Naturalists

A nature interpretation program

NOVA Parks is pleased to offer a nature interpretation program. The mission of the NOVA Parks Roving Naturalist Program is to connect the citizens of northern Virginia with the natural world in our parks.  Through guided nature walks, hikes, canoe and kayak tours, night explorations, stream and pond studies, and live animal programs, participants gain the opportunity to discover our native flora and fauna in a safe and fun environment. Programs are catered to kids, adults, and anyone interested in the natural world. 

Want to know what the NOVA Parks Roving Naturalist has been up to? Check out his newsletter--Smoke's Corner. 

Programs are offered in many NOVA Parks including Potomac Overlook Regional Park, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Pohick Bay Regional Park, Bull Run Regional Park, Fountainhead Regional Park, Occoquan Regional Park, Algonkian Regional Park, Temple Hall Farm Regional Park, Hemlock Overlook Regional Park, and all five NOVA Parks waterpark facilities (in-season only). Join us for a chance to explore the natural world of northern Virginia. 

Group programs for scouts, homeschoolers, or other special interests can be arranged by contacting NOVA Parks at 703-268-6064.

REGISTER NOW

Apr 17
bluebells, bluebell, bull run, trail, bluebell trail

Bluebells Photography Workshop

Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville, VA

Join Roving Naturalist and professional wildlife photographer Matt Felperin at Bull Run Regional Park to experience the magic of the Virginia Bluebells. Learn how to take stunning photos of this mystical landscape as well as close ups of the fleeting flowers themselves. Digital cameras and appropriate lenses encouraged, but even your smart phones can deliver excellent results! $15, Ages 12+

9:00am to 11:30am
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
Event Details
Apr 17
bluebells, bluebell, bull run, trail, bluebell trail

Beauty of Bluebells Walk

Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville, VA

Experience the magic and wonder of the Bluebell Trail in its full glory! Take a relaxing stroll on Bull Run Regional Park's most famous trail while being enveloped by a sea of blue. Learn about spring ephemeral plants such as the Virginia Bluebell and why these fleeting flowers bloom for such a short time. $5, Ages 8+

12:00pm to 1:30pm
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
Apr 17
bluebells, bluebell, bull run, trail, bluebell trail

Beauty of Bluebells Walk

Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville, VA

Experience the magic and wonder of the Bluebell Trail in its full glory!

2:00pm to 3:30pm
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
Event Details
Apr 17
sunset on a kayak

Sunset Kayak Paddle

Algonkian Regional Park, Sterling, VA

Looking for a great sunset photo opportunity? Join us for a relaxing guided sunset kayak paddle led by ACA certified paddling instructor and NOVA Parks Roving Naturalist, Matt Felperin. Calm evening waters should make this an easy paddle, and we hope to see lots of wildlife along the way! We will begin with a brief paddling instruction overview before heading out. Previous kayak experience suggested, but not required. $35, Ages 12+

6:00pm to 8:30pm
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
Apr 17
owl, barred owl, raptor, bird, profile, portrait

Owl Prowl--Sold Out

Algonkian Regional Park, Sterling, VA

"Whooooo cooks for youuuu? Whoooo cooks for youuuu allllll?" No, this is not a chef looking for a job! This is the call of a Barred Owl, perhaps Northern Virginia's most frequently observed owl. Join the roving naturalist on a quest to find these feathered friends. Learn more about owl adaptations, behavior, and role in the ecosystem before we hit the trails to find them! Even if we aren't able to find owls in the wild, you'll be able to meet Smoke, our resident Eastern Screech-owl and learn about the smallest breeding owls in Northern Virginia! $8, ages 5+

9:00pm to 10:30pm
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
Apr 18
bluebells, bluebell, bull run, trail, bluebell trail

Bluebells Photography Workshop

Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville, VA

Join Roving Naturalist and professional wildlife photographer Matt Felperin at Bull Run Regional Park to experience the magic of the Virginia Bluebells. Learn how to take stunning photos of this mystical landscape as well as close ups of the fleeting flowers themselves. Digital cameras and appropriate lenses encouraged, but even your smart phones can deliver excellent results! $15, Ages 12+

