NOVA Parks Roving Naturalist

NOVA Parks Roving Naturalist Through guided nature walks, hikes, canoe and kayak tours, night explorations, stream and pond studi
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Programs are catered to kids, adults, and anyone interested in the natural world! Programs are offered in many of the Northern Virginia Regional Parks including Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Pohick Bay Regional Park, Bull Run Regional Park, Fountainhead Regional Park, Occoquan Regional Park, Algonkian Regional Park, Temple Hall Farm Regional Park, Hemlock Overlook Regional Park, and all five NVRPA

waterpark facilities (in-season only). Join us for a chance to explore the natural world of northern Virginia!

Coming up at  we are partnering with  for an event called The Big Sit! Join myself and other naturalists and volunteers ...
09/21/2023

Coming up at we are partnering with for an event called The Big Sit! Join myself and other naturalists and volunteers as we identify as many bird species and individuals as possible from a stationary location from 6a-6p! No experience required. Stop by as long as you’d like and visit loudounwildlife.org for more info. Hope to see you on October 7th!

Happy World Snake Day! 🌎🐍📅 These largely misunderstood animals absolutely deserve a day of their own, and we celebrated ...
07/16/2023

Happy World Snake Day! 🌎🐍📅 These largely misunderstood animals absolutely deserve a day of their own, and we celebrated by taking Sugar (corn snake) and Louis (Eastern kingsnake) to today. Both are non-venomous constrictors and great program animals. Corn snakes are named after their patterns and there are over 800(!) color variations, many of which have been bred in captivity. Eastern kingsnakes actually prey on other snakes, even venomous ones; they have a tolerance for native snake venom! With around 3,500 species worldwide and 32 in Virginia, these animals do wonders to keep rodent populations in check… so thank them for that! 🐁 🐍

Killdeer Clown CarAdorable alert! 🚨 I have been observing a family of Killdeer at  and just awestruck watching various b...
06/17/2023

Killdeer Clown Car

Adorable alert! 🚨 I have been observing a family of Killdeer at and just awestruck watching various behaviors of the parents and fledglings! To earn their wary trust, I lay prone in the gravel lot. It’s a busy park, so when someone walks by, mom calls the chicks to hide under her belly. Needless to say, it’s both adorable and comical to watch 4 little Killdeer bury underneath her.

Bull Run Regional Park, VA 5.30.23

We had a very successful inaugural   program at Potomac Overlook Regional Park last week! It was a rainy morning, so I a...
06/06/2023

We had a very successful inaugural program at Potomac Overlook Regional Park last week! It was a rainy morning, so I appreciate those who came out. We observed 24 species, with highlights being Scarlet Tanager, a beautifully singing Wood Thrush, a Common Raven, and a very cooperative Acadian Flycatcher. We look forward to hosting this event next year, and a big shout out to my co-leaders Dara Wilson and Maria Elena Montero who are doing such a great job teaching and encouraging young people of color to get outside and be themselves in a safe space that nurtures their interest in nature.

NOVA Parks The Black AF in STEM Collective Cornell Lab of Ornithology

We have only TWO more Wandering Warblers programs remaining this season so be sure to sign up at the link below! To help...
05/18/2023

We have only TWO more Wandering Warblers programs remaining this season so be sure to sign up at the link below! To help spread the word, I am reinstalling a "bird of the month" series. In honor of spring migration, May's featured bird is the Magnolia Warbler. This bird has a misleading name, as it is not associated with Magnolias. Lemon-yellow with a blue-gray back and black mask and stripes, this stunner can be seen at our parks during migration only in May and September! They are currently en route to their breeding grounds in the northeast and Canada. However, they also breed in the higher altitiudes of the Appalachian Mountains as the high elevation mimics a more northern climate and ecosystem. Get a chance to see this bird and several other migrating warblers during a Wandering Warblers program! Loaner binoculars are included.

https://www.novaparks.com/things-to-do/naturalists

Don't forget that the City Nature Challenge starts TOMORROW! We are likely going to get a lot of rain, but there are sti...
04/27/2023

Don't forget that the City Nature Challenge starts TOMORROW! We are likely going to get a lot of rain, but there are still ways to make observations without getting soaked. Consider recording vocalizations of birds, amphibians, and insects. Stop on by the nature center at and photograph birds at the feeder from inside at the bird observation station. Of course, between downpours, try to get outside and document as much as you can! Remember that you have until May 7th to enter the observations you made during the challenge to iNaturalist. Good luck and have fun!

