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Mason Neck State Park

The Eagle Eye

Volume II1, Issue ii

Summer 2009

Points of interest:

The park is open daily from 8:00 am to dusk.

Summer is peak butter- fly time. Look for beau- ties like the Monarch, Zebra Swallowtail, and many others throughout the park.

Wildflowers blooming in the park include Common Milkweed, Cardinal Flower, and Pickerelweed.

This year’s bald eagle babies have now fledged and can be seen fishing in Belmont Bay. Look for them and their par- ents on clear breezy days.

Bay. Look for them and their par- ents on clear breezy days. Who knows what monsters

Who knows what

monsters lurk in the

slimy depths of the frog

pond

like to find out too?

We do! Would you

At our weekly Pond Probe, you can try your

hand at netting mysteri- ous critters. Maybe you’ll catch a transparent grass shrimp, which jumps like popcorn in your net. Per-

haps you’ll be lucky enough to catch a young

turtle, although their speed and agility may surprise you.

Every Saturday after- noon in July and August, from 4:00 to about 5:00 pm, join our interpreters at the large pond by our car-top boat launch. Use our nets and buckets to explore all the wonderful life under the surface, from minnows and tad- poles to odd and unusual

critters. Check out that ferocious-looking bug stalking along the muddy bottom. Who would imagine it’s actually a young dragonfly?

See you by the pond this summer!

actually a young dragonfly? See you by the pond this summer! Park Manager’s Notes Well, the

Park Manager’s Notes

Well, the summer’s finally arrived and the wet weather seems to have decreased. All our trees are green and as the grass growth slows, we’ve been able to stretch our mowing schedule.

We look forward to each day and to our many interpretive programs. We’ve started the Captain John Smith Explorer’s Camp, which teaches chil- dren about nature and our environment. Funded by a Chesapeake Bay Gateways grant, it is a five week, ten session camp that will reach over eighty children this sum- mer. We’ve also started our Junior Ranger and Wee Ranger camps, sin- gle-day camps that give children hands-on experi- ence exploring the natu-

ral world. Our weekend interpretive programs have been very successful as well, with a great deal of interest in our eagle watching, pond explora- tion, and birding pro- grams. We’ve also seen an increase in canoe and kayak rentals throughout the week as visitors dis- cover the joys of paddling into Kanes Creek. If you haven’t yet tried this ex- perience, please give it a shot this summer.

This summer we will resurface the access road to our wildlife fields. In addition, our Visitor Cen- ter expansion project is moving forward and we should meet potential contractors in the near future. This is very excit- ing for us as the expan- sion will also mean the

addition of restrooms to our Visitor Center.

We’re also looking forward to the Youth Con- servation Corps program beginning this month. Fifteen youth will live in the park for three weeks and work on resource management projects. You will see these young adults working hard on our trails and installing erosion control devices around our frog pond, as well as learning about nature.

We appreciate your interest in Mason Neck and your support for the park. If you have an in- terest in helping establish a friends group, please contact the park office. Have a great summer and see you on the trails!

PAGE 2

THE EAGLE EYE

VOLUME II1, ISSUE II

Wildlife in the Park

Wildlife in the Park

Wildlife in the Park
Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

Monarch Butterfly

White-tailed Deer (fawn)

 

Become a Citizen Scientist!

 

Here are lots of ways to make a difference in nature and have fun at the same time. You can become a citizen scientist and con- tribute to important studies of birds, flowers, butterflies and more. Some programs are already estab- lished here at Mason Neck, some you can do in your own back yard. Try one of the following projects, or check out http:// www.birds.cornell.edu/citscitoolkit to discover even more suggestions.

2. Virginia Bluebird Society’s nest box trails (http://www.virginiabluebirds.org/) Here’s a way to get hands- on involvement in providing habi- tat for the eastern bluebird and other small songbirds. The VBS volunteers maintain nesting boxes and tally eggs and chicks each week during the birds’ breeding season. The local bluebird popula- tion has greatly increased thanks to bluebird box programs. 3. Project Feederwatch

pare them with observations from other regions. Data collected can help indicate the effect of possible climate change.

