Long Branch Nature Center

Long Branch Nature Center Long Branch Nature Center provides a foundation for enhancing the public's interest in natural resources. Open 6 days a week free of change. Come visit! See our social media policy here: https://www.arlingtonva.us/terms-conditions/#policy
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Our nature center provides environmental education programs to ages. We have a variety of snakes, turtles, amphibians, and mammals that are for viewing in our nature center. We provide a variety of interpretive programs on cultural and natural resources. Come see and learn about the great things Long Branch has to offer. Interested in participating in our programs? All our programs are listed in our publication; The Snag. http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/ParksRecreation/scripts/nature/TheSnag.aspx Register online or by calling 703-228-4747 We also do birthday parties! Children 4 and up can come celebrate their birthday party. A naturalist will do a 30 minute presentation on a topic of your child's choosing. Choose between snakes, toads & frogs, turtles, or rabbits. Get up close and personal as you discover fun and interesting facts about your favorite animal. Call the nature center for more information and availability.

Mission: To increase enjoyment, understanding and stewardship of Arlington's natural and cultural resources through outreach and education.

06/20/2020
Tattered Red-admiral Butterfly

This red-admiral butterfly nectaring on spreading dogbane has rather tattered hindwings, possibly from near misses with hungry bird beaks or storm damage. Butterflys can loose 40% of their wing surface and still fly.

06/17/2020
Wild Canines

Presentation about canines in Arlington and throughout the world.

06/17/2020
Scrambled Egg Slime Mold at Long Branch

This scrambled egg slime mold appeared on our mulch pile this week. Despite the word “mold” in their name, slime molds are not fungi but are in the Kingdom Protista (single-celled organisms). Unlike fungi, they have no chitin in their cell walls, and they can move (though only very slowly). This one is a plasmodial slime mold, meaning that it is composed of a single cell with millions of nuclei. Apparently, fungus gnats don’t care that a slime mold is not a fungus as they were swarming over, mating, and probably laying eggs on this one. For more information on slime molds, check out the Utah State University slime molds page at https://herbarium.usu.edu/fun-with-fungi/slime-molds.

Check out this American toad using a hole in the bottom of a tree as a toad abode!
06/15/2020

Check out this American toad using a hole in the bottom of a tree as a toad abode!

06/03/2020
Pine snake eating mouse!

Today is snake feeding day and our northern pine snake is eating a frozen / thawed mouse.

Leaves of Three, Let it Be: summer is high time for poison ivy, a common native plant in our forests and meadows. It is ...
06/03/2020

Leaves of Three, Let it Be: summer is high time for poison ivy, a common native plant in our forests and meadows. It is easily identified by it's three leaflets with a few coarse teeth (A). Young leaves are often shiny but this not a reliable identifier as older leaves lose their shine. It often grows as a hairy vine (B) on trees (don't pet the furry vines!) but it also grows out of the ground (C). Poison ivy is often mistaken for another native plant, Virginia Creeper (D), which has five leaflets. Although many people get severe rash from contact with poison ivy, it is an important plant for wildlife. Both resident and migratory songbirds feed on the fruit. Don't try this yourself, though, as the fruits are poisonous to humans.

05/16/2020

Thank you to everyone who tuned in today for Backyard Beavers!

05/15/2020

Backyard Beavers

05/13/2020

Turtle cam 🐢

Have some free time to take and/or sort through pictures? Here's a great way to share them!https://www.nvct.org/photocon...
05/12/2020
PHOTO CONTEST | NVCT

Have some free time to take and/or sort through pictures? Here's a great way to share them!
https://www.nvct.org/photocontest

During these tough times, nature is bringing much-needed peace and tranquility to us all as spring blooms throughout Northern Virginia. We want to celebrate this beauty with you by holding the first-ever Spring Edition of our annual photo contest. The rules are the same as usual with on...

05/12/2020

Join one of our naturalist this Friday May 15th, 2020 for a Facebook Live program at 6:30pm to talk about North Americas largest rodent, the BEAVER! The naturalist will talk about some of the key roles of beavers, signs of beavers, why they build dams, and if our luck is just right perhaps we’ll see a beaver in the wild. If it rains we will reschedule to Saturday May 16th, 2020.

