Category Archives: ANS EXPERTS

App Lets People Take Action For Water Quality

NEWS ALERT

New Mobile App Lets People Take Action for Water Quality

It’s an easy, fun and fascinating way to safely collect and report water quality data

For Immediate Release: September 30, 2020
Photos available upon request

CHEVY CHASE, MD – The Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) and Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA) have launched a brand-new version of Creek Critters®, an innovative smartphone app that empowers people to collect valuable data and report on local water quality. Using only a smartphone and a small aquarium net, everyone can learn about stream health and become advocates for their own natural resources.

“It always fascinates me to see how excited people get by discovering life in their streams,” says Gregg Trilling, Conservation Outreach Manager for the Audubon Naturalist Society. “Creek Critters helps newcomers and experienced stream monitors alike experience that thrill of discovery.”

Water quality in the United States is under threat from a wide range of sources, from excessive road salt use to stormwater runoff. Professional water quality experts are unable to monitor even half of the more than 3.5 million miles of streams and rivers across the country. ANS and IWLA have trained community scientists for decades to collect critical water quality data and engage local communities.

Creek Critters uses simple step-by-step instructions and an interactive guide to help users find and identify organisms in local streams. Collecting and identifying these small, fascinating animals, called benthic macroinvertebrates, is one of the most effective ways to assess stream health. Benthic macroinvertebrates live in creeks and streams and have different tolerance levels to water pollution. By identifying and reporting the macroinvertebrates they find in a stream, anyone, including students, can help paint a picture of water quality and pollution threats across the country.

“For students, Creek Critters is a splashy introduction to the stunning biodiversity that can be found if you learn to look,” says Dani Moore, science teacher at Wilson High School in DC.

The data collected by app users is uploaded into the Clean Water Hub, the water quality database managed by IWLA. The first database of its kind, the Clean Water Hub brings together data collected by volunteers across the country in a single, user-friendly website.

“With the Creek Critters app now connected to the Clean Water Hub database, people across the country are empowered to do their own water quality monitoring, share their results and use their data,” says Samantha Briggs, Clean Water Program Director for IWLA.

The app can be used by people working alone or by small groups, making it an easy activity to do while social distancing. It is also family friendly and can be used by schools, camps and clubs to educate and engage students of all ages.

The free app is available for download on iOS and Android devices.

CONTACT:

Caroline Brewer
Director of Marketing and Communications
Audubon Naturalist Society
(240) 899-9019 or caroline.brewer@anshome.org

Gregg Trilling
Conservation Outreach Manager
Audubon Naturalist Society
gregg.trilling@anshome.org

Samantha Briggs
Clean Water Program Director
Izaak Walton League of America
(847) 650-5112 or sbriggs@iwla.org

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About The Izaak Walton League of America: Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League of America (www.iwla.org) and our more than 40,000 members protect America’s outdoors through education, community-based conservation, and promoting outdoor recreation.

About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

Is the Fairfax City Council Bored with Fighting Climate Change?

NEWS ALERT

 IS THE FAIRFAX CITY COUNCIL BORED WITH NEED
TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE, PROTECT STREAMS, AND CLEANER AIR?

More environmental groups voice opposition to Northfax West’s destruction of creek and forest

For Immediate Release – July 7, 2020

For more information, contact caroline.brewer@anshome.org, or 240-899-9019, or Renee Grebe, renee.grebe@anshome.org, 703-261-4668; or lglisagoodnight@gmail.com, or 301-523-5394

FAIRFAX, VA – Environmental groups throughout the region are joining forces with the Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) and dozens of residents who have spoken out against the destruction of a portion of the Accotink Creek and forest in a proposed development in Fairfax City.

The Fairfax City Council is to decide at a hearing on July 14 if it will move forward with the Northfax West development plan, which calls for removing nearly five acres of protected riparian habitat, while permanently burying the North Fork of the Accotink Creek, home to fish, salamanders, and frogs. The plot of land and stream might seem small, but it represents a precious natural space that needs to be protected to enhance human health and well-being, provided by the existence of wildlife.

