Basic Training Class scheduled, Wildflower Walks success and Lots of photos in this May 2016 edition of Headwaters Master Naturalists News
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Injured and Orphaned Infant Wildlife - How to Help, Virginia Master Naturalists Webinar, Thursday, May 5, 12-1PM. Presented by Headwaters Chapter's own Kate Guenther with the Wildlife Center of Virginia. More about this and the link to join the webinar are here.

Shenandoah National Park / Headwaters Master Naturalists Spring Clean-up, Tuesday, May 10, 9:30AM-1PM. Meet at the South River Picnic Area, Milepost 63, Skyline Dr., Shenandoah National Park. Contact Margaret Speicher. More about this below.

JMU Community Service Fair at Employee Appreciation Day, Thursday, May 12, 11AM-2PM. JMU Festival Center, Harrisonburg. HMN Outreach volunteer opportunity. Contact Janet James.

Trout Release Day 2016, Tuesday, May 31, 8:30AM-2:30PM. Bessie Weller Elementary School, 600 Greenville Ave., Staunton. Volunteer opportunity. More about this below.

HMN 2016/2017 Basic Training Class applications due, Wednesday, June 1st. More about this below and HERE.

Art and Botany: Recording the Natural World, Saturday, June 4, 11AM-1PM. North River Library, Bridgewater. Presented by illustrator, photographer and three term past president of the Virginia Native Plant Society Nicky Staunton. HMN continuing education opportunity. More on the VMN VMS calendar.

The Headwaters Chapter Basic Training Committee chaired by Brian Lux has been hard at work making plans for our 5th basic training cohort starting this fall. The plans received unanimous support from the board at its May 1st meeting. Applications for the 2016/2017 HMN Basic Training class became available immediately following the meeting. They are due by June 1st!
  • Headwaters Chapter Basic Training Class 2016/2017
  • Weekly evening classes starting Tuesday, September 13, 2016
  • McKinney Science Center, Bridgewater College, Bridgewater
  • Class start time tentatively 6PM, depending on what works best for the most students
  • Two ten-week sessions separated by a winter break
  • More HERE

Please share this exceptional opportunity to learn with and become part of our diverse, talented and passionate Naturalists' community working to protect and conserve our life-sustaining natural resources through education, stewardship and citizen science.

The Training Committee is looking forward to holding the class in Bridgewater College's McKinney Center for Science and Mathematics. We are pleased to be in this facility and thank the Bridgewater Retirement Community for their past donation of space for this training.

With the help of Bridgewater College's Associate Professor of Biology Kim Bolyard, and BC's community outreach, the HMN training class 2016/17 will be enjoying the fine facilities and resources available through Bridgewater College's Science Center on Dinkel Avenue in Bridgewater.

The class format involves two and one-half months of one night a week evening classes in the fall and various field trips, followed by a winter break which will include opportunities to continue learning. The course concludes with another two and one-half month session of weekly evening classes in SPRING 2017.

With each class we look for those individuals who are curious about the natural world, enjoy the outdoors, and want to develop the necessary skills for volunteering and contributing to natural resource management, preservation and conservation in Virginia.

The $200 cost of the 60 hour training class for 2016-17 covers field manuals, reference guides, digital and other reference materials, multi-modal learning and field experience opportunities. For the first time, some limited need-based scholarships will be made available.

Applications are due JUNE 1st, 2016.

More information and a link to the application HERE.

Shenandoah Mountain Wildflower Walks

Thanks to the dozen Headwaters Master Naturalists and the 47 wildflower enthusiasts who joined us for the 2016 Shenandoah Mountain Wildflower Walks on April 30th. What a great turnout!

Though the weather threatened rain, that was no deterrent to seeing some of the great spring wildflowers of Braley Pond, Hone Quarry, and North River Gorge. Though our wildflower numbers and species are still being tallied, some highlights of the day include seven violet species*, wild yamroot, pink ladys slippers, yellow star grass, wake robin trillium, whorled pogonia, heartleaf, jack-in-the pulpit, and (a perennial favorite) fringed polygala.