The Red-shouldered Hawks nesting along the drive into Long Branch are busy feeding their growing chicks. Thanks to David...
05/07/2020

The Red-shouldered Hawks nesting along the drive into Long Branch are busy feeding their growing chicks. Thanks to David Howell for the photo.

Hey Folks, Help me to welcome our new Naturalist to Arlington County!
05/06/2020

Hey Folks,
Help me to welcome our new Naturalist to Arlington County!

We wanted to share some staff changes with everyone, so that when we do eventually reopen our visitors will not be too surprised to see a new face. We are very excited to welcome Maddie Koenig to Gulf Branch Nature Center as a new Park Naturalist:

Maddie is excited to be joining the team at Gulf Branch! She has worked with the Anacostia Watershed Society, the Audubon Naturalist Society, Howard County Rec and Parks, and Carroll County Rec and Parks as a naturalist and environmental educator. She enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, painting, and walking with her dog; she especially likes wood thrushes, vultures, tree frogs, white oaks, and all kinds of wildflowers.

Welcome aboard, Maddie!

Please check our earlier post today to see our other staff news.

05/06/2020
Story time: Looking For Moose by Phyllis Root

Our latest story is up for your enjoyment!

Join Arlington County Parks Naturalist for Storytime. In this book, we go on a search for the moose through all types of habitats.

Welcome Back Migrants! Volunteer David Howell captured this photo of a Wood Thrush at Long Branch that has recently retu...
05/06/2020

Welcome Back Migrants! Volunteer David Howell captured this photo of a Wood Thrush at Long Branch that has recently returned from its winter home in the tropics. Wood thrushes have successfully bred in the woods around the nature center and maybe this one will stay and raise a brood. The park is full of migrating songbirds right now, including a variety of warblers, other thrush species, vireos, flycatchers, orioles and others. Small urban parks provide vital stopovers where these birds can rest and refuel on their journey north.

At the Long Branch Nature Center we are licensed wildlife rehabilitators and we had several injured turtles with us over...
05/05/2020

At the Long Branch Nature Center we are licensed wildlife rehabilitators and we had several injured turtles with us over the winter, but with the weather having warmed up we were able to release them. Here are photos of the rehabed turtles being returned to their habitats. There are lots of Good Samaritans who find turtles that are either injured from the road or have upper respiratory infections. We get info on the turtles injuries, and where they came from so we can provide them with the best treatment and then release them back to where they were found.

Jewelweed is also used to help with poison ivy rash!
05/04/2020

Jewelweed is also used to help with poison ivy rash!

05/04/2020
Jewelweed shine

Jewelweed gets its name from the jewel like shine it gets when water is on it.

Nature center animals are the same as us." Some days you get up and decided to stay in bed." #quarantinelife #quarantine...
05/04/2020

Nature center animals are the same as us." Some days you get up and decided to stay in bed." #quarantinelife
#quarantine #arlingtonva #naturecenteranimals #stayinghome #stayhomestaysafe

Chipmunk Cheeks are full! 🐿
05/04/2020

Chipmunk Cheeks are full! 🐿

Enjoying the great weather.
05/04/2020

Enjoying the great weather.

Share your walk today or this weekend with Walk Arlington.
05/01/2020

Share your walk today or this weekend with Walk Arlington.

WalkArlington is inviting community members to share a one-minute video while you are out for a walk. Just set your phone for a selfie and talk about these topics:

• Where are you walking? (bonus points if you give props to your own neighborhood)
• How is the current stay-at-home order affecting your walk routine?
• What are some things that you're doing to stay physically and mentally healthy?
• Who/What do you walk for?
• Which do you prefer while walking? (Pick 2)
o playlist or podcasts?
o slow and steady or brisk and purposeful?
o alone or with a companion?
o sneakers or sandals?
o Fitbit or Apple Watch?
o Coffee or Tea?
o Leisure or Athletic?