9:00am to 11:30am
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
Event Details
Apr 18
bluebells, bluebell, bull run, trail, bluebell trail

Beauty of Bluebells

Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville, VA

Experience the magic and wonder of the Bluebell Trail in its full glory! Take a relaxing stroll on Bull Run Regional Park's most famous trail while being enveloped by a sea of blue. Learn about spring ephemeral plants such as the Virginia Bluebell and why these fleeting flowers bloom for such a short time. $5, Ages 8+

12:00pm to 1:30pm
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
Apr 18
bluebells, bluebell, bull run, trail, bluebell trail

Beauty of Bluebells Walk

Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville, VA

Experience the magic and wonder of the Bluebell Trail in its full glory! Take a relaxing stroll on Bull Run Regional Park's most famous trail while being enveloped by a sea of blue. Learn about spring ephemeral plants such as the Virginia Bluebell and why these fleeting flowers bloom for such a short time. $5, Ages 8+

2:00pm to 3:30pm
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
Apr 19
millipede, creepy crawlies, arthropod, invertebrate

Creepy Crawlies!

Potomac Overlook Regional Park, Arlington, VA

Spring is here, so that means all sorts of critters are active again! Join the Roving Naturalist to find all sorts of insects and other bugs crawling around at Potomac Overlook Regional Park. We are likely to find ants, beetles, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, and more! Learn more about the role each of these creepy crawlies play in the ecosystem, and imagine life on their level. Eeek! $5, ages 5+

10:00am to 11:30am
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
Event Details
Apr 19
owl, barred owl, raptor, bird, profile, portrait

Owl Prowl

Potomac Overlook Regional Park, Arlington, VA

"Whooooo cooks for youuuu? Whoooo cooks for youuuu allllll?" No, this is not a chef looking for a job! This is the call of a Barred Owl, perhaps Northern Virginia's most frequently observed owl. Join the roving naturalist on a quest to find these feathered friends. Learn more about owl adaptations, behavior, and role in the ecosystem before we hit the trails to find them! Even if we aren't able to find owls in the wild, you'll be able to meet Smoke, our resident Eastern Screech-owl and learn about the smallest breeding owls in Northern Virginia! $8, ages 5+

8:00pm to 9:30pm
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
May 1
warbler, bird, birding, nature, wildlife

Wandering Warblers

Potomac Overlook Regional Park, Arlington, VA

Join the Roving Naturalist and look for migrating warblers, a family of small insect-eating birds that often display striking plumage! While some warblers stay here for the warm season to breed, most of these birds only use our forests as a pit stop between their breeding grounds further north and their wintering grounds in Central and South America. September is the peak month for fall migration, while May is the peak month for spring migration. Learn the stories of these lightning fast little beauties, and where they explore when they're not passing through. $5, ages 10+

8:00am to 10:00am
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
May 1
eagle, bald eagle, raptor, bird, profile, flying, fish

Birds of Prey Kayak Paddle

Pohick Bay Regional Park, Lorton, VA

Join ACA certified paddling instructor and NOVA Parks Roving Naturalist, Matt Felperin for a birds of prey themed kayak tour! This is a great time to observe raptors in action. Expect to see Bald Eagles, Osprey, and other local wildlife. We will begin with a brief paddling instruction overview before heading out. Previous kayak experience suggested, but not required. $35, Ages 12+

 

12:00pm to 2:30pm
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
May 1
owl, barred owl, raptor, bird, profile, portrait

Owl Prowl

Potomac Overlook Regional Park, Arlington, VA

"Whooooo cooks for youuuu? Whoooo cooks for youuuu allllll?" No, this is not a chef looking for a job! This is the call of a Barred Owl, perhaps Northern Virginia's most frequently observed owl. Join the roving naturalist on a quest to find these feathered friends. Learn more about owl adaptations, behavior, and role in the ecosystem before we hit the trails to find them! Even if we aren't able to find owls in the wild, you'll be able to meet Smoke, our resident Eastern Screech-owl and learn about the smallest breeding owls in Northern Virginia! $8, ages 5+

8:30pm to 10:00pm
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
May 8
eagle, bald eagle, raptor, bird, profile, flying, fish

