

Summer 12 Volume Sixteen

Walker Nature Education Center 11450 Glade Drive, Reston, VA 20191 Enjoy year-round access to trails, free parking and restroom facilities dawn to dusk.


Reston’s Misidentified Snake continued from page 1 teeth, adapted for holding on to the slippery fish they hunt. The size of their food is dependent on the size of the snake – the larger the snake, the bigger its food can be. Northern Watersnakes eat their prey live, like other snakes, but they do not have venom and don’t constrict their prey. Their long, sharp teeth help them catch their prey and hold on until swallowed whole.

Venomous look-alikes Northern Watersnakes are one of our most frequently misidentified snakes. Although residents often refer to them as Copperheads or Water Moccasins, they are neither. Water Moccasins (or Cottonmouths) are not native to most of Virginia, being found only in the swamps of southeastern Virginia. While we do have Copperheads in Reston, they are not as common as Watersnakes. Copperheads are Reston’s only venomous snake, and are more likely to be found in rocky, forested habitats rather than aquatic environments.

72 acres of forested land, a picnic pavilion, demonstration gardens, educational signage, a campfire ring, two streams, a pond, the entrance to 44-acre Lake Audubon and an interpretive green building, known as Nature House.

Watersnakes will bite defensively if handled. Their long teeth produce a painful bite. Watersnakes can also produce a foul-smelling musk when handled. Most snakes have harmful bacteria in their mouth, so all snakebites should be cleaned thoroughly with soap and water and treated with antiseptic. Like Copperheads, however, Northern Watersnakes would rather slither away than bite an animal too large to swallow.


Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays

Saturdays 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Sundays 1 - 4 p.m. Closed July 4 for Independence Day

FOR MORE INFORMATION 703-476-9689 • www.reston.org

Branching Out is a quarterly publication of the Walker Nature Education Center (WNEC), owned and operated by Reston Association. The mission of the WNEC is to foster an environmental stewardship ethic in the community. It is named after Reston’s first Open Space and Nature Center Director, Vernon J. Walker.

Branching Out is printed on 100 percent recycled paper using soy ink. It is produced using 100 percent wind power. Please recycle.


How to Tell the Difference Both Northern Watersnakes and Copperheads have alternating light and dark brownish bands. Copperheads have a triangular head, vertical pupils like a cat’s eye, and a heat-sensing pit between their nostril and eye. Northern Watersnakes lack these features, though when threatened they may flatten their body causing the head to appear somewhat triangular. Hopefully, you won’t get too close trying to see the eye or pit, but the bands across their backs should tell you all you need to know. The dark bands on a Copperhead are narrowest at the spine, and widest near the belly, producing an hourglass or saddle bag pattern. On Northern Watersnakes this pattern is the opposite, with the widest point of the dark bands at the spine, tapering towards the belly. In older Watersnakes the bands are often faded and hard to see. Watersnakes are easy to spot and fun to watch. I have spent many a birding trip watching these snakes instead of looking for birds, marveling at how they hunt underwater. Arming yourself with these identification tips can help you better recognize which snakes to keep a distance from, yet truly enjoy the reptiles that live here in Reston. Remember, a snake near the water is most likely a Northern Watersnake. But, if you cannot tell the difference, then it is always a good idea to view any snake you cannot identify from a safe distance. If a snake near your home or along your favorite walk is concerning you, feel free to take a digital photo and send it to naturecenter@reston.org.

Our Bodies, Our Selves Please & Thank You Stories of self discovery, self control and self destruction. June 2, 2012 Walker Nature Education Center 11450 Glade Dr. Reston, VA 7:00 p.m. First Show (Doors Open 6:30 p.m.) 9:00 p.m. Encore Show (Doors Open 8:30 p.m.) Tickets: $15 Buy Tickets at: OurBodyStories.Eventbrite.com Refreshments available (Beer, Wine, Coffee, Snacks) Stories intended for adult audience.

By Katie Shaw

The on-going support of the community is essential to the nature center. Many people choose to support the center through volunteer work, others through cash or in-kind donations. Here are some ways that you can help, like your friends and neighbors below.

