Alexandria Chapter of the Izaak Walton League

2729 Garrisonville Road, Stafford, VA 22556

Izaak Walton League: Defenders of Soil, Woods, Water, Air, and Wildlife.

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Conservation Activities

Pining for the holidays!
This time of year, it is hard not to see or smell pine trees. Driving down the road, you probably saw them strapped down to car roofs on their way home to be decorated for Christmas and their boughs wrapped into wreaths to be hung from front doors. Their vibrant green color, distinctive shape, and aromatic smell seem to evoke the holiday spirit.
Across the United States, there are around fifty types of pine tree that grow naturally from deep into the southeast to the western mountain ranges, New England over to the Great Lakes and Great Plains. Pines are related to other conifers such as spruces, firs, and cedars and are also the most common coniferous tree found around the world. ("Coniferous" meaning that they have pine-like needles and seed-producing cones.) Some common types of pine trees found in our area include Eastern white pine, Virginia pine, and Loblolly pine.
Pine trees are also referred to as "evergreen" since their needles remain on the tree year-round. The pine needles grow in bundles on the branches. The number of needles in each bundle, the color, and the length of the needles are all good ways to identify the type of pine tree. Pine cones can also be used to determine the type of pine. Cones come in various sizes and shades of brown and are found on both male and female pine trees, with female cones producing seeds and male cones producing pollen. Chipmunks and squirrels enjoy eating the seeds of pinecones, as do other wildlife and birds. Evergreen trees and shrubs are crucial winter habitats for birds, offering a place to hide from the cold and protection from precipitation.
In addition to providing important symbolism and decoration for Christmas, pine trees provide other valuable benefits. Their densely covered branches provide cover for small wildlife so they can rest and get away from the wind, rain, and snow. Pine trees also provide areas for deer to rest and eat. Since evergreens keep their needles all winter, snow is able to build up on the branches, providing wind resistance and good cover since there is less snow on the ground beneath the trees. Large areas covered by pine trees shelter deer and are sometimes referred to as "deer yards".
There are a number of pine trees as well as other conifers naturally growing around our property. This is a good time to visit Izaak Walton League to see them since most of the other trees have dropped their leaves.
Take a walk on the trails and search around on the ground to find pine cones. Look into the pine trees to see what critters may be sitting on the branches. Rub a few needles between your fingers and smell the distinctive aroma of pine.
Happy New Year! Erika Wettergreen – Conservation Chairerika[AT]wettergreen[DOT]com Save Our Streams: Virginia Save Our Streams 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. We are still looking for the macroinvertebrate equipment. An option for the macroinvertebrate equipment would be to make our own. The instructions are simple and easy to follow. One of the Committee members has a source for a few more pieces of PVC. Look and see if you can help. The chapter seeks volunteers to help start a stream-monitoring program for five areas around the property. If interested contact Eric Brown or Erika Wettergreen on how you can help.
Conservation Report July 2022 (Members only) IWLeague - Water quality in Virginia
VA Dept of Health - Ways to conserve water

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For more information, contact:
Erika Wettergreen, Conservation Committee Chair , Send Message , (Log in to see additional contact info)

For more information on Conservation, see IWLA Conservation