For photos of the walks, please check out the event photo album on our website and
our facebook group page HERE

Feel free to post photos of the day to the fb page or to the 2016 Shenandoah Mountain Wildflower Walks album on the fb page!

- Chip Brown, Wildflower Walks Coordinator

Top photo of the Braley Pond group by Carl Droms

Photo at right of phlox at Hone Quarry by Lynn Cameron

Click here (and on arrows) for Eric Jones' photos of six of these found on the Braley Pond walk.
Last Month's Photos!

From top then left to right:
  • Janet and Paul show off HMN's brand new banner at the May 1 board meeting; thanks to Janet!
  • RoxAnna, Carl and Art Fovargue consolidate trash at the April 6 Adopt-a-Hwy Spring Creek Rd. trash pick up
  • Ann Cline and Sarah Long sorting macroinvertebrates sampled from the Middle River along Cline Lane on April 8
  • Sandy and Ginny Joseph at the May 1 membership meeting
  • Eric leading the Braley Pond Wildflower Walk on April 30
  • Kate and Judy at the May 1 membership meeting
  • Governor's School students Brenna and Taylor working a solitary bee house-making table with Janet at Earth Day Staunton on April 16
  • Ginny Hoffman and Ann Murray bug sampling with Kate Collins Middle School 7th graders along the Middle River on April 21
  • Two weeks' worth of Chris Bowlen's invasive garlic mustard harvest on April 30 ready to be turned back into soil at Black Bear Composting
  • Adrie and Deva O'Neal at the Harrisonburg Farmers Market Compost Drop-off station on April 23
  • Chip with a rapt audience at the Braley Pond Wildflower Walk on April 30

Shenandoah National Park HMN Spring Clean-Up

With 2016 being the National Park Service’s Centennial year, Shenandoah National Park will have a marked increase in visitation with folks coming from all over the world to take in the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley. A trip along Shenandoah’s Skyline Drive offers visitors stunning views of our majestic mountains and vistas. Unfortunately, increasing garbage at our overlook and trail head areas is marring that beauty. 

This is a wonderful opportunity for the Headwaters Master Naturalists to help SNP remove the unsightly trash from these highly visible areas and leave only the breathtaking beauty for all to enjoy.

We will be cleaning the Central District beginning at Swift Run Entrance station and moving northward.

  Tuesday, May 10
Meet at South River Picnic Area
    Milepost 63 on Skyline Drive
    Shenandoah National Park

Anyone interested in volunteering for this work day must pre-register by 12:00 noon Monday, May 9th. Please contact Margaret Speicher to register or with any questions. You will then be sent a volunteer agreement and event information.

All registered volunteers receive free access to the park for the day of the event.

Thank you to all the wonderful HMNs for your dedication to the natural world.

- Margaret Speicher,, 540-999-3500  ext. 3437
Natural and Cultural Resources Volunteer Coordinator, Shenandoah National Park

Top photo credit: Shenandoah National Park

Trout Release Volunteers Needed!

Staunton's Bessie Weller Elementary School 5th grade teacher Dwight Huyard needs help with Trout Release Day on May 31, 2016. He is asking for volunteers for 4-6 stations around the school for the 75 fifth graders in four classes (two classes in the morning and two in the afternoon).

Sessions are scheduled for 8:30-10:30AM and 12:30-2:30PM. Those interested in volunteering can sign up on the VMN-VMS site and/or contact Peggy S. Plass ( or Dwight Huyard ( for more information.

Photo credit Bureau of Land Management, Flickr Creative Commons, CC BY 2.0
Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail Adoption

We're also looking for HMNs who are interested in working on the new Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail Adoption project. This is the first year of the new project, and we're taking on the North River
Loop. Volunteers for the project agree to adopt a single site, visiting it four times a year. Training for the work will be available.

You can see the stops on the loop from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' website HERE.

We still need volunteers to adopt four sites on the trail:  Switzer Lake,
Briery Branch Dam/Briery Lake, Flagpole Knob, and Todd Lake.
Any interested volunteers can contact Sandy Greene (
or Peggy Plass ( for more information.

- Peggy Plass, Project Committee Chair

Click on the map image above to access more information on each site of the North River Loop through a Google map. Sites circled on the image are in need of volunteer coordinators.