5. Frogwatch USA (www.nwf.org/frogwatchUSA ) Want to help monitor frog and toad populations? Join this project and check out ponds and streams near your house each spring. You can learn different frogs’ calls and dis- cover when each species completes hibernation and begins breeding. 6. NABA Butterfly Count (http://www.naba.org/ ) The North American Butter- fly Association’s summertime count is a great reason to get outside and hunt these colorful insects. Observations gathered during the count help deter- mine geographic ranges for different species, and add to our growing knowledge about monarchs, fritillar- ies, and their many relatives. Contact NABA to learn where and when this summer’s counts are in our area.

Have fun!

1.

Christmas Bird Count

(http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/ ) Feederwatch can actually be done from the comfort of your own home. All winter long, partici- pants count birds in an area they’ve chosen, often at feeders in their back yards. Their data is used to compare trends in bird population and distribution. This winter, local feeder watchers were treated to a massive irruption (sporadic migration) of pine siskins, who normally stay far to the north and west of our area. 4. Project Budburst (http://www.windows.ucar.edu/ citizen_science/budburst/) If you enjoy flowers and plants, this is a good project for you. You’ll track the dates that different trees and wildflowers bloom in your area, and can com-

(http://www.audubon.org/bird/cbc/) Join birders across the country tallying bird species on a winter day. The National Audubon Society holds several counts in our area between December 14 and January 5. The CBC is a fun way to meet other birders and discover our winter birds. Novice birders are always teamed up with more experi- enced folks, so don’t worry if you’ve just started birding. 2. Breeding Bird Survey (http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/BBS/) This bird count takes place in June and tallies our breeding populations. The information gath- ered on this count helps ornitholo- gists see how bird populations may be affected by factors such as pesti- cides and habitat changes.

count helps ornitholo- gists see how bird populations may be affected by factors such as pesti-

PAGE 3

THE EAGLE EYE

VOLUME II1, ISSUE II

Picky Little Caterpillars

why zebra swallowtails are so abundant in the park, although you might never have seen them in your own back yard. Of course, not all caterpillars are quite so picky. Caterpillars of the cabbage white butterfly love to eat plants in the cabbage and mustard fami- lies, while caterpillars of black swallowtails are fond of anything in the parsley family, which in- cludes carrots and Queen Anne’s Lace as well as the parsley herb.

carrots and Queen Anne’s Lace as well as the parsley herb. What does all this mean

What does all this mean for you? If you want to find a cer- tain butterfly’s caterpillar, you should start by looking for the caterpillar’s favorite food, also known as that butterfly’s host plant. Or if you want to find a par- ticular butterfly, know that if its host plant doesn’t grow locally, the butterfly isn’t likely to be around either. Butterflies whose caterpillars are extremely picky can be severely hurt by habitat loss, especially if what replaces it is a shopping center or housing development barren of the needed host plant.

or housing development barren of the needed host plant. We may think our kids are picky

We may think our kids are picky eaters, but did you know that some caterpillars are even choosier about what they will eat? Many species eat only a single kind of plant. That’s like eating nothing but cheese your whole childhood! Of course, while we couldn’t get all the necessary nu-

trients from cheese alone, the cat- erpillars’ limited diet does contain everything they need to grow into bright and beautiful butterflies.

One caterpillar whose picky eating habits are familiar to many people is the monarch but- terfly. Monarch caterpillars eat only milkweed plants. Other picky eaters include the spiny cat- erpillars of the great spangled fritillary, which eat violet plants, and caterpillars of the dramati- cally striped zebra swallowtail, which dine exclusively on leaves of the paw paw tree. The exten- sive groves of paw paws here in Mason Neck State Park explain

So if you’re growing a but- terfly garden this summer, do make sure to include the proper host plants, as well as flowering plants to provide nectar. Good references include butterfly field guides, such as Jim P. Brock and Kenn Kaufman’s Butterflies of North America, and web sites dedicated to wildlife or butterfly gardening, such as http:// www.thebutterflysite.com/ gardening.shtml.

Also consider growing a few plants to feed caterpillars even if your garden isn’t specifi- cally designed for butterflies. Whether it’s wild plants like the milkweed and Queen Anne’s Lace mentioned above, or specialty plants that you order from a nurs- ery, your butterfly population will love you for it. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to watch a but- terfly grow from egg to caterpillar to pupa to adult right in your own back yard. Good luck raising your picky little caterpillars!

back yard. Good luck raising your picky little caterpillars! Campfire Program at Pohick Bay Regional Park

Campfire Program at Pohick Bay Regional Park

Did you know MNSP has a program partnership with Pohick Bay Regional Park? Every Satur- day night in July and August (weather permitting), one of our interpreters leads a campfire from 7pm to 8pm. We generally alter- nate themes of nocturnal animals or storytelling. Both are always followed by tasty s’mores. What a great way to enjoy the summer!