Please Tax deductible donations are gratefully received by our charitable 501c3 organization, Friends of Reston, 12001 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20191. Write “Nature Center” in the memo section of your check. You will receive a letter of receipt for tax purposes. If you can donate one of the following items in new or excellent condition, please contact kshaw@reston.org or call 703-435-6510. Friends of Reston will provide you with a letter of receipt for tax purposes. Wish List: binoculars, freezer, black oil sunflower seeds for feeders, and a subwoofer for the stereo system.

Thank You to the Following Donors:

Proceeds Benefit Friends of Reston

Active Duty Fitness; The Business Bank; Chadwick, Washington, Moriarty, Elmore & Bunn P.C.; Charles & Julie Bond; Larry & Melanie Butler; Abbie Edwards; Ray & Mary Lynne Leonhard; Johanna Nelson; Richard P. Slater Financial Planning Services; Katie Shaw; SunTrust Bank; Thrive Plant Healthcare Solutions; Glenn Walker; Wetland Studies & Solutions; Whole Foods Market; and all 154 of the 5K Fund Run participants and prize donors!

Thank You to the Following Volunteers:

Presented By:

Contact: Katie Shaw at kshaw@reston.org or call 703.435.6510

New Citizen Science: The Cricket Crawl Friday, August 24, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Ages 8 through Adult (Children must be accompanied by an adult.)

Jessica Amaya, Carolyn Badila, Richard & Mary Badley, David & Joanne Bauer, Matt Bender, John Bringman, Diane Blust, Charles & Julie Bond, Mark Bouwmeester, Ashley & Mya Brock, Bill Brown, Nancy Callaghan, Anne Cannizzaro, Matthew Clark, Nancy Davis, Freya De Cola, Dory Deweese, Aurelia Dinoso, Ellen Douglas, Caroline Duff, Karen Elliott, June Ferrara, Maryann Fox, Rob Gallagher, Karla Gonzales, George Graning, Daniel Gurley, Amanda Halacy, Amanda & Nicholas Hartigan, Rose Herrera, Nancy Herwig, Benjamin Hilbert, Diane Hill, Stephanie Huard, Katharine Hunter, Alex Romero Jennissen, Kim Jennissen,Leon Kolankiewicz, Helaine & Noah Krob, May Kyaw, Ray & Mary Lynne Leonhard, Patrick Lichy, Catherine Linberg, Kurt McJilton, Jim and Ilene McNeal, Katie Neal, Polly Noble, Alix Nyden, Josh Nyden, Cynthia O’Connell, Joe O’Gorman, Joan Olinger, David O’Sullivan, George Paine, Barbara Paolucci, Rosann Paratore, Ellen Perrins, Dave Pfeiffer, Andy Rabin, Reston Garden Club, Reston Jaycees, Alana Rudkovsky, Sammy Sarvaj, Eveleen Sass, Michael Scheurer, Mary Ellen Saville, Jeanine Simon, Kaylee Simon, Joe Stowers, Cathy Tunis, Sandra Twohie, Jackson Ward, Nancy Ward, Mary Weinhold, Kathy & Kyle Welty, Carolyn Whitman, Carolyn Williams, Polly Witmer.

Participate in a regional citizen science project to get a baseline on cricket populations in the Northern Virginia/DC/Baltimore area. The numbers of cricket and katydid populations in our region are not well-known. Take part in the first scientific survey designed to learn more about these numbers. Meet at Nature House for a crash course in cricket and katydid calls. Then go outside to listen for 8 target species on the nature center property. We will finish by carpooling to other sites in Reston. Registration is required by August 21. Sponsored by Audubon Naturalist Society, Discover Life and Natural History Society of Maryland.

Arbor Day Volunteers



JUNE DISCOVERING A SENSE OF PLACE Mondays, June 4 – July 23 ∙ 7 - 8:30 p.m.