Click on the power point image at left for the March VMN webinar with everything you need to know to participate in the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail adoption project. Be patient, the webinar may be slow to load up. You can also find it through the VMN Continuing Education Resources page here.

Busy Month for HMN Outreach

HMN Outreach Committee Chair Janet James has led an HMN presence at the major Earth Month-related events in the valley this year. Most recently, she was at Waynesboro's Riverfest.

Riverfest was Saturday, April 30, and despite the clouds, it was well attended. The Headwaters Master Naturalists' recruiting display was used and interested visitors were given Stick-A-Seeds. HMNs Margaret Speicher and Sophia Cliffe, and Janet James' daughter Jenna Benzing all helped Janet at the booth.

Jenna talked about mammals using her animal skull collection, and kids were fascinated. In addition, many visitors had questions about the mason bee house that was at the booth, which provided an opportunity to educate visitors about these little known pollinators.

- Janet James, Outreach Committee Chair
Top photo from Staunton Earth Day, April 16, 2016
HMN Pollinator Project Recognition

HMN Outreach Committee Chair Janet James accepted a $100 gift certificate for our Chapter for native plants from The Natural Garden at the Earth Day Staunton festivities on April 16. The Natural Garden co-owners Karl Shank and Marly Reish recognized our Chapter's Monarchs & More! 2015 focus project with this gift which will go toward more plants for the HMN pollinator sites established during this project.

Many thanks to The Natural Garden for this generous recognition and for propagating native Virginia plants to support pollinators in our region!

HMN Chris Bowlen will meet the challenge of spending our gift money to help fill out our pollinator waystations.

Inside our state program's newsletter's Spring 2016 edition, you will find: Do you have some woods or a few acres you’d like to be a natural area? While you may enjoy your woods for the privacy it offers or knowing that it gives a home to some wildlife, it can be much more!  You can influence what happens in your natural area by better understanding what you have, what you want and available tools to help you accomplish your goals. For example, did you know that by selecting certain trees for firewood, you can improve wildlife habitat, scenic values and regenerate young trees, all at the same time?

Consider attending one of these workshops! Sponsored by the Virginia Cooperative Extension, The Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries and the Forests for the Bay Program.
Shenandoah National Park's
30th Annual Wildflower Weekend
Saturday and Sunday, May 7-8

Among the many wildflower walks and other activities being offered over this weekend at Shenandoah National Park are two
Botanical Art Workshops with HMN Betty Gatewood

"Were you ever tempted to pick a wildflower and take it home, but you knew you shouldn’t?  Here’s a chance to 'keep' the flower, document the day and enjoy your experience in a way that conserves wildflowers and encourages creativity.  Learn a few botany basics, pick up tips on observation and composition, then sketch and use watercolors to paint what you see. No art or science background is necessary ~ just come and have fun!  Meet at Byrd Visitor Center auditorium (mile 51)."

Betty is holding her workshops from 1:30-4PM on both Saturday and Sunday, May 7-8.
Find the complete schedule of activities for Shenandoah National Park's Wildflower Weekend HERE.

Photo credit: Shenandoah National Park
Baby Season is Here!
Do you know when to lend a hand?

HMN Kate Guenther of the Wildlife Center of Virginia (WCV) is presenting this month's VMN webinar on Infant Wildlife Emergencies. She'd also like us to keep this Infant Wiildlife Emergencies guide and WCV website advice link handy.

You never know when a neighbor or friend will show up on your doorstep seeking out your Mastery Naturalisty help with the infant wildlife they have found. Fawns, squirrels, baby birds, opossums, bunnies -  would you know how to advise them? Keep this link in mind for our best advice. ... the Wildlife Center ... get(s) extremely busy May-July, so if you can help by reading and teaching adjunctively for us -- boy will we appreciate it!   - Kate
Submissions please!

The HMN newsletter and website need your input! Please send articles, photos or ideas to Adrie. Newsletter item deadlines are generally the last day of the month for the next month's issue.

Wind your way HERE for a Naturalist-related events calendar for our area. Contact Adrie if you know of events to add to the calendar.
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