After the nocturnal animals campfires, Pohick’s naturalist often leads a night hike for participants. If you’ve been thinking of camping this summer, why not try Pohick and come to one of our campfires as well? We hold the campfire in the field that’s right in the middle of the campsite loop. Come join us!

our campfires as well? We hold the campfire in the field that’s right in the middle

VOLUME II1, ISSUE II

 

THE EAGLE EYE

PAGE 4

How YOU Can Help Mason Neck State Park

How YOU Can Help Mason Neck State Park

     

1. Leave no trace.

Prevent your pet from get- ting in a dangerous fight with another family’s pet.

Observe wildlife while letting it remain wild and undis- turbed.

Discard your trash in proper receptacles.

Take home everything that you brought into the park.

Carry a plastic bag so your pet leaves no trace as well.

• Carry a plastic bag so your pet leaves no trace as well.

4. Become a volunteer.

Leave the park cleaner than when you arrived!

Lead our canoe and kayak trips.

2. Control your pet on a leash

3. Refrain from picking fruit, flowers or other plants, and from harassing wildlife.

Help out in the Visitor Cen- ter.

at all times.

Lead or help with interpre- tive programs, such as hikes.

Assist at our spring and fall festivals.

Keep your pet safe from wildlife, and wildlife safe from your pet.

Make sure everyone that visits after you can enjoy the same things you did.

Make sure your pet stays away from steep drop-offs and restricted areas.

Leave the flowers to turn into seeds, which will feed birds and other animals.

Let’s keep our park beautiful!

 

Creature Feature: Saddleback Caterpillar

 

Did you know that some caterpillars can actually sting? Certain kinds of caterpillars have stinging spines along their bodies. The saddleback caterpillar is one of these stinging caterpillars. As you can see from the picture below, it has spines at both ends as well as along its sides. If you touch a sad-

what it eats. The photo here shows one on a cattail leaf; it also likes to eat oak and maple leaves, grass, blueberry leaves, cabbage and many other plants. It grows to about three centimeters long. Its sting is very potent and painful. This is definitely a “look but don’t touch” animal!

You tend to see saddle- back caterpillars from August through October, in fields, forests, gardens and also at the edge of wetlands. The one in the photo was found in the marsh along Bay View Trail. Keep an eye out for them in your back yard as well as here at the park!

dleback caterpillar, you will feel a painful burning sensation that can last for a couple hours. Ow!

dleback caterpillar, you will feel a painful burning sensation that can last for a couple hours.
 

The saddleback is a slug caterpillar, which means it has lit- tle sucker-like feet. This caterpillar can crawl straight up the walls of a glass container, so if you want to keep one captive for observation, make sure you have the top se- curely fastened! Its adult form is a fuzzy-bodied brown moth. The moth no longer has stinging spines; those are shed when the caterpillar pupates.

The saddleback is very easy to recognize in the wild—its brown ends, abdomen with a bright green saddle, and of course the spiny lobes. It isn’t too picky about

PAGE 5

THE EAGLE EYE

VOLUME II1, ISSUE II

 

Canoe & Kayak Rentals and Expeditions

 

Guided Canoe & Kayak Expeditions

Holiday Trips (morning only)

Canoe & Kayak

Rentals

May 10- Mother’s Day Mothers free with paying child!

June 21- Father’s Day Fathers free with paying child!

 
 

Rent a canoe or kayak and explore

Weather Information

Kanes Creek on your own. Canoes,

 

Registration

Trips will be held rain or shine. You may reschedule due to weather conditions; however, refunds will not be made at short notice unless the guide cancels the trip. Guides will assess the weather at the time of the tour. If it is unsafe, the trip will be canceled and your money will be refunded.

solo kayaks, and tandem kayaks are

All participants must pre-register at the Park Environmental Center, either in person or by phone (703- 339-2380). Payment must be made at the time the reservation is made. Cancellations must be made 7 days prior to the trip, otherwise refunds will not be granted.

available first-come, first-served.

Rentals begin as early as 10 am,

and must be returned by 5 pm.

Rates

Canoes

Kayaks

Tandem

 

Kayaks

 

Morning Trips

Expedition Guides

$12/hr

$10/hr

$15/hr

 

9-11:30 a.m.