The Audubon Naturalist Society has made a key ask of the mayor and council: Deny or postponed a decision on this application to ensure alternatives are sought which preserve the healthier, “A1” section of the stream. Doing so better matches the city’s Northfax Small Area Plan vision to help the city reach its land use and environmental goals.

In June, ANS submitted an 18-page letter in opposition to the plan which would bury the creek and destroy the forest. It testified at two nights of public hearings related to that plan and is submitting a new three-page letter to the Fairfax City Council this week outlining strong opposition to a significant waiver of stream protections put in place in 1990. If granted, that waiver would set a terrible precedent that could imperil streams and their forested buffers throughout the state. Sixteen environmental groups have signed on.

“Once a building burns, you can never get back the original or its contents. And once we bury streams and destroy forests, it’s nearly impossible to get them back, to get back all the wildlife they supported, to get back the cleaner, breathable air that they provide,” said ANS Northern Virginia Advocate Renee Grebe. “A decision by the Fairfax City Council in favor of this project as proposed would set a terrible precedent for protecting streams and forested buffers. In the face of overwhelming evidence of climate change and the need to preserve natural spaces for our own mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Is the Council saying to the people of this region that it doesn’t care?”

Renee Grebe, Northern Virginia Conservation Advocate
Audubon Naturalist Society
Audubon Society of Northern Virginia
Chesapeake Legal Alliance
Clean Fairfax
Clean Water Action
Climate Reality Project, NOVA Chapter
Earth Rise Indivisible
EcoAction Arlington
EcoLogics Design and Consulting, LLC
Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions
Friends of Accotink Creek
Green Muslims
Natural Resources Defense Council
Potomac Riverkeeper Network
The Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection
Waterkeepers Chesapeake

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Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

 About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

Rachel Carson Birthday

NEWS ALERT

CELEBRATING RACHEL CARSON WITH PIONEERING WOMEN AND NEW ONLINE APP

The Show, of Birthday Love for Carson, Will Go On (Online)!

For more information, contact caroline.brewer@anshome.org, or 240-899-9019, or lglisagoodnight@anshome.org, or 301-523-5394

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 21, 2020

Chevy Chase, MD – To honor the life and legacy of Rachel Carson, the mother of the modern environmental movement, the Audubon Naturalist Society is throwing her a Zoom birthday party starting at noon ET on May 27. Click here to register.

ANS has long and precious relationship with Carson who was a beloved member, former board president, and friend to many esteemed members of the organization. The celebration, hosted by ANS Executive Director Lisa Alexander, will feature women leaders and women in science reflecting on Carson’s contributions to the world and their own careers. Special invited guests include Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who succeeded in getting a National Park Service panel honoring Carson established in DC’s Glover Archbold Park and her Definitive Biographer Linda Lear, a longtime ANS member.

ANS will pay homage to Rachel Carson by spotlighting women to be speakers who are persevering in her footsteps and forging their own paths. The pre-birthday celebration kicks off Memorial Day weekend with social media posts and the release of engagement tools, such as the region’s FIRST interactive map of places in the Washington, D.C. region that honor Carson or that she in some way touched, along with downloadable activities for children and families

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Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

 About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

ANS to testify before the Maryland legislature

NEWS ALERT

Gov. Hogan's Beltway Expansion, Climate Change and Destruction of Trees on ANS's MD Legislature Agenda Tomorrow

ANS, its Partners, and Fellow Coalition Members Urge Support of Several Bills to Mitigate Harms from Highway Expansion and Destruction of State Forests 

For Immediate Release – February 26, 2019

For more information, contact Caroline Brewer, Director of Marketing and Communications, caroline.brewer@anshome.org or Eliza Cava, Director of Conservation, eliza.cava@anshome.org.