$25/person RA Members $30/person Non-members Adults Join this eight-session facilitated discussion course that will culminate in an end of course celebration. Explore the meaning of a bioregional perspective, and what it takes to develop one. Consider the benefits of consciously developing an intimate relationship with your place, and discuss what it might mean to protect the place you live. Participants will receive a book of readings that form the basis of each discussion. You will be contacted to pay your fee and pick up your course materials at the nature center, approximately two weeks before the first session. Coordinator: Diane Blust of Sustainable Reston. Co-sponsored by Reston Community Center. Reservations required by May 14.

BEAUTIFUL BUTTERFLIES Monday, June 4 ∙ 10 - 11 a.m.

$5/child RA Members $8/child Non-members Ages 18 months to 35 months Butterflies flutter on colorful wings. Explore the nature center gardens to see how many of these delightful creatures we can find. Discover the wonder of how they change from a caterpillar to a butterfly, and make a butterfly craft to hang up at home. Reservations required by May 31.

WALKING STICK WORKSHOP Friday, June 8 ∙ 7 - 8 p.m.

$6/child RA Members $9/child Non-members Ages 5 to 12 Summer vacation is the perfect time to explore new places. Make a walking stick that can travel with you on your next hike. Choose the perfect stick, make a leather grip, and with help, engrave your name or initials to make it your own. All supplies included. Reservations required by June 5.

INTRODUCTION TO WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY Saturday, June 9 ∙ 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

$10/person RA Members $15/person Non-members Adults Join local photographer John Eppler to learn how to photograph wildlife in your backyard. Discuss setting up your backyard to attract wildlife. Learn about what equipment and settings to use. Then, go outside to apply what you have learned. Be sure to bring your camera. Reservations required by June 6.

JUNE BIRD WALK: BUTTERMILK CREEK TRAIL Sunday, June 10 ∙ 7:30 - 10:30 a.m.

Free Buttermilk Creek Nature Trail - 11032 Ring Road, park at Uplands Pool Adults Leaders: Carol and Jay Hadlock


Call 703-476-9689 and press 5 or e-mail naturecenter@reston.org for reservations and information. Advanced reservations are required for all fee-based programs. Programs may be canceled in the event of severe weather, severe weather warnings or low enrollment. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

All programs will be held at the Walker Nature Education Center 11450 Glade Drive, unless LAKE EXPLORATION Monday, June 11 ∙ 10 - 11 a.m.

$5/child RA Members $8/child Non-members Ages 3 to 5 Explore where Snakeden Branch flows into Lake Audubon. Look for sunning snakes, basking turtles and birds that swim or wade. Dip into the lake with nets to discover some of its smallest inhabitants. Reservations required by June 8.

STARS OF THE SUMMER SKY Thursday, June 14 ∙ 7 - 8:30 p.m.

$4/person RA Members $6/person Non-members Recommended for ages 5 and up. Please have 1 adult for every 1-2 children. The summer sky brings new constellations to observe. Learn about these stars and what tools can help you locate and view them. Then head outdoors to use telescopes and binoculars to look for stars, constellations, planets and other celestial objects. Reservations required by June 11.


$5/person RA Members $8/person Non-members All Ages Celebrate Father’s Day by fishing with us at Lake Audubon. Learn fish facts, fishing basics and practice casting. We’ll provide rods and bait. Those 16 and older wishing to fish will need a fishing license available online at www.dgif.state.va.us.

VAN TRIP: JUG BAY WETLANDS SANCTUARY Saturday, June 23 ∙ 7:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

$20/person RA Members $25/person Non-members Ages 12 and up (ages 12-17 must be accompanied by an adult). Explore Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary along the Patuxent River in Maryland on foot and by canoe. Jug Bay is one of the largest freshwater tidal wetlands on the East Coast. The Patuxent River is relatively slow-moving and great for beginners and advanced paddlers alike. On our guided tour, paddlers will expolore channnels flowing through the wetlands to see these unique ecosystems up close. Among the lush vegetation, birds, reptiles and mammals abound. Bring a bag lunch. Reservations required by June 9.

CREATURES OF THE CHESAPEAKE BAY Sunday, June 24 ∙ 2 - 3 p.m.

$7/person RA Members $10/person Non-members All ages Reston is in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. How we treat water here at home affects the water quality and wildlife found in the bay. Join an educator from Under the Sea to learn about the ecology of the Chesapeake, and meet and touch live creatures native to the bay. Reservations required by June 21.