Text or email your video to Mary Dallao at 703-597-7298 or you can email [email protected]

This is a Catalpa Moth Caterpillar, which will become a Catalpa Moth, also known as a Sphinx moth. Like their name sugge...
04/30/2020

This is a Catalpa Moth Caterpillar, which will become a Catalpa Moth, also known as a Sphinx moth. Like their name suggests, they can be found on catalpa trees, that's where the parent moths lay their eggs and it's what the larvae eat. Each year starting in May eggs will start to hatch and people may start to see these caterpillars. In their first instar or stage they are more yellow, but as they shed their skins and grow, the black stripe on their back becomes more defined, indicating they are close to pupating. People consider these caterpillars pests, because on mast years, when lots of larvae hatch all at once, they can defoilate a while catalpa tree, though this usually doesn't kill the tree. Plus these caterpillars act as a host species for parasitic wasp larva, and are food to lots of birds and other animals, so it's best to leave this native species alone.

Carolina Wren nestlings in their nest in an old flowerpot at the nature center. Can you spot all four? Hint: look for be...
04/29/2020

Carolina Wren nestlings in their nest in an old flowerpot at the nature center. Can you spot all four? Hint: look for beaks and eyes.

04/28/2020
Goldilocks has Chicken Pox

Happy Tuesday! Join a naturalist at home for Storytime. Today the story is Goldilocks has Chicken Pox by Erin Dealy.

Follow along as naturalists read a story about Goldilocks staying home with an illness.

Doing some DIY around the place. #naturecenteranimals #quarantinelife #quarantine
04/28/2020

Doing some DIY around the place. #naturecenteranimals #quarantinelife #quarantine

Snapping Turtles are on the move in Long Branch Creek and Four Mile Run. Snappers are the biggest turtle in our region, ...
04/24/2020

Snapping Turtles are on the move in Long Branch Creek and Four Mile Run. Snappers are the biggest turtle in our region, with the top shell, called a carapace, growing up to 24" long, a tail up to 18", and a neck that's long enough to reach halfway down their shell on the sides. They can also weigh 20 to 40 lbs, and are very strong for their size. Snapping Turtles can be found along the east coast and the Midwest, and starting in April females will travel miles across land to find a good nesting spot, and often choose people's backyards to lay their eggs. If you come across a Snapping Turtle in a park or your backyard, it's best just to leave them alone and they will eventually go on their way. But do not get too close as they can reach their necks out very far and bite very fast. Just give them space, and they will eventually go on their way, but if you get any good pictures be sure to post them here.

It's easy to see this Walking Stick insect on the side of our building, but they're normally masters of camouflage and m...
04/20/2020

It's easy to see this Walking Stick insect on the side of our building, but they're normally masters of camouflage and mimicry, being able to appear as sticks and twigs, making them virtually invisible. This individual is about 9 inches long from the top of its antenna to it's abdomen. Walking Sticks are fairly common, they're just hardly ever seen but are popular as classroom pets for being docile, easy to take care of and just plain cool. They do not bite or sting and eat only plants, and sometimes they do a little swaying dance, which is meant to match the rhythm of wind blowing the branches they're perched upon, making themselves blend in even better. If you ever see one, it's best to leave them alone as their legs could fall off pretty easily as a defense mechanism. But do take pictures and post them here on our page.

Address

625 S Carlin Springs Rd
Arlington, VA
22204

25A

General information

Previously a residential house it was purchased by the county and opened as a nature center in 1972. Since then we have been opening our doors to those interested in learning about nature. We recently celebrated our 40th anniversary! For information on Arlington County's Social Media Terms of Use visit: http://news.arlingtonva.us/social-media-general-terms-of-use

Opening Hours

Tuesday 10:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 10:00 - 17:00
Friday 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday 13:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(703) 228-6535

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Comments

Anyone know of the conditions of GlenCarlyn park near the picnic tables and grills (next to the stream across from the kiddie playground). Wondering if my group can still meet there this weekend. Thanks.
thanks for yet another great spring peeper prowl last night!
Please confirm the times for your native plant sale on May 5. It says 1am - 4am!
Does Long Branch have any Earth Day events planned? I wanna put together a list of volunteer activities to share with my high school Bio students over at Yorktown. Thanks!