Don't forget that the City Nature Challenge starts TOMORROW! We are likely going to get a lot of rain, but there are sti...
04/27/2023

Don't forget that the City Nature Challenge starts TOMORROW! We are likely going to get a lot of rain, but there are still ways to make observations without getting soaked. Consider recording vocalizations of birds, amphibians, and insects. Stop on by the nature center at Potomac Overlook Regional Park and photograph birds at the feeder from inside at the bird observation station. Of course, between downpours, try to get outside and document as much as you can! Remember that you have until May 7th to enter the observations you made during the challenge to iNaturalist. Good luck and have fun!

04/27/2023

The City Nature Challenge starts TOMORROW! The weekend of 4/28 – 5/1, get outside and take photos of nature using the iNaturalist app. This global competition ranks cities based on the number of observations, the diversity of species, and the number of participants. Will you help your city be a winner by taking photos and by helping us identify the species?

Potomac Overlook is a great place for you to take the Nature Challenge. Stop by our park and experience all the nature we have to offer!

Learn more about the challenge here: www.citynaturechallengedc.org

To get the iNaturlaist app, click here: https://www.inaturalist.org/

Lyrid meteor shower program tonight at Battle of Upperville historic park! Should be a great show with the skies clearin...
04/22/2023

Lyrid meteor shower program tonight at Battle of Upperville historic park! Should be a great show with the skies clearing up and only faint moonlight leading to dark skies and plenty of meteors. Program is 1-3am which is peak time for meteors! Visit http://apm.activecommunities.com/novaparks/Activity_Search/7070 to register. Please contact if you have any questions, Hope to see you tonight!

Thanks to Washingtonian for featuring Bull Run Regional Park's Bluebell Trail and interpretive programming with NOVA Par...
04/04/2023

Thanks to Washingtonian for featuring Bull Run Regional Park's Bluebell Trail and interpretive programming with NOVA Parks Roving Naturalist .

Learn to take stunning photos of the mystical landscape and close-ups of the fleeting flowers themselves in a photography workshop. Or, take a guided hike to learn about the signs of spring, the habitat of the bluebell, and why they thrive at Bull Run Regional Park. Register today!

Walk the Bluebell Trail around April 5 to see the flowers.

Washingtonian Magazine wrote up an article highlighting the Virginia Bluebells at Bull Run, including my programs! Check...
04/04/2023

Washingtonian Magazine wrote up an article highlighting the Virginia Bluebells at Bull Run, including my programs! Check it out.

Walk the Bluebell Trail around April 5 to see the flowers.

It was a blast HANGING  w/ NBC Washington's Tommy McFly to announce the opening of Climb UPton this weekend! Tune into N...
03/09/2023

It was a blast HANGING w/ NBC Washington's Tommy McFly to announce the opening of Climb UPton this weekend! Tune into NBC4 Washinton for his segment with NOVA Parks’ Park Superintendent Blythe Russian!

Be 1 of the 1st climbers of the 2023 season: http://ow.ly/5nh650NeGgZ

It was a blast HANGING 😃 with NBC Washington’s Tommy McFly to announce the opening of Climb UPton this weekend! Tune int...
03/09/2023

It was a blast HANGING 😃 with NBC Washington’s Tommy McFly to announce the opening of Climb UPton this weekend! Tune into NBC4 Washinton for his segment with NOVA Parks’ Park Operations Superintendent Blythe Russian!

To be one of the first climbers of the 2023 season, book now: http://ow.ly/MVlg50NeEHx

Yesterday was a great day at  to observe the forest food web in action. The wood frogs are breeding, and that’s attracti...
03/04/2023

Yesterday was a great day at to observe the forest food web in action. The wood frogs are breeding, and that’s attracting predators like this immature Red-tailed Hawk looking to make it through the final days of winter. It’s not too late to sign up for tomorrow’s Frog Frenzy program to get a chance to see the action for yourself! Register now at novaparks.com! 🐸

We've got a couple programs next week at the newly acquired NOVA Park, Winkler Botanical Preserve in Alexandria! Registe...
02/02/2023

We've got a couple programs next week at the newly acquired NOVA Park, Winkler Botanical Preserve in Alexandria! Register via the link below.

2/9 10am: Birding Bingo
2/11 2pm: Mammals in Winter

https://www.novaparks.com/things-to-do/naturalists

Interested in contributing towards bird population data efforts? Want help learning how to ID birds in winter? Join me f...
12/16/2022

Interested in contributing towards bird population data efforts? Want help learning how to ID birds in winter? Join me for the Christmas Bird Count! This volunteer fueled event is the longest running Community Science effort in the country and helps ornithologists understand bird population trends. We are in need of participants at a few of our NOVA Parks counts. If you’re interested and available on any of the dates below, please email me at [email protected].

