Nature Quotes

Rachel Carson said, “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder without any such gift from the fairies, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”

This year, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy is expanding its Youth and Family Programs by adding a host of field trips, nature walks, school programs, and speaker programs designed specifically for Loudoun’s K-12 citizens.  We know our young stewards are the future of conservation and people and wildlife living in harmony. Please check our programs calendar to sign up!

One of the main features to this new effort is the addition of the  “We’re Going Wild” Family Nature Walks, a series of discovery hikes in various natural habitats all over the county, and led by seasoned naturalists.  These walks are special because they are EDU-taining and designed to be hands-on, unstructured to allow for deeper exploration of findings, and FUN for FREE!

They are not just for the kids, but also for their families!  When families go wild together, a special process of shared learning takes place…where adults and children are students together as equals.  This is a significantly powerful paradigm shift that creates a richer learning environment for children learning alongside their adult role models!  This further fosters applying new knowledge together outside of our programs–in your own backyards and communities.

This group WENT WILD at Algonkian Regional Park on May 17, 2015.

This group WENT WILD at Algonkian Regional Park on May 17, 2015. Guide Ed Clark (far left) will see you again in June for the next “We’re Going Wild” Family Nature Walk at  the South Riding Blvd. pond…on Father’s Day, June 21st!

Our first “We’re Going Wild” walk took place Sunday, May 17th at Algonkian Regional Park on The Woodlands trail along the beautiful Potomac River. Local entomologist and naturalist, Ed Clark, led an enthusiastic and inquisitive group of families who seemed to have an EYE for wildlife!  Highlights of the many exciting finds on their 1.5 mile hike were a Broad-headed Skink, North American Millipedes, 6-spotted Tiger beetles, Blue-Black beetles, Skippers, and this season’s Eastern Tent Caterpillars and their tented silk nests. Additionally, hikers studied the difference between a beetle and a true bug, as well as between dragonflies and damselflies.

Broad-headed Skink

Broad-headed Skink

Plant ID included Poison Hemlock, Poison Ivy, Bush Honeysuckle/ Barberry Bush/Autumn Olive (providing the platform for a talk about non-native plants), Multi Floral Rose, Pawpaw trees (host plant for Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly), Wingstem (native aster blooming yellow later in summer), Deer Tongue plant, Morning Glory and Bindweed, Virginia Creeper, Common Milkweed (host plant for Monarch Butterflies), and Sycamore trees.

Our families also found the handiwork of wood-peckers on trees, identified as work of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker based on the pecking patterns in the tree bark, and they enjoyed learning the distinct songs of the Cedar Waxwing, Warbling Vireo, and Gray Catbird.

What an exciting day spent outdoors on the trail together!

Please join us for next month’s walk:

“We’re Going Wild” Family Nature Walk Series ― Sunday, June 21, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., South Riding Blvd. Pond, South Riding. Join Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and local naturalist and USDA entomologist Ed Clark to explore the natural world through the wonder-filled eyes of children! This series of family nature walks invites families to explore the wide world of nature together, led by an expert in nature and fun! This month’s walk will explore a community pond habitat during pollinator week and ON Father’s Day! Space is limited to 12 children, ages 7+, with accompanying adult. Note: Not designed for Scout groups; no strollers or pets. Registration required: Sign Up Online.




I’ve been walking through milkweed patches, flipping over leaves, looking for chew marks, searching for eggs. So far, nada…no Monarch caterpillars….

But, the milkweed is looking good in our area and we’re slowly getting reports of sightings of Monarchs (although not really in Loudoun yet). A few Monarch caterpillars (5) have been found in the Reston/Herndon area so I know they are around us, we just have to get out there and find them.

In the meantime, as I walked along a glorious patch of milkweed that lines a trail at the Phillips Farm in Waterford, a little poem came together that I thought I’d share with you:

Phillips_Farm_Milkweed_20130626-16An Ode to Milkweed

by Nicole Hamilton

Milkweed growing oh so strong,
welcoming Monarchs with your fragrant song!

Leaves so tasty, green and bright,
filling caterpillars with certain delight!

Life will grow on leaf and stem,
then flutter off to begin again.

Milkweed, milkweed growing strong,
thank you for bringing Monarchs along!


A weed is no more than a flower in disguise.
- James Russell Lowell


I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the seemingly dead feeling of winter. Something awaits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.
- Andrew Wyeth


What good is a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?
- Henry David Thoreau


If eyes were made for seeing, then beauty is its own excuse for being.
- Emerson


To see the world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wildflower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.
- William Blake


With all things and in all things, we are relatives.
- Sioux Proverb


To make an apple pie from scratch, we must first invent the universe.
- Carl Sagan


The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


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