All trips are led by a certified canoe and kayak guide. The guides will provide safety information and some paddling demonstrations be- fore the tour. Remember, you are responsible for paddling your canoe

$35/4hrs

$35/4hrs

$45/4hr

This 2.5 hour kayak or canoe trip is offered on Saturdays and Sundays from April through October. Max of 10 persons per trip.

$50/4+hr

$50/4+hr

$60/4+hr

Age Requirements

Must be at least 18 years old

 

Evening Trips

or kayak.

All trips are provided as

with a drivers license or other

6-8:30 p.m.

staffing permits.

picture ID to rent a canoe or

This 2.5 hour kayak or canoe trip is offered on Saturdays from May through October. Max of 10 persons per trip.

Prices

kayak.

Morning Trips

$15 per person

Children 13—17 years old must

Afternoon Trips

$15 per person

be accompanied by a legal adult

 

Twilight Trips

$20 per person**

18 years or older.

 

Twilight Trips Dusk (see below)

Group rate

$9 per person*

Children under 13 are not al-

*Group rates are for parties of 5 or

lowed in a solo kayak, and must

This twilight kayak or canoe trip is offered one Friday evening each month. You must be 18 years or older to participate in this trip. Max of 10 persons per trip.

more on morning or afternoon trips.

be accompanied by a legal adult

**No group rate on twilight trips.

in a canoe or tandem kayak.

Children under age 6 are not

Age Requirements

Children 14 to 17 years old may

allowed in canoes or kayaks.

Dates:

paddle solo in a canoe or kayak, but

 

April 10

6:30—9 p.m.

an adult must accompany the trip.

  April 10 6:30—9 p.m. an adult must accompany the trip.

May 8

7—9:30 p.m.

Children 13 and under must paddle

June 5

7:30—10 pm

with an adult in each canoe or tan-

 

dem kayak.

 

July

3

7:30—10 pm

Children under the age of 6 are not

August 7

7—9:30 p.m.

allowed in canoes or kayaks.

September 4

6—8:30 p.m.

Twilight tours are for ages 18 and

Explore Kanes Creek like never before!

October 2

5:30—8 p.m.

up only.