CHEVY CHASE, MD - ANS's Director of Conservation, Eliza Cava, as a member of the Stormwater Partners Network of Montgomery County, will testify before the Maryland legislature tomorrow regarding proposals for the Capital Beltway expansion on I-495 and I-270 in Maryland. This State Highway Administration (SHA) effort is proceeding rapidly and with little opportunity for public input. In effect, Cava and the Stormwater Partners Network are insisting that any changes to or expansions of Interstates 495 and 270 comply with current state and county stormwater design statutes and principles as part of an open and transparent process, which is the least the public has a right to expect.

As it stands, the coalition of civic and environmental groups believe the proposal is too large and too important to get wrong, because if not done in a reasonable and appropriate manner, it would leave current and future generations of Marylanders paying the cost of a degraded environment and communities. ANS and the Stormwater Partners urge Support of HB 695/SB 788 with amendments to strengthen stormwater analysis provisions, as well as HB91 to mitigate the harms of highway expansion.

“Big highways have locked our region into a pattern of increasing suburban sprawl for two generations. In this era of climate change, it is irresponsible to barrel ahead with bigger, wider highways without concern for consequences for the future. Bigger roads mean more traffic and sprawl. Plus more pavement will create hotter temperatures and more floods in our communities. This bill is critical to ensure we don’t repeat the mistakes of the 1950s,” said Cava.

Maryland has had a law to protect forests since 1991, but it’s got loopholes and is not doing the job it needs to do. ANS's Conservation Director Eliza Cava is making herself available to talk to the media beginning today to discuss what Maryland lawmakers need to do to ensure that more trees, “the lungs of our forests,” are better protected. Cava will be in Annapolis on Wednesday, February 27, with a coalition of other environmentalists to press legislators to pass three billsHB120/SB203, HB272/SB234, and SB729, that will make the Forest Conservation Act much stronger.

"Our native forest ecosystems clean our air and purify our drinking water. They form the bedrock of healthy environments for people and nature.  Maryland’s groundbreaking Forest Conservation Act is meant precisely to preserve our forests alongside communities and now it’s time to close the loopholes that are devastating our forests, which are the lungs of our earth,” said Cava.

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Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

 About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has played a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

Smartphone App Uses Little Critters

NEWS RELEASE

Award-Winning Smartphone App uses Little Critters to do Big Things for Clean Water

ANS Hosts the Next Creek Critters Event September 29

For Immediate Release: September 21, 2018

For more information, contact Caroline Brewer at carolinebrewer@anshome.org or 301-652-9188, ext. 23 or Gregg Trilling at gregg.trilling@anshome.org or 240-426-7150.

CHEVY CHASE, MD – The Audubon Naturalist Society has won an innovation award from Bethesda Magazine for the ANS Creek Critters Program which features a free smartphone app where users can easily monitor water quality and protect local streams in the D.C. region. The award will be presented October 18 at the 10th annual Bethesda Green Gala.

The Creek Critters app allows users to identify small organisms – or critters – in local waterways. What lives at the bottom of streams -- benthic (meaning “bottom-dwelling”) macroinvertebrates – are indicators of water quality because these organisms exhibit a range of sensitivities to pollutants and stressors. Among the many critters are crayfish, snails, aquatic worms, and a large variety of insect larvae. App users generate Stream Health Reports based on their findings, and the reports are displayed on an interactive map. ANS and its partners have used Creek Critters to engage nearly 7,500 people at more than 200 events and activities. Adding those who have used the app independently of ANS, more than 10,000 people have been introduced to water quality monitoring through the app– with users posting data from all over the Washington, D.C. metro region, the United States, and abroad.

“The Creek Critters app is designed to make it easy for people to do this important work and the technology is turning users into powerful advocates,” said ANS Executive Director Lisa Alexander. “Now, with real-time knowledge, we can better protect our precious waterways.”

On September 29, ANS Creek Critter Program Manager Gregg Trilling will lead a field class for the Anacostia Watershed Society’s “Watershed Stewards Academy” students. Trilling and his band of trained interns, staff, and volunteers regularly fan out across the region to work with groups, visit schools, and present at conferences and festivals to maximize the number of people who hop into their local streams to check on water quality.