Sat 12/17: Potomac Overlook Regional Park
Sun 12/18: Algonkian Regional Park
Wed 12/28: Rust Nature Sanctuary/WOD
Sat 12/31: Pohick Bay Regional Park

If you're looking to   this holiday season, check out this amazing program on Saturday, December 3rd at Winkler Nature P...
11/29/2022

If you're looking to this holiday season, check out this amazing program on Saturday, December 3rd at Winkler Nature Preserve!

Sautday Dec. 3rd Join the NOVA Parks staff for a stroll at the Winkler Botanical Preserve and learn to identify some of the native hardwood trees in winter. We will look at bark, twigs, seeds and even habitat to discover the diversity of the trees in the forest. Several different Oaks, in addition to Blackgum, Tulip Poplar, Redbud, Cedar and Maples will be identified.
Register here: https://anc.apm.activecommunities.com/novaparks/activity/search/detail/6605?onlineSiteId=0&from_original_cui=true&locale=en-US

Sunday's Pohick Creek Explorer's Paddle was truly a spectacular display of nature at its finest. From a dazzling sunrise...
10/21/2022

Sunday's Pohick Creek Explorer's Paddle was truly a spectacular display of nature at its finest. From a dazzling sunrise to elusive birds and autumn wildflowers in the marsh, this paddle was one for the ages! Here is a sampling of our trip. Please contact me for more information on how you can join us next time!

It's officially pumpkin season! Stop by  to pick a pumpkin and enjoy a slew of activities... You may even run into me an...
10/09/2022

It's officially pumpkin season! Stop by to pick a pumpkin and enjoy a slew of activities... You may even run into me and some critters! I'll be here for a few hours on October 10,16, 20, 24, 27, 30, and 31st!

WUSA 9's Kaitlyn McGrath talks with Executive Director Paul Gilbert about how NOVA Parks is paving the way in protecting...
08/22/2022

WUSA 9's Kaitlyn McGrath talks with Executive Director Paul Gilbert about how NOVA Parks is paving the way in protecting our environment and preserving nature so that we, and future generations, can enjoy the great outdoors.

Since 1959 NOVA Parks has preserved over 12,000 acres of forests and plans to plant an additional 50,000 trees by 2027. But that's not all.

Many thanks for providing input to help guide the future of NOVA Parks! Over the course of four weeks, NOVA Parks solici...
08/09/2022

Many thanks for providing input to help guide the future of NOVA Parks! Over the course of four weeks, NOVA Parks solicited input about its draft 2023-2027 Strategic Plan through partners, stakeholders, and residents, with 92% of survey respondents indicating that NOVA Parks' strategic plan was important or very important to the Northern Virginia region. Feedback was incorporated and the final 5-year Strategic Plan is now available at novaparks.com/StrategicPlan.

The Northern Parula is probably the most common breeding ”wood warbler” in the DC metro area, but I’m amazed at how many...
07/08/2022

The Northern Parula is probably the most common breeding ”wood warbler” in the DC metro area, but I’m amazed at how many there are at Pohick Bay Regional Park. It’s no coincidence that the park is located on a tributary of the Potomac river, loaded with hardwood forest and tidal marsh. Wherever I am at that park, whether on foot or by kayak, there seems to be a Parula singing! I was happy to share this one with some folks who had never seen a warbler before. Over my visits, I’ve also noticed a large family group of Orchard Orioles and a few pairs of Prothonotary Warblers at water’s edge.

06/28/2022

If anyone wants to meet our resident screech owl and get as close as a guarantee as you can get on a wild Barred Owl, join me tonight at Algonkian Regional Park for our owl prowl! Hope to see you tonight!

Register below

Description "Whooooo cooks for youuuu? Whoooo cooks for youuuu allllll?" No, this is not a chef looking for a job! This is the call of a Barred Owl, perhaps Northern Virginia's most frequently observed owl. Join the roving naturalist on a quest to find these feathered friends. Meet our resident East...

Calling all night owls! Join the NOVA Parks Roving Naturalist this Sunday night at Algonkian Regional Park for an OWL PR...
06/03/2022

Calling all night owls! Join the NOVA Parks Roving Naturalist this Sunday night at Algonkian Regional Park for an OWL PROWL.

Spots are limited to register early for this amazing program.

Book Now: http://ow.ly/QWc150JpqIq

This weekend's weathe  g to be absolutely perfect for our Sunset Kayak Paddle Tour on Sunday evening Algonkian Regional ...
06/03/2022

This weekend's weathe g to be absolutely perfect for our Sunset Kayak Paddle Tour on Sunday evening Algonkian Regional Park

We only have 7 openings remaining so book early to guarantee a spot!

Book Now: http://ow.ly/1Bm650Jpp4f

So excited to be back on the water for sunsets! Contact me for more info on our paddle tours at nova parks.
05/23/2022

So excited to be back on the water for sunsets! Contact me for more info on our paddle tours at nova parks.