PAGE 6 THE EAGLE EYE VOLUME II1, ISSUE II July Programs SATURDAYS 10:30-11:30 am Majestic
PAGE 6
THE EAGLE EYE
VOLUME II1, ISSUE II
July Programs
SATURDAYS
10:30-11:30 am Majestic Eagles
Look for bald eagles, osprey
and red-tailed hawks with
us, and discover their fasci-
nating lives. Meet at the Visitor Cen-
ter.
4:00-5:00 pm Pond Probe
Join our scientific investi-
gation. We’ll have dip nets
and buckets available for
you to catch minnows, crayfish and
more as we check for life in our pond.
Meet at the large pond by the car-top
boat launch.
might have enjoyed. Meet at the Pic-
nic Area.
1:00-2:00 pm Birding by the Bay
Join this walk to look for
songbirds, waterfowl and
of course the bald eagle.
Meet at the trailhead for the Bay
View Trail.
12:00-1:00 pm Makin’ Tracks
Identify tracks from ani-
mals native to Mason
Neck, and then make some
of your own. Meet in the Picnic Area.
5:00-6:00 pm Majestic Eagles
Look for bald eagles, osprey
and red-tailed hawks with
us, and discover their fasci-
nating lives. Meet at the Visitor Cen-
ter.
1:30-3:30 pm Lost and Found GPS
Adventures
Ever use a Global Posi-
tioning System? Come and
learn how to navigate us-
ing these small hand-held electronic
devices, and then find hidden caches
around the park. Meet at the Visitor
Center.
3:00-4:00 pm Buggin’ Out
Help us identify some of
the creepy-crawly insects
that are living in Mason
Neck State Park. Then use pipe
cleaners and other supplies to create
your own bugs. Meet in the Picnic
Area.
SUNDAYS
12:00-12:30 pm Got Butter?
Come make and eat deli-
cious fresh butter with us.
You’ll love the pure creamy
taste, just like George Mason’s family
5:00-6:00 pm Majestic Eagles
Look for bald eagles, os-
prey and red-tailed hawks
with us, and discover their
fascinating lives. Meet at the Visitor
Center.
August Programs
SATURDAYS
around the park. Meet at the Visitor
Center.
10:30-11:30 am Frog of the Wild
Come join us on this hike
as we listen and look for
frogs and toads. How many
species can you identify? Meet at the
Picnic Area.
12:00-12:45 pm Makin’ Tracks
Identify tracks from ani-
mals native to Mason Neck,
and then make some of
your own. Meet in the Picnic Area.
4:00-4:45 pm Pond Patrol
Join our scientific investi-
gation. We’ll have dip nets
and buckets available for
you to catch minnows, crayfish and
more as we check for life in our pond.
Meet at the large pond by the car-top
boat launch.
12:45-1:45 pm Buggin’ Out
Help us identify some of the
creepy-crawly insects that
live in Mason Neck State
Park. Then use pipe cleaners and
other supplies to create your own
bugs. Meet in the Picnic Area.
5:00-6:00 pm Majestic Eagles
Look for bald eagles, osprey
and red-tailed hawks with
us, and discover their fasci-
nating lives. Meet at the Visitor Cen-
ter.
2:00-3:00 pm Barkin’ Up a Tree
Do you know how to iden-
tify the most common trees
at Mason Neck? Come
make crayon rubbings of bark and
leaves with us to help you remember.
Meet in the Picnic Area.
1:00-1:30 pm Skins and Skulls
Check out real furs, skulls
and bones of animals that
live in the park. Do you
know what a fox skull looks like? Meet
in the Picnic Area.
SUNDAYS
3:30-4:30 pm Hey, What’s That?
There are so many exciting
things to see at Mason
Neck State Park. Bring
your sense of wonder as we explore
what is found growing and living here.
Meet in the Picnic Area.
2:00-3:30 pm Lost and Found GPS
Adventures
Ever use a Global Position-
ing System? Come and
learn how to navigate using
these small hand-held electronic de-
vices, and then find hidden caches
12:00-12:30 pm Got Butter?
Come make and eat deli-
cious fresh butter with us.
You’ll love the pure creamy
taste, just like George Mason’s family
might have enjoyed. Meet at the Pic-
nic Area.
5:00-6:00 pm Majestic Eagles
Look for bald eagles, osprey
and red-tailed hawks with
us, and discover their fasci-
nating lives. Meet at the Visitor Cen-
ter.

VOLUME II1, ISSUE II

THE EAGLE EYE

PAGE 7

Living on the Edge: Creating Wildlife Habitat

Living on the Edge: Creating Wildlife Habitat

Living on the Edge: Creating Wildlife Habitat

Did you know that the area between two different ecosystems, such as a marsh and a forest, is very important to many creatures? Edge habitat, as the transitional area is often named, allows animals to take advantage of both ecosys- tems: the deep cover of the forest, and the lush plants of the marsh, in this case. Although not all animals will benefit from increased edge habitat, you can generally increase the wildlife in your yard by encour- aging edge habitat.

benefit from increased edge habitat, you can generally increase the wildlife in your yard by encour-
The biggest benefit in edge habitat is the diversity of plants. When creating edge, you’re

The biggest benefit in edge habitat is the diversity of plants. When creating edge, you’re aiming for a gradual transition, not just a sudden change from meadow to for- est. Instead of having the typical suburban lawn going straight to tall trees at the edge of your property, mitigate the change by planting low shrubbery, banks of wildflowers, and so forth. Songbirds and many other small critters will love it—and of course so will their predators such as foxes and snakes. The kinds of animals that benefit from edge habitat are generalists, who will take advantage of the varied habitat. Deer, turkeys, squirrels, and many insect-eating birds will enjoy the opportunity to use two adjacent habitats plus the transi- tion zone in between.

However, some birds might be at increased risk of nest preda- tion and parasitism in edge habi-

tats. Predators like blue jays, crows, and raccoons may find small birds’ nests more easily in low shrubby cover like an edge habitat offers. Nest parasites, too, like the brown- headed cowbird, can find nests more easily in an edge area and sneak in their own eggs to take advantage of the resident birds’ work.

can find nests more easily in an edge area and sneak in their own eggs to

When you’re considering whether and how to take advantage of edge habitat in your yard, first decide what animals you’d like to encourage. Specialist animals prefer one ecosystem, where they find plenty of cover and diversity without the need for a second adjacent eco- system. Bobwhites are happiest in bushy meadow, for example. Some songbirds need deep forest for their nesting habitat and wouldn’t be much helped by an expanded transi- tion zone between forest and meadow. But if you want the great- est diversity of wildlife possible, cre- ating edge habitat might be the way to go.

and meadow. But if you want the great- est diversity of wildlife possible, cre- ating edge

Also consider the size of your property when you ponder edge habitat. Most folks’ back yards, es- pecially when they’re surrounded only by other back yards, aren’t large enough for two different eco-

systems plus a transition zone. You still could create an edge-like diver- sity of plants, though, by creating open sunny areas as well as groups of mixed shrubs and taller trees.