JULY CRITTERS IN THE CREEK Monday, July 9 ∙ 10 - 11 a.m.

$5/child RA Members $8/child Non-members Buttermilk Creek Nature Trail - 11032 Ring Road, park at Uplands Pool. Ages 18 months to 35 months Wade in the cool waters of Buttermilk Creek, looking for frogs, tadpoles, minnows and other aquatic creatures. Be ready for a fun hike and a wet time! Wear your wading shoes and clothes that can get dirty. We will provide nets and buckets. Reservations required by July 6.

FIREFLIES IN JULY Friday, July 13 ∙ 7 - 8:30 p.m.

$5/person RA Members $8/person Non-members Brown’s Chapel - 1575 Brown’s Chapel Road. All ages Fireflies, or lightning bugs, are incredible insects. Discover what makes them glow and why they blink their lights on and off. Find out what they eat, how they grow and where they live. Learn how to attract them to your yard and take home a glowing treat. Reservations required by July 10.

JULY BIRD WALK Sunday, July 15 ∙ 7:30 - 10:30 a.m.

Free Upper Glade Stream Valley - 11550 Glade Drive, park at Glade Pool. Adults Leader: Carolyn Williams

NDAR of Events

otherwise noted.

Photo by Sherly Pollock

TURTLES, TURTLES EVERYWHERE Sunday, July 15 ∙ 2 - 3 p.m.

WIGGLE WORMS Saturday, July 28 ∙ 11 a.m. - Noon

KNEE DEEP IN A CREEK Tuesday, August 14 ∙ 10 - 11 a.m.

GOOD OLE DAYS CAMPFIRE Friday, July 20 ∙ 7 - 8:30 p.m.


STREAM SLOSH Sunday, August 19 ∙ 1:30 - 3 p.m.

$4/person RA Members $6/person Non-members All ages Turtles live in oceans, ponds, lakes and even on land. Bring your walking shoes and go in search of these slow moving reptiles. Look at turtle shells and get up-close and personal with a box turtle. Did you know they can live to be 100 years old? Reservations required by July 12.

$5/person RA Members $8/person Non-members WNC Campfire Ring - On Soapstone Drive between Glade Drive and Lawyers Road. All ages For years the campfire has been a place where friends and family gather to relax and enjoy time together. Come down to the campfire ring to enjoy that same tradition. Listen to stories, sing fun songs and cook some yummy treats. Reservations required by July 17.

DIGITAL CAMERA SCAVENGER HUNT Saturday, July 21 ∙ 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

$4/person RA Members $6/person Non-members All ages Calling all shutter bugs! Bring your digital camera, and search the trails for a list of interesting things and creative pictures to compose. Gather back at Nature House where we will cool off with refreshments, enjoy your photos and award prizes. Reservations required by July 18.

BUZZING CICADAS Thursday, July 26 ∙ 7 - 8 p.m.

$4/person RA Members $6/person Non-members All ages Cicadas are not the only insects making noise, but they are the loudest. Learn why and how cicadas, crickets and grasshoppers make noise, then make some noise of your own! Go into the evening woods to listen and look for members of the insect chorus. Reservations required by July 23.

PERIODICAL CICADA Susan Ellis Maryland, United States www.bugwood.org http://www.forestryimages.org/

$5/child RA Members $8/child Non-members Ages 3 to 5 They wiggle, they’re slimy, and they live in the dirt. But there’s a whole lot more to worms. Find out how worms move through the dirt and how they help the soil. Watch worms crawl, have worm races and wiggle like a worm. Make a squirmy treat to snack on. Reservations required by July 25.

SEEING IN THE DARK Friday, August 3 ∙ 8 - 9 p.m.

$4/person RA Members $6/person Non-members All ages When the sun goes down, some animals are just waking up. These animals have their own ways of navigating in the dark. Hike in the twilight and learn how mosquitoes find us in the dark, how owl ears are different from ours, and what bats use to “see” in the dark. Reservations required by July 31.

SPLASHY SPIDERS Monday, August 6 ∙ 10 - 11 a.m.