“I am still impressed with how this simple app along with a few nets and buckets has grown a community of clean water enthusiasts. Most people come to our events thinking only fish live in the creek. We can hear the oohs and ahhs when they find their first macro-invertebrate and by the time they leave, they are asking about the health of the stream and what they can do,” said award nominator Sarah Morse, Executive Director of the Little Falls Watershed Alliance.

An inspiration behind Creek Critters is ANS’s Water Quality Monitoring Program, one of the largest and longest-running citizen science programs in the country. Since the early 1990s, the program has operated throughout Montgomery County, Maryland, and in parts of the District of Columbia. The program is unique in that volunteers are trained to identify the organisms in the field and then release them alive, rather than preserving them in alcohol and sending them to a lab for identification.

The Creek Critters app launched in 2015. It’s available for free download in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

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Follow ANS at: 
www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has played a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

Stormwater Pollution is Not Going Away

NEWS RELEASE

ANS Message to Montgomery County Council: Stormwater Pollution is Not Going Away

For Immediate Release: July 18, 2018
For more information, contact Caroline Brewer, caroline.brewer@anshome.org or 202-830-5115 or Eliza Cava, 301-652-9188, ext. 22, eliza.cava@anshome.org

CHEVY CHASE, MD – ANS Director of Conservation Eliza Cava issued the following statement in response to the Montgomery County Council’s vote on stormwater issues:

"Stormwater pollution is not going to go away. It is getting worse, with bigger, more intense storms an increasing fact of life due to climate change and more and more pavement and sprawl turning that rain into stormwater pollution. We must redouble our efforts to use green infrastructure to stop stormwater pollution from destroying our streams and infrastructure.

ANS will continue its long partnership with the Department of Environmental Protection to advise upon and watchguard the progress of this new contracting method, and continue to make recommendations about how to clean up our streams and watersheds for the benefit of nature and our communities.

The compromise is not perfect but it allowed the Council to pass a special appropriation, which was needed to get work moving again on these critical environmental projects. We're pleased that it includes commitments to green infrastructure and Low Impact Development projects that use lessons of nature to manage stormwater and heal our streams.

ANS thanks the Councilmembers who worked hard to make this special appropriation happen."

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About ANS: ANS is the oldest, independent environmental organization in the DMV. Throughout its history, ANS has played a pivotal role in conserving our region’s iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS’s nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

Follow ANS at www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety and www.Twitter.com/ANStweets

Eliza Cava

Eliza Cava - Audubon Naturalist Society Director of Conservation

DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION
ANS

Areas of Expertise:
Conservation
Environmental Education
Environmental Policy
Outdoor Eduction
Outdoor Recreation
Political Action

ELIZA CAVA

Eliza Cava - Audubon Naturalist Society Director of ConservationEliza joined ANS as Director of Conservation in 2016. She is an avid canoer and kayaker and believes that healthy streams mean healthy communities. Prior to joining ANS, Eliza worked at Defenders of Wildlife, analyzing federal projects and policies that touched upon a broad range of renewable energy, land management, and wildlife conservation issues. Before working  in environmental policy, Eliza was an environmental and outdoor educator in Maryland, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Oregon.

Eliza received a B.A. in Environmental Education from Swarthmore College and a Master of Environmental Science from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and is a Senior Fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program’s Chesapeake Regional Network.

TAKE A TOUR

Schedule a visit to either of our beautiful nature sanctuaries by calling (301) 652-9188 Ext. 23 or sending an email message to caroline.brewer@anshome.org

WOODEND SANCTUARY

RUST SANCTUARY

Lisa Alexander

Lisa Alexander - Audubon Naturalist Society Executive Director

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
ANS

Areas of Expertise:
Conservation
Environmental Education
Environmental Policy
Environmental Restoration

LISA ALEXANDER

Lisa Alexander has served as ANS’s Executive Director since 2013. As Executive Director, she has created a visionary Master Plan that will transform ANS’s iconic headquarters at Woodend Nature Sanctuary Headquarters into a living laboratory for the study of restoration and ecological balance in our increasingly urbanized region.

