The Conservation Committee has expanded by one and welcomes Todd Kemper.
Monofilament recycling containers are in-progress for the upper and lower fishing ponds. We're waiting on the stickers from Boats USA. We hope to have them installed in early September. While we're talking about the fishing ponds, please be careful about the cigarette butts; about 30 butts were collected before the last chapter meeting. I hope that they were from guests and not members. If you see butts in the area, please pick them up and dispose of them properly.
PawPaws will be ripening in the first half of September. The trees grow in boggy areas in the understory. The fruit is slightly larger than an egg. When they are ready to eat, they will look that a banana that is past its prime (they are sometimes called a swamp banana) . We have a couple a non- fruiting trees on the property. Pawpaw do not self- pollinate; they need at least a close cousin near-by to produce fruit ( an entirely different strain is even better ). So, go check out the Crow's Nest, Widewater State Park and other wet parts of the NoVA and try to find a Pawpaw. When you find them save the seeds by keeping them moist and cool in the refrigerator; we'd love to be able to expand the gene pool of the PawPaws in our patch. These trees need a bit of help in spreading themselves around. PawPaw seeds are very large; previously the seeds were spread by the Wooly Mammoths but since those are short supply at the moment the only modern animals capable of spreading the seeds are bears and humans.
And speaking of native plants, the Virginia Native Plant Society (VNPS) has a comprehensive list of plants native to Virginia and specific to a particular region of the Commonwealth. The guide and booklet may be downloaded from their site ( when I get some bandwidth, I'll update the Conservation Page with the link as well). The Fairfax Chapter of the VNPS conducts a sale every Wednesday at the Green Springs Park on Braddock Rd in Springfield. They have all sorts and native plants and will talk about native plants are long as you are willing to listen. Prices are very reasonable, and you see plants that aren't available at the big box stores or local nurseries.
While vising Sailors Creek Battle fields and discussing the invasive plant species in Virginia with the Ranger at the visitor's center, the Ranger mentioned that Virginia Tech had recently completed an experiment which used a biological agent ( fungus or bacteria ) to attack a stand of Tree of Heaven on the property. The agent killed the tree of heaven without affecting any of the other plants on the property. This is great news, spraying every stand of tree of heaven in the Commonwealth would be nearly impossible and cost a small fortune. I'll dig into this a bit further and pass the information to others.
Save Our Streams: Virginia Save Our Streams (SOS) is a program of the Izaak Walton League of America. Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League is one of the nation’s oldest and most respected conservation organizations. Virginians have the right to know whether our streams are safe for swimming, fishing, playing, and drinking. Virginia Save Our Streams monitors water quality of Virginia’s streams and educates the public about the importance of clean water.
Our Chapter's SOS Chairperson is Eric Brown.
The chapter seeks volunteers to help start a stream-monitoring program for five areas around the property. If interested contact Eric Brown or Akiko Tachibana on how you can help.