$5/child RA Members $8/child/ Non-members Pony Barn Pavilion - At the corner of Steeplechase Drive and Triple Crown Road. Ages 18 to 35 months Some spiders are drab shades of brown or black, while others have beautiful colors. Learn how their color helps spiders survive. Make a colorful spider craft, and take a short hike in search of spiders. Reservations required by August 3.

GEOCACHING FOR ALL Saturday, August 11 ∙ 11 a.m. - Noon

$4/person/ RA Members $6/person/ Non-members All ages Geocaching is high tech treasure hunting, using a handheld GPS unit to find hidden containers. Start with a short lesson in using the GPS unit, and then look for hidden caches on the nature center property. Let us know if you will need to borrow a GPS unit. Reservations required by August 8.

$5/child RA Members $8/child Non-members WNC Campfire Ring - On Soapstone Drive, between Glade Drive and Lawyers Road. Ages 3 to 5 Wade in the cool waters of The Glade stream, looking for frogs, tadpoles, minnows and other aquatic creatures. Be ready for a fun hike and a wet time! Wear your wading shoes and clothes that can get dirty. We will provide nets and buckets. Reservations required by August 11.

$4/person RA Members $6/person Non-members All ages Dip into a cool stream to escape the heat of summer. Use a net to search for fish and frogs, and take a peek under rocks to look for insects living there. Wear your wading shoes and clothes that can get dirty. We’ll provide the nets and buckets. Reservations required by August 16.

AUGUST BIRD WALK Sunday, August 19 ∙ 7:30 - 10:30 a.m.

Free Stratton Woods Park - 2431 Fox Mill Road, meet in parking lot. Adults Leader: Bill Brown

KIDS OUTDOORS Wednesday, August 22 ∙ 9 a.m. - Noon

$15/child RA Members $20/child Non-members Ages 7 – 10 Parents: Drop off your child at this jam-packed morning of outdoor fun! Check-in will begin at 8:45 a.m. Kids: Play a game of “wild tracking” to solve a forest mystery. Go log rolling with a naturalist to discover what creatures you can uncover. Build a shelter using only natural objects. Finish your adventure around a campfire with a favorite campfire treat. Reservations required by August 17.

FAREWELL TO SUMMER CAMPFIRE Thursday, August 30 ∙ 7 - 8:30 p.m.

$5/person RA Members $8/person Non-members WNC Campfire Ring - On Soapstone Drive, between Glade Drive and Lawyers Road. All ages As the summer slips away, join us around the campfire to enjoy the end of the season. Sing songs, play games and roast a s’more while gazing upon a crackling fire. Reservations required by August 27.


Egg Carton Snake Craft

Materials Egg carton Markers and or paint Pencil Yarn or other string Google eyes (optional) Red paper (optional)

Directions 1. Cut the bottom of an egg carton into individual units. 2. Color or paint them in a variety of colors. If you used paint, allow them to dry. 3. Use a pencil to poke a small hole into the center of each piece at the bottom. 4. Tie a knot in the yarn. Thread the yarn through the hole of one of the pieces. Be sure to put the flat side towards the knot. This will be the “head” of your snake. 5. Tie another knot in the yarn after the head piece. 6. Continue threading the pieces onto the yarn, being sure to make a knot between each piece. When you’ve added the final piece, knot the yarn and leave a small “tail” at the end. 7. Add google eyes or draw eyes on the side of the head. 8. Attach a small strip of red paper to make a tongue or draw one with a marker.




4 5

By Earl the Squirrel with help from Abby Stocking

Snakes are one of the most interesting animals that share the woods with us squirrels. They belong to a group of animals called reptiles. All reptiles are cold-blooded, which means their body temperature is always very close to the temperature outside. They are covered with dry, scaly skin, so they are not slimy like a lot of kids think. In the summer, most snakes lay eggs, kind of like birds. Snakes are unique because they have no legs. They move by pushing themselves forward using the long scales on their bellies and their strong muscles. Even without legs and claws, snakes are able to swim and climb trees like me. Snakes also have no eyelids or ears, and they use their tongues to help them smell. As snakes grow, they shed the outer layer of their skin. They rub their heads against a rough surface like a rock or a tree to start the peeling. The skin often comes off in one long piece inside out like how you might pull a sock off your foot.



