Archive for December, 2015


by Joe Coleman

Cardinal_20150426-3 NAHSince 1899 thousands of people have participated in the longest running citizen science project, the Christmas Bird Count, in the world.

This year, in over 2,000 different counts, people will count every wild bird they can find during these counts.

Join Loudoun Wildlife on Tuesday, December 29 as we participate in this year’s National Audubon Society’s Annual Christmas Bird Count. The results are used to better understand bird populations and dynamics.

Our count circle has a 15-mile diameter and covers 177 square miles of Loudoun’s countryside: north to Waterford, south to Aldie, east to Ashburn, and west to Purcellville.

People will explore the county’s natural and not-so-natural areas in search of birds.

Counters share their wonder of the wild beauty of feathered creatures with like-minded people and sometimes find truly rare birds. It is always a lot of fun!

Yellow-bellied_Sapsucker_20151018-3 nahThe count includes a number of Loudoun’s very special locations such as the Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve, the Dulles Greenway Wetlands Mitigation Project, Beaverdam Reservoir, Morven Park, Ball’s Bluff, a number of private estates, about five miles of the C&O Canal in the vicinity of White’s Ferry, and much of still-rural western Loudoun County.

Everyone is welcome; amateurs are teamed with experienced birders, and every eye and ear helps!

After the counting is done we hope to meet for a Tally Rally where we will find out what others found and share stories about the day’s highlights.This year we’re planning a potluck for the Tally Rally.

If you are interested in participating in the count for just a couple of hours or for the entire day, Sign Up Online by December 22 or contact Joe Coleman at or 540-554-2542.

If you’d like to help with the logistics of the potluck please contact Joe.


This month in Volunteer Connection, we are featuring Sharon Plummer, the Managing Editor of our beloved Habitat Herald newsletter. While Sharon has served in this position since April of this year, she’s actually been volunteering with us since 2011. Initially, she came to be interested in our work when she noticed that our mission aligned very much with her own – she wanted to promote the conservation of wildlife and their habitat for their own sake as well as for future generations through education. Having been a teacher of environmental education a few years back, Sharon has always tried to live her mission to its fullest, and recognized that we can all give a little to meet this goal, be it through time, money, or energy.

While her hands may be more on the keyboard these days, Sharon still loves to get out in the field to get her hands dirty. “I [love] coming home tired and filthy dirty every night, knowing that I [have] done as much as one can do in a day.” Before she found us here in Virginia, Sharon volunteered with the California Conservation Corp and worked several projects such as planting trees and removing invasive plants. As active as our own Habitat Restoration team has been, it’s easy to say she can still have her cake and eat it too.

So what keeps bringing her back time and again to serve Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy? Like so many of our volunteers, Sharon’s motivation comes from knowing that the work she does is needed and meaningful. She specifically wanted to contribute to the Habitat Herald because in her own words “I love that it highlights the passion for the natural world in our own backyards. I think it reminds people to tune in to their own surroundings and helps inspire them to take better care of our habitats.” It’s easy to become overwhelmed sometimes with all the threats facing the environment, but as Sharon and the Habitat Herald so eloquently remind us: real change begins at home.

If you share our mission and wish to serve with us, click here for our volunteer page. Don’t have time to spare, but still want to help? Consider becoming a member or making a donation here.


Sharon and her daughter Sierra at 2012 Xstream