Birds of Prey Kayak Paddle

Pohick Bay Regional Park, Lorton, VA

Join ACA certified paddling instructor and NOVA Parks Roving Naturalist, Matt Felperin for a birds of prey themed kayak tour! This is a great time to observe raptors in action. Expect to see Bald Eagles, Osprey, and other local wildlife. We will begin with a brief paddling instruction overview before heading out. Previous kayak experience suggested, but not required. $35, Ages 12+

11:00am to 1:30pm
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
May 10
warbler, bird, birding, nature, wildlife

Wandering Warblers

Webb Nature Sanctuary , Clifton, VA

Join the Roving Naturalist and look for migrating warblers, a family of small insect-eating birds that often display striking plumage! While some warblers stay here for the warm season to breed, most of these birds only use our forests as a pit stop between their breeding grounds further north and their wintering grounds in Central and South America. September is the peak month for fall migration, while May is the peak month for spring migration. Learn the stories of these lightning fast little beauties, and where they explore when they're not passing through. $5, ages 8+

8:00am to 10:00am
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
May 13
sunset on a kayak

Sunset Kayak Paddle

Algonkian Regional Park, Sterling, VA

Looking for a great sunset photo opportunity? Join us for a relaxing guided sunset kayak paddle led by ACA certified paddling instructor and NOVA Parks Roving Naturalist, Matt Felperin. Calm evening waters should make this an easy paddle, and we hope to see lots of wildlife along the way! We will begin with a brief paddling instruction overview before heading out. Previous kayak experience suggested, but not required. $35, Ages 12+

6:00pm to 8:30pm
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
May 13
owl, barred owl, raptor, bird, profile, portrait

Owl Prowl

Algonkian Regional Park, Sterling, VA

"Whooooo cooks for youuuu? Whoooo cooks for youuuu allllll?" No, this is not a chef looking for a job! This is the call of a Barred Owl, perhaps Northern Virginia's most frequently observed owl. Join the roving naturalist on a quest to find these feathered friends. Learn more about owl adaptations, behavior, and role in the ecosystem before we hit the trails to find them! Even if we aren't able to find owls in the wild, you'll be able to meet Smoke, our resident Eastern Screech-owl and learn about the smallest breeding owls in Northern Virginia! $8, ages 5+

9:00pm to 10:30pm
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
May 15
warbler, bird, birding, nature, wildlife

Wandering Warblers

Algonkian Regional Park, Sterling, VA

Join the Roving Naturalist and look for migrating warblers, a family of small insect-eating birds that often display striking plumage! While some warblers stay here for the warm season to breed, most of these birds only use our forests as a pit stop between their breeding grounds further north and their wintering grounds in Central and South America. Learn the stories of these lightning fast little beauties, and where they explore when they're not passing through. $5, ages 8+

8:00am to 10:00am
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
May 16

Seeking Super Slithery Serpents

Fountainhead Regional Park, Fairfax Station, VA

Tag along with Roving Naturalist Matt Felperin and Park Specialist/reptile expert David Deem on a quest to seek some slithery friends! The wooded ridges and valleys at Fountainhead are an excellent habitat for a variety of snakes. David, the park's own Steve Irwin reincarnated, spends much of his free time seeking serpents all over the country and has claimed multiple state records. Proper safety precautions will be taken as Copperheads are known to inhabit these woods. $8, ages 8+

2:00pm to 4:00pm
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
May 17
warbler, bird, birding, nature, wildlife

Wandering Warblers

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens , Vienna, VA

Join the Roving Naturalist and look for migrating warblers, a family of small insect-eating birds that often display striking plumage! While some warblers stay here for the warm season to breed, most of these birds only use our forests as a pit stop between their breeding grounds further north and their wintering grounds in Central and South America. September is the peak month for fall migration, while May is the peak month for spring migration. Learn the stories of these lightning fast little beauties, and where they explore when they're not passing through. $5, ages 8+

8:00am to 10:00am
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Music, Culture & Festivals
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
May 22
warbler, bird, birding, nature, wildlife