Across 2. A snake’s body is covered with these. 3. The group of animals that snakes belong to. 5. A common food of snakes. 7. Snakes use their tongues to ____l. Down 1. Copperheads use ____ to hunt. 2. Snakes ____ their skin as they grow. 4. Most snakes lay ____. 6. Reptiles are ____-blooded.

Snakes are helpful creatures to have around. They eat mice and other small mammals. Luckily, the snakes in Reston don’t get big enough to eat me, and people don’t have much to worry about either. You’re too big for a snake to eat. Come to Nature House to look at a very friendly Corn Snake that lives inside a tank. You can touch a piece of its shedded skin and watch how it moves. You may find a whole new fascination with these legless wonders.


Kid’s Corner

Tongue Twister

Try saying this phrase seven times as fast as you can: Six slippery snakes slithered silently Did your tongue get twisted?

Native Spotlight: FOAMFLOWER

(Tiarella cordifolia) By Sharon Gurtz

Wildlife Counts and Classes

If you are looking for a good groundcover, this might be the plant for you. Foamflower is a native member of the Saxifrage family. It usually grows up to 6-12 inches tall in full sun or shade. It thrives in moist sites that are high in organic matter with slightly acidic soils.

Ages 16-Adult. Call 703-476-9689 and press 5 or email naturecenter@reston.org to sign up or get more information. Please meet at the Walker Nature Center, 11450 Glade Drive, unless otherwise noted.

Spring Color and Attractive Foliage

Summer Bird Count Saturday, June 2 ∙ 6:45 a.m. - Noon Free Join us for the half-day annual Summer Bird Count throughout Reston’s natural areas. Meet local bird experts, learn tips on identification and have fun while helping us obtain important information to help our feathered friends. Enjoy lunch, tally results and swap stories back at Nature House following the count. Reservations required by May 30.

Butterfly Class: An Introduction Thursday, July 5 ∙ 7 - 8:30 p.m. $5/person (free for count participants) Discover the colorful and diverse lives of Reston’s “flying flowers.” The class will focus on the basic identification and life cycles of our local butterflies. Through a combination of field guides, handouts and a presentation, learn how to identify Reston’s common butterflies, and get a basic introduction to their life history. This class is a great way to prepare for the Reston Butterfly Count. Reservations required by July 2.

Butterfly Count Saturday, July 7 ∙ 9:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. Free Join us for the annual Butterfly Count through Reston’s natural areas. Meet fellow butterfly lovers, learn tips on identification and have fun while helping to collect important information on our fluttering friends. Our data will be submitted to the North American Butterfly Association Fourth of July Butterfly Count. Enjoy an optional lunch, tally results and swap stories back at Nature House following the count. Reservations required by July 4.

Dragonfly Class: An Introduction Thursday, July 12 ∙ 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. $5/person (free for count participants) Learn about the fast and fascinating lives of Reston’s “flying dragons.” Join guest naturalist Kevin Munroe of the Fairfax County Park Authority as he focuses on basic identification, natural history and conservation of local dragonflies. Through a combination of field guides, handouts and a presentation learn how to identify Reston’s common dragonflies, and get a basic introduction to their bizarre behavior and complex natural history. The class is a great way to prepare for Reston’s Dragonfly Count. Reservations required by July 9.

Dragonfly Count Saturday, July 14 ∙ 10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Free Meet at Bright Pond Lane. Park at the end of the cul de sac. Join us for the annual Dragonfly Count through Reston’s natural areas. Meet local dragonfly experts, learn tips on identification and have fun while helping to obtain important information on our fast-flying friends. Reservations required by July 11.

