Friends of Huntley Meadows Park
2019 Photo Contest
Give Us Yor Best Shot!
The Friends of Huntley Meadows Park Photo Contest is a nature-themed photography contest that benefits Huntley Meadows Park. All submission fees go directly to support park staff, events, and equipment. Contestants may submit photos October 16 - December 1. No late entries will be accepted. If you have questions, please email the Friends of Huntley Meadows Park.
A panel of judges will select the winning photos and those to be displayed from the pool of contest entries. The selected photos will be exhibited at the Norma Hoffman Visitor Center at Huntley Meadows Park. The opening reception will take place on Sunday, December 8, 1-3 pm. If the photo does not meet the criteria described below it will not be judged. Every effort is made to display all entries.
Photographers will be notified at the beginning of December if their photos will be included in the exhibit.
We are now able to accept your entry fee elecrtonically.
Natural Spaces and Climate Change
By Cathy Ledec
Wow! We had some very hot and very wet days this summer! With temperatures close to, and over, 100 degrees, that seems hotter than usual to me. We also experienced flooding and high water in neighborhoods and on the streets, water rescues, and more. The scientific evidence is clear; we are currently experiencing climate change. Green spaces and natural areas like Huntley Meadows Park (HMP) are showing us their importance - protecting us from the impacts of these increasingly frequent and intense weather events and other climate change impacts. When we have heavy rains, the streams entering HMP direct the stormwater flows from the surrounding neighborhoods and other paved areas into the central wetland, reducing the flooding impacts in our neighborhoods. During very heavy rains, observing these water flows from a safe distance is quite a sight to behold. A video of this phenomenon was posted June 3, 2018 on the HMP Photography Facebook page, a site managed by people enthusiastic about HMP. See the video here. Within just a day, this stormwater had been absorbed, filtered, and moved through the Park’s natural resources to points downstream. I visited the Park the day after one of these heavy rain events - the trails were not flooded; the water had already been absorbed or passed through the Park. Think about HMP as a big water filter. Its natural resources work hard for us filtering, absorbing, and protecting us from floods, and this all happens without human intervention. So, from a flood prevention standpoint, HMP protects us from this climate change impact. The trees at HMP and on your property are also working hard to protect us. They filter pollutants from the air, breathe out oxygen, cool the air and soil on intensely hot days through shade, shield us from heavy wind events, hold onto the soil stopping erosion, slow down the rain with their leaves, and more.
The power of our natural resources to protect us from the impacts of climate change should never be taken for granted. I encourage all readers to tell our elected officials that we want more parks, open spaces, and green spaces with native trees and shrubs. We need these natural areas and green spaces to protect us from various adverse impacts of climate change. The more of us who engage with our local leaders, the more voic-es in the mix, the stronger our influence, and the higher the likelihood this will happen.
Monday Morning Bird Walk
By Harry Glasgow
The Friends of Huntley Meadows Park hosts a weekly bird walk on Monday mornings, which all are invited to join. The Monday Morning Bird Walk has been a weekly event at Huntley Meadows Park since 1985. It takes place every week, rain or shine (except during electrical storms, strong winds, or icy trails), at 7AM (8AM November-March), is free of charge, requires no reservation, and is open to birders of all interest and identi-fication levels. Birders meet in the parking lot at 3701 Lockheed Blvd, Alexandria, VA. Questions should be directed to Park staff during normal business hours at (703) 768-2525.
A previous edition of this newsletter contained a bit about brood parasitism, another fact of nature that some find appalling. Brood parasites lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, and do not provide any parental care for their own offspring. Care that the "hosts" provide to the young parasites is care denied to their own young. This can have a detrimental effect on the reproductive success of the hosts and may affect their population numbers as a consequence.
If we can look at these occurrences without judging them by human social conventions, and instead see them as an integral part of nature, our joy of being outside will grow. However you perceive the creation of our world, what has developed is a natural outcome of that creation. The Hawk taking the Chickadee is an expression of the natural world. The Hawk has to eat, too. And its diet includes Chickadees. The nest parasitism discussed in our last newsletter is also a natural behavior for some species. The nest parasites we encounter in North America are usually Brown-headed Cowbirds. Parasitism by Cowbirds is increasing and has been reported as high as 70% (i.e., 70% of found parasitized nests had Cowbird eggs in them). The main reason for this increase is probably habitat fragmentation.
Where Does My Contribution Go?
The Friends of Huntley Meadows Park supports a wide range of programs throughout the Park. Your membership dues and donations are critical to the success of our organization.
Some items we fund(ed):
- Educate the public and the Fairfax County Park Authority on the impacts of Dominion Virginia Power’s proposed changes to the easement at the south boundary of the Park. (See page 2 for details.)
- Creation of Huntley Meadows Patches, now on sale in the Norma Hoffman Visitor Center (VC) gift shop.
- Scholarships to support three interns for the summer of 2016. These interns will complete much needed programing projects. But most importantly they will assist Staff during day camps that educate and enter-tain our next generation of naturalist and environmental stewards.
- Environmental protection apprentice who will study with Park experts to learn best practices for wetland, forest, and meadow management.
- Quarterly newsletter to keep our 450+ members up-to-date on what is happening at the Park. Newsletter expenses have fallen with our “GO GREEN” initiative to provide more newsletters by email.
- Printing of various Park brochures and the frog stickers that adorn so many young visitors.
- Specialized training for Staff. This is usually several thousand dollars annually.
- School trips for schools throughout Fairfax County and neighboring counties. Kids are our very best ambassadors - we hear from many visitors that their kids visited on a school field trip and wanted to come back to show their families what a special place Huntley Meadows Park is.
- A donation to the Raptor Conservancy, one of our biggest entertainers on Wetlands Awareness Day. The contribution is used to feed and care for beautiful birds of prey that can no longer live in the wild.
- Generate merchandise to sell in the Visitor Center gift shop, e.g., hats, shirts, magnets, and lapel pins.
- Purchase of tools, and supplies for trail restoration, planting, invasive removal, and field studies.
- Production of the annual photography show, which celebrates local photographers and their work snapped at the Park.
- An ad for FOHMP in the playbill for West Potomac High School’s production of Starlight Express. West Potomac students help us each spring with watershed cleanups.
Who We Are
The Friends of Huntley Meadows Park was founded in 1985 and is a nonprofit organization of individuals dedicated to the protection of Fairfax County's premier wetland wildlife sanctuary.
FOHMP was organized exclusively for charitable, scientific, and educational purposes and operates under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Monday Morning Birdwalk
The Monday Birdwalk takes place every week, rain or shine, at 8 AM, is free of charge, requires no reservation, and is open to all. Birders meet in the parking lot at the Park's entrance at 3701 Lockheed Blvd, Alexandria, VA. Questions should be directed to Park staff during normal business hours at (703) 768-2525.
Friends of Historic Huntley
Friends of Historic Huntley is a non-profit citizen group committed to working with the Fairfax County Park Authority to assure the preservation, restoration and appropriate use of Historic Huntley and to enhance the public’s knowledge of the site and the broader historic development of the neighborhood.