Lisa plays a leading role in setting diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion goals for environmental organizations throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Prior to stepping into the role of Executive Director, she served as both Deputy Director and Director of Environmental Education at ANS. Lisa launched the ANS GreenKids Program, an environmental education partnership with public schools that has served more than 30,000 school children in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia since its inception in 2005.

Ms. Alexander previously worked on numerous, nationally-based educational programs and outreach efforts. She served as an Educational Resource Specialist in the National Digital Library of the Library of Congress, the Director of Product Development for Delta Education, the Science Product Manager for the School Division of Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, and as National Science Consultant for Scott, Foresman and Company.

Lisa is the 2008 recipient of the Montgomery County “Outdoor Educator of the Year” award and was honored by The Washingtonian magazine as a 2009 recipient of their Green Award for her work with GreenKids. She serves on the steering committee of the Choose Clean Water Coalition and was a member of the 2015 Rock Creek Park Green Ribbon Panel.

She has two sons and lives with her husband just steps from Rock Creek Park where she enjoys frequent hikes.

TAKE A TOUR

Schedule a visit to either of our beautiful nature sanctuaries by calling (301) 652-9188 Ext. 23 or sending an email message to caroline.brewer@anshome.org

WOODEND SANCTUARY

RUST SANCTUARY

Gina Ghertner

EDUCATOR,
COMMUNITY SCIENTIST
Areas of Expertise:
Environmental Education
Forestry
Trees
Water Quality
Youth Education

Gina Ghertner has been an expert-in-the-making most of her life. Growing up in the lush forested lands of Peru, she bore witness to the destruction over time of some of Peru’s magnificent rainforests by various entities, some of them illegal mining companies; others, hunting groups. Ghertner was so affected by the destruction of her rainforests that she dedicated her life to helping prevent harm to nature.

Her love for the rainforest drove her to earn her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Forest Sciences from La Molina National Agricultural University in Lima, Peru. Ghertner has since worked on indigenous rights and sustainable environment programs with the Rainforest Foundation; was a volunteer for Tree Steward in Arlington and Montgomery Counties, and is a citizen scientist for ANS’s Water Quality Monitoring Program. In spring 2016, she created for ANS Vamos al Bosque –meaning in Spanish, Let’s go to the woods. Lately, Ghertner has devoted more time to her new ANS initiative, Testing the Waters, a program that both educates and empowers high school students to evaluate the health of local streams.

Ghertner believes that “everyone has the power to teach others how easy it is to protect the environment.” The more we do, “...one day we could all become, in some way, experts on the natural world.”

Frank Sanford

EDUCATOR, MASTER NATURALIST
Areas of Expertise:
Creek Critters
Ethnobotany
Outdoor Learning
Pond Study
Water Quality

Frank Sanford is an expert teacher. More than 400,000 hours of living as a teacher over the past 46 years has allowed him to impart knowledge to every age group from preschoolers to adults in their golden years. And Sanford has a grand old time doing it. Which is why some around here call him the Pied Piper of the Natural World. Before joining ANS four years ago, Sanford taught science in Montgomery County Public Schools and at the DC-based Sheridan School. His passion for teaching about science and the environment flows from a lifetime of outdoor learning and experimenting. From fishing to hiking, Sanford’s childhood in St. Louis, MO was flooded with wild adventures in the great outdoors. Working at ANS combines nature and education, two of Sanford’s favorite things. Every first Saturday, he leads our monthly, themed, family hikes, such as Change of Seasons and How Animals Use Color, and has co-taught summer camps on Pond Study, Exploration Hikes, and Ethnobotany (plants and their uses for making dyes and paints, for instance).

Sanford completed the ANS Master Naturalist Program four years ago, and continues taking new courses to build his environmental expertise. “I think my ability to transfer my enthusiasm about the natural world to kids (and adults, too, I hope) is my strength,” Sanford said.