Photo by Sherly Pollock

Foamflower gets its name from the masses of tiny, cream-colored flowers that form atop stalks, resembling foam on a stick. These spikes of flowers can be seen in spring from April – May. There are many varieties of this plant. Some spread by stolons and others are more clump-forming. They can be divided in spring after the third year. The foliage is attractive and semi-evergreen with heart-shaped leaves 2-3 inches wide and long. Many have burgundy red variegations along the veins with leaves turning all burgundy in the winter. Foamflowers are low maintenance plants with few insect pests. Generally, deer and rabbits will leave this plant alone. It is a great alternative to invasive exotic English Ivy. This attractive groundcover even does well in rock gardens or containers. Sources: www.plantdelights.com; Growing and Propagating Wild Flowers by Harry R. Phillips.

Spring Events: Facts & Figures Spring isn’t only a busy time of year for plants and animals. It’s also the busiest time of year for the nature center. Native Plant Sale, April 7 Our first sale produced great results. • 672 plants sold • 59 customers • 8 volunteers from our co-sponsor Reston Garden Club Reston’s Arbor Day, April 9 We celebrated 18 years as a Tree City USA with a day of service learning, planting and pizza. • 162 native ferns, flowers and grasses planted • 11 native trees and shrubs, including a ceremonial Sweetbay Magnolia • 27 volunteers 5K Fund Run to Benefit Nature House, April 21 Thanks to Friends of Reston for organizing the 9th year of this terrific race and fundraiser. • 4709 net proceeds raised for building enhancements (ex. exhibits, new green initiatives) • 154 participants, ages 4-88 • 25 volunteers • 21: 23 time it took for Tom Strite to win the race Spring Festival, May 5 Participants loved the entertainment, native plant sale, boat rentals and hands-on activities. • 700 participants • 24 participating groups • 36 volunteers



www.reston.org Walker Nature Education Center 11450 Glade Drive Reston, Virginia 20191

Come to Camp at Nature House WALKER’S RANGERS AGES: 6 – 8 by Sept. 30, 2012


Monday – Friday, Four one-week sessions

TIME: 9 a.m. - Noon

LOCATION: Walker Nature Education Center 11450 Glade Drive

FEE: $80 session/RA Members $105 session/Non-members

REGISTER: Online at www.reston.org or in person at 12001 Sunrise Valley Drive., Reston, VA 20191

CONTACT: For more information please call 703-435-6551 or e-mail camps@reston.org. Parents: Drop off your child at this jam-packed morning of outdoor fun! Check-in will begin at 8:45 a.m. Kids: Play a game of “wild tracking” to solve a forest mystery. Go log rolling with a naturalist to discover what creatures you can uncover. Build a shelter using only natural objects. Finish your adventure around a campfire with a favorite campfire treat. Reservations required by August 17. Call 703-476-9689 and press 5 or e-mail naturecenter@reston.org to sign up.


Nature Superheroes Session 2A: July 9 – 13

Water Olympics Session 4A: August 6 – 10

Some animals have powers that are superhuman. Test the strength of spider silk. Explore the supersonic hearing of bats. Discover which insect wears an iron coat. See what makes the mighty thunder roar. Find out what could make a black bear morph into an angry beast. Meet some of these amazing superheroes along the paths of the nature center.

If water was in the Olympics, would it take a medal? Test the strength of water through a variety of fun experiments. Time a water droplet as it races through a special track. Discover animals that take the prize in backstroke, freestyle and diving. Use water to make special spray paint art and to tie dye a T-shirt. Participate in our own water relays.

It’s a Mystery Session 2B: July 16 – 20 Mysterious things are happening at the nature center. Follow a trail of clues to find out what’s going on. Locate hidden objects with the help of a GPS unit. Decode secret messages and use a magnifying glass to get a closer look at tracks and other signs. Meet some characters that may or may not help you along the way. Sharpen your observation skills and use your powers of deduction to find out what’s behind the nature center mysteries.

Nature Magic Session 4B: August 13 – 17 Abracadabra! Hocus-pocus! Magical things happen in nature all the time. Make a rainbow, turn two liquids into a solid and discover the magic of metamorphosis. Give a flower a new color, and design a bracelet that changes in the sun. Get some tools for your own magic kit and learn to dazzle your friends and family. We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves.


Branching Out



Profile for Reston Association

Branching Out summer 2012  

WNEC newsletter

Branching Out summer 2012  

WNEC newsletter