Friends of 
Mason Neck State Park

October 2018 Newsletter

01 Oct 2018 2:24 PM | Thomas Blackburn (Administrator)

October 2018 Newsletter

Owls Enchanted the 
Friends of Mason Neck State Park

Nearly 100 people spent a fascinating evening at Gunston Hall, as Secret Garden Birds and Bees presented a program on the owls that live in Northern Virginia in the winter.  

Everyone in the audience had an opportunity to get close-up views and pictures of a Barred Owl, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl and two Screech Owls.   

We also learned about the Snowy Owls, Long-eared Owls,Short-eared Owls and Saw Whet Owls that migrate into the area during cold weather.

Secret Garden Birds and Bees rehabilitates injured owls and other birds and brings owls that cannot be released back into the wild to audiences who want to learn more about these seldom-seen creatures.  

For many people, the Eastern Screech Owl, 
a 4-ounce cutie, was the star of the show.  

Friends of Mason Neck State Park Supported the National Public Lands Day Cleanup

The Friends of Mason Neck State Park provided refreshments and helped to organize the 34 volunteers who showed up to spruce up the Park on National Public Lands Day.  

The large amount of rain that fell during the summer contributed to an unusually large amount of trash washing up on the shoreline of the Park.


Intrepid paddlers braved thick mats of vegetation and stiff winds to clean the shoreline in areas that were inaccessible by foot.

Those who were not able to walk the shoreline helped spruce up the Visitor Center by weeding the new gardens.  

The volunteers cleaned up 734 pounds of trash, making this one of the most successful Park cleanups in recent history.

Come to Park After Dark 
at Mason Neck State Park 
on October 20

Visitors will have a rare opportunity to experience the Park after the sun goes down on October 20.  From 6:30 pm until 9:00 pm, adults and children alike will learn about the park at night.  

During Enchanted Forest hikes, children will visit with costumed characters representing animals who live in the Park and learn about their lives.


Adults and older children can take guided "no lights" hikes to learn how vision and other senses change in the dark and experience the woods at night.  

And of course there will be a campfire, complete with a storyteller, and the Friends of Mason Neck State Park will supply drinks, marshmallows to roast and s'mores to enjoy.

So come on out to the Park for a unique experience!  There's no need to register, and no charge for the event (although standard Park admission fees apply). 

The Park also needs a few volunteers to help make sure the event runs smoothly.  If you are interested in helping, please email the Park staff at Volunteer for Park After Dark and put "Volunteer for Park after Dark" in the subject line.    

Save the Date for 
the Friends of Mason Neck State Park's
 Holiday Program

The Friends of Mason Neck State Park will hold their annual holiday  event on Sunday afternoon, December 2.  We'll meet at the Jammes House in the Park, which is normally closed to visitors, but will be decorated for the event.

We'll have a wonderful array of good things to eat and a special presentation from Ashley Kennedy, a PhD candidate in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware. This fascinating program, "What Birds Eat", can help us establish ideal bird habitats not only in our own backyards but on a much larger scale to promote avian conservation. Learn  which insects are the most important in birds’ diets and which plants you can include in your garden to support various bird species.  Stay tuned; registration for this event will open shortly, and it always fills up quickly. 


We would love to have you join the Friends of Mason Neck State Park!  Memberships fund the many Park activities we support each year.  And for as little as $20 per year, you will enjoy monthly newsletters, emails about special events and priority registration for special events such as our members-only Owl Moon in September, and Swanfall in December, and other activities during the year. You can sign up right here:  Join the Friends of Mason Neck State Park 

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