If you’re lucky enough to own several acres of land, however, or your small yard happens to abut an expansive forest, you could in- deed create true edge habitat. You may already have found it difficult to maintain an ordinary lawn close

to the forest—not enough sun at the edge, or too many branches and leaves dropping frequently. Creat- ing a mantle or transition zone would be perfect for you in this case.

or transition zone would be perfect for you in this case. Plant some native shrubs like

Plant some native shrubs like mountain laurel, witch hazel, or spicebush, along with wildflowers that transition out from the shady area into your sunny lawn. See the Virginia Department of Natural Resources’ lists of native plants and tips for growing them: http:// www.dcr.virginia.gov/ natural_heritage/ nativeplants.shtml. Also keep in mind that an irregular line or bor- der creates more edge in a given area than a straight line or even a simple arc. You could feather your border in and out, keeping some tall trees next to the cleared area, but fading the edge of the forest back here and there with shorter shrubs. Have fun discovering new kinds of plants and watching the wildlife in your edge habitat!

and there with shorter shrubs. Have fun discovering new kinds of plants and watching the wildlife

VOLUME II1, ISSUE II

THE EAGLE EYE

PAGE 8

Junior Rangers and Wee Rangers

Looking for a special chance to get your kids out into na- ture this summer? Sign up for our Junior Rangers or Wee Rangers programs! Call the Visitor Center (703- 339-2380) to register.

Junior Rangers (ages 7-10)

$50.00 fee per child, per session, includes all materials, instruction, a midmorning snack, and the Junior Rangers tee shirt, patch and certificate of completion. Par- ents should drop off their children at 9:00 am, and return at 4:00 pm for family campfire. Campfire con- cludes at 5:00 pm.

July 8 th

gly: Have you ever looked through a microscope at the tiny creatures living in pond water? We’ll start with these smallest of animals, then climb the aquatic food chain as we explore how everything in the natural world is connected. We’ll play games, make crafts, hike and even catch fish and other critters from the pond.

- Wet and Wig-

July 15 th – Buggin’ Out:

There are hundreds of dif- ferent types of insects at Mason Neck State Park. We

will find and identify many of these creepy crawlers and discover their fascinating lives through games, crafts, hikes, and more!

July 22 nd – Mammal Sa-

fari:

tious, and under cover—let’s discover some elusive mam- mals on Mason Neck. As we follow their fascinating signs, how many mammals can we find? We’ll also enjoy mammal-themed activities, games and crafts.

Camouflaged, cau-

activities, games and crafts. Camouflaged, cau- Wee Rangers (ages 4-6) Adult must attend with each child.

Wee Rangers (ages 4-6)

Adult must attend with each child. $10.00 fee per child, per session, includes all materials, instruction and certificate of achievement. Children who com- plete all three sessions may attend the free graduation campfire, and will receive a Wee Rangers t-shirt and patch. Each session starts at 11:00 and ends at 12:30 pm.

patch. Each session starts at 11:00 and ends at 12:30 pm. June 30 t h -

June 30 th - Frogs and Friends. How many rep- tiles and amphibians are there hiding all around us? We’ll take a look at some of our captive creatures and then search for more. Through hikes, games, and crafts, we’ll discover the frogs, turtles, snakes and more that call Mason Neck home.

July 9 th - Butterfly bud- dies. Have you ever met a butterfly? Come explore the secret world of these daz- zling creatures. We’ll enjoy hikes, games, and crafts about butterflies’ lives.

July 28 th - Fuzzy and Furry. Their fur may be soft, but their teeth are sharp. Discover with us the incredible lives of mammals on Mason Neck. You’ll love themed hikes, fun games, and crafts to take home.

August 5 th - Graduation Campfire. Children who complete all three sessions may bring their families to make s’mores around our campfire. Free!