Warbler season is well underway! This warbler walk took place at Algonkian Regional Park  where we had a total of 67 bir...
05/10/2022

Warbler season is well underway! This warbler walk took place at Algonkian Regional Park where we had a total of 67 bird species. There is another session there on Saturday at 7am. Register at novaparks.com!

The Eagle Festival at Mason Neck may have been rainy this year, but smoke didn't seem to mind! Though you can read his e...
05/09/2022

The Eagle Festival at Mason Neck may have been rainy this year, but smoke didn't seem to mind! Though you can read his expression as you will 😂

Ask me about warbler programs!!!
05/09/2022

Ask me about warbler programs!!!

May 6th--Cozy Creature CampfireJoin NOVA Parks Naturalist Matt Felperin and his Cozy Creature Friends at Occoquan Region...
05/03/2022

May 6th--Cozy Creature Campfire

Join NOVA Parks Naturalist Matt Felperin and his Cozy Creature Friends at Occoquan Regional Park! Enjoy S'mores around a campfire as you learn about and engage with several animals native to the area under the full moon. Sign-up fee includes you a S'mores kit and your very own Cozy Critter Plush!

NOVA Parks

Register: http://ow.ly/X7lR50ITskz

May 6th--Cozy Creature CampfireJoin NOVA Parks Naturalist Matt Felperin and his Cozy Creature Friends at Occoquan Region...
05/01/2022

May 6th--Cozy Creature Campfire

Join NOVA Parks Naturalist Matt Felperin and his Cozy Creature Friends at Occoquan Regional Park! Enjoy S'mores around a campfire as you learn about and engage with several animals native to the area under the full moon. Sign-up fee includes you a S'mores kit and your very own Cozy Critter Plush!

NOVA Parks

Register: http://ow.ly/vo1l50ITsgr

May 6th--Cozy Creature CampfireJoin NOVA Parks Naturalist Matt Felperin and his Cozy Creature Friends at Occoquan Region...
04/27/2022

May 6th--Cozy Creature Campfire

Join NOVA Parks Naturalist Matt Felperin and his Cozy Creature Friends at Occoquan Regional Park! Enjoy S'mores around a campfire as you learn about and engage with several animals native to the area under the full moon. Sign-up fee includes you a S'mores kit and your very own Cozy Critter Plush!

NOVA Parks

Register: http://ow.ly/KG8K50ITseY

Tomorrow, I'm hosting a free virtual training for the iNaturalist City Nature Challenge from April 29-May 2! upload any ...
04/25/2022

Tomorrow, I'm hosting a free virtual training for the iNaturalist City Nature Challenge from April 29-May 2! upload any media of wildlife observations made on these dates by May 8 to help the DC area get the most submissions. If you would like to sign up for this training, please e-mail me on the address listed on the flyer. Hope to see you there! Please feel free to share.

04/25/2022

Spots open for tonight's Birds of Prey/Sunset Kayak Paddle at Pohick Bay Regional Park! Click below to register and for more information.

Happy Earth Day everyone! Here is a throwback video from a couple years ago that is still very much worth watching. Do s...
04/22/2022

Happy Earth Day everyone! Here is a throwback video from a couple years ago that is still very much worth watching. Do something to help our planet today! Also, I will be at Fountainhead Regional Park tomorrow for a nature walk (10a) and critter corner (11a-2p) for their Earth Day Celebration! Hope to see you there!

NOVA Parks is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day! Here are 5 great ways you can celebrate Earth Day at home!

Join NOVA Parks Naturalist Matt Felperin and his Cozy Creature Friends at Occoquan Regional Park! Enjoy S'mores around a...
04/06/2022

Join NOVA Parks Naturalist Matt Felperin and his Cozy Creature Friends at Occoquan Regional Park! Enjoy S'mores around a campfire as you learn about and engage with several animals native to the area under the full moon. Sign-up fee includes you a S'mores kit and your very own Cozy Critter Plush!

NOVA Parks

Register: http://ow.ly/nzsF50IubPZ

Bluebell season is here! Please feel free to share this flyer to anyone you think might be interested in guided hikes or...
04/05/2022

Bluebell season is here! Please feel free to share this flyer to anyone you think might be interested in guided hikes or photography programs to enjoy the spring wildflowers and other wildlife at Bull Run Regional Park in the next couple weekends.

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2845 Marcey Road
Arlington, VA
22207

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Nature Hike today with David Garcia. Thank you for a great hike!
We went on a Night Hike with Roving Naturalist David Garcia at Bull Run Regional Park.
Thank you David for sharing some interesting facts with us.