Wandering Warblers

Potomac Overlook Regional Park, Arlington, VA

Join the Roving Naturalist and look for migrating warblers, a family of small insect-eating birds that often display striking plumage! While some warblers stay here for the warm season to breed, most of these birds only use our forests as a pit stop between their breeding grounds further north and their wintering grounds in Central and South America. September is the peak month for fall migration, while May is the peak month for spring migration. Learn the stories of these lightning fast little beauties, and where they explore when they're not passing through. $5, ages 8+

8:00am to 10:00am
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
May 22

Guided Kayak Paddle

Occoquan Regional Park , Lorton, VA

Join us for a guided kayak paddle tour led by ACA certified paddling instructor and NOVA Parks Roving Naturalist, Matt Felperin. Learn about the cultural and natural history of the area and observe local wildlife! We will begin with a brief paddling instruction overview before heading out. Previous kayak experience suggested, but not required. $35, Ages 12+

11:00am to 1:30pm
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
May 22

Cicadamania!

Algonkian Regional Park, Sterling, VA

What's all the buzz about? Brood X Cicadas are emerging, so prepare for an insect party like you've never seen before! Not to worry, these bugs cannot bite or sting. Some Cicadas are annual every summer, so what makes this year special? Tag along with the Roving Naturalist and learn more about these incredibly loud insects and why they take over in such large numbers.

Social distancing will be observed, please bring a mask and good hiking shoes. Meet at Volcano Island Waterpark. $5, ages 5+

Contact Matt Felperin at mfelperin@nvrpa.org or 703.268.6064 for more information.

5:30pm to 7:00pm
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
Event Details
May 29
warbler, bird, birding, nature, wildlife

Wandering Warblers

Fountainhead Regional Park, Fairfax Station, VA

Join the Roving Naturalist and look for migrating warblers, a family of small insect-eating birds that often display striking plumage! While some warblers stay here for the warm season to breed, most of these birds only use our forests as a pit stop between their breeding grounds further north and their wintering grounds in Central and South America. September is the peak month for fall migration, while May is the peak month for spring migration. Learn the stories of these lightning fast little beauties, and where they explore when they're not passing through. $5, ages 8+

8:00am to 10:00am
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
May 29

Seeking Super Slithery Serpents

Fountainhead Regional Park, Fairfax Station, VA

Tag along with Roving Naturalist Matt Felperin and Park Specialist/reptile expert David Deem on a quest to seek some slithery friends! The wooded ridges and valleys at Fountainhead are an excellent habitat for a variety of snakes. David, the park's own Steve Irwin reincarnated, spends much of his free time seeking serpents all over the country and has claimed multiple state records. Proper safety precautions will be taken as Copperheads are known to inhabit these woods. $8, ages 8+

11:00am to 1:00pm
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
May 29

Sunset Kayak Paddle

Fountainhead Regional Park, Fairfax Station, VA

Enjoy a nice sunset on the water and experience the natural beauty of the Occoquan Reservoir! A fun and memorable outdoor adventure while highlighting natural and historical features unique to the area. This program will be led by NOVA Parks Roving Naturalist, Matt Felperin. We will begin with a brief paddling instruction overview before heading out. Previous kayak experience suggested, but not required. $35, Ages 12+

6:30pm to 9:00pm
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
May 31

Guided Kayak Paddle

Occoquan Regional Park , Lorton, VA

Join us for a guided kayak paddle tour led by ACA certified paddling instructor and NOVA Parks Roving Naturalist, Matt Felperin. Learn about the cultural and natural history of the area and observe local wildlife! We will begin with a brief paddling instruction overview before heading out. Previous kayak experience suggested, but not required. $35, Ages 12+

11:00am to 1:30pm
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details
May 31

Sunset Kayak Paddle

Fountainhead Regional Park, Fairfax Station, VA

Enjoy a nice sunset on the water and experience the natural beauty of the Occoquan Reservoir! A fun and memorable outdoor adventure while highlighting natural and historical features unique to the area. This program will be led by NOVA Parks Roving Naturalist, Matt Felperin. We will begin with a brief paddling instruction overview before heading out. Previous kayak experience suggested, but not required. $35, Ages 12+

6:30pm to 9:00pm
  • Camps & Programs Guide
  • History & Educational
  • Kids & Family
  • Nature
  • Roving Naturalists
  • Sport, Fitness & Health
Event Details