Summer / Fall 2021
Despite the sweltering heat this past summer, FODM has had an outpouring of volunteers tackling invasive plants, leading walks, conducting surveys and more. From February to August, we contributed 507 natural resource hours which, as valued at $28.54/hour by Independent Sector, is a contribution of $14,469.78 to the National Park Service (NPS). Thank you, everyone.
We are pleased that the stabilization and restoration of the marsh has moved forward another step (see Superintendent Cuvelier’s article). We hope that NPS, which has been without a director for over four years, will have one soon. President Joe Biden has nominated Charles F. Sams, who currently serves as a council member to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. He is a member of the Cayuse, Walla Walla, Cocopah and Yankton Sioux tribal nations and is experienced in working in natural resources.
This space is not sufficient for a full report on our projects, but we have several underway. In May, with Robert Smith’s guidance and FODMers' donations, a Bartlett Tree expert again treated 19 pumpkin ash trees (Fraxinus profunda), our effort to try to prevent the trees from dying because of the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) infestation. The marsh is losing up to 1,000 ash trees. So far, the treatments seem to be effective. FODM started this project in 2015 and it will last 20 years.
With a NPS permit, we have installed a camera in hopes of photographing a weasel and/or mink in Dyke Marsh. These would be record sightings if confirmed. Thank you, Larry Cartwright, for yet another breeding bird survey and thanks to the team conducting the butterfly, dragonfly and damselfly surveys since 2016. We continue to tackle invasive plants, prioritizing for now our native plant area, to help the natives succeed. We hope to expand the native plant area in 2022. Don’t forget to submit photos and monitor changes at two Chronolog stations in Dyke Marsh at www.chronolog.io.
Trash and pollution are unending. We submitted a statement to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors supporting a proposed disposable plastic bag fee. We described the bags and bag fragments we find during cleanups and their harm to natural resources.
In Memoriam, Senator John Warner
FODMers were saddened to learn of the death of former Virginia U.S. Senator John Warner who passed away on May 26, 2021, at age 94. Senator Warner lived near Dyke Marsh, cherished it and was in our 2006 film, “On the Edge.” In the film, he said, “Dyke Marsh is a magnificent little oasis.” Senator Warner, also a champion of a healthy Chesapeake Bay, served in the U.S. Senate from 1979 to 2009 and was Secretary of the Navy from 1972 to 1974. A dedicated public servant, he made many valuable contributions to Virginia and the country.
Volunteering and Brain Health
|Jack Oliver and his family helped pull
stiltgrass from the native plant site
In his book Keep Sharp, Dr. Sanjay Gupta offers guidance on how to prevent and slow cognitive decline, which can start as early as one’s 30s and be asymptomatic long before it is obvious. Among other tips for building “a more resilient, productive brain,” he offers this: “Become a regular volunteer in your community. Those who volunteer tend to have less anxiety, depression, loneliness and social isolation, as well as a sense of purpose.” He cites a 2018 AARP survey that found that people over 50 who volunteer at least once a year have “higher mental well-being scores than those who don’t volunteer at least once a year.” So in the interest of brain health, for volunteers of all ages, we’ll see you in Dyke Marsh soon protecting, restoring and enjoying Dyke Marsh.
Fall’s bird migration is well underway. You can learn when and where birds migrate and get alerts at BirdCast, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s real-time heat maps. Visit https://birdcast.info.
Glenda C. Booth