March 2016 Headwaters Master Naturalists News
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HMN Adopt-a-Highway Trash Pick Up, Wednesday, April 6, 9:30-11:30AM. Bluestone Vineyards, 4828 Spring Creek Rd., Bridgewater. Sign up on the VMN VMS calendar or contact Adrie Voors.

Mid-Atlantic Early Detection Network: How you can help defeat invasive species!, VMN Webinar, Thursday, April 7, 12-1PM. Presented by Joe LaForest, University of Georgia's Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health. More about this and the link to join the webinar are here.

Nature Observing with your Smart Phone, Tuesday, April 12, 6:30-8:30PM. Room D100, Blue Ridge Community College, Weyers Cave. Continuing Education with Chip Brown, held in conjunction with an organizing meeting for the Shenandoah Mountain Wildflower Walks. More below.

Cowbane Natural Area Preserve Invasive Plant Removal, Friday, April 15, 9AM-1PM. Near Stuarts Draft. Rescheduled from April 1 due to weather. Sign up on the VMN VMS calendar or contact Peggy Plass.

Plant ID Workshop, Friday and Saturday, April 15-16, 9:30AM-1:30PM. Simms Center, Harrisonburg. Hosted by the Shenandoah Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society. Four spots still available. More here.

Kites and Critters Day on Poague Run, Sunday, April 17, 12:00-5:00PM. Carolyn Ford Farm off Bells Lane, Staunton. Volunteer education and outreach opportunity. Sign up on VMN VMS calendar or contact Janet James.

Riverfest Kate Collins Middle School Field Trip, Thursday, April 21, 8:00AM-2:30PM. Constitution Park, downtown Waynesboro. Volunteer opportunity. Sign up on the VMN VMS calendar or contact Sandy Greene.

Shenandoah Mountain Wildflower Walks, Saturday, April 30, 9:30AM and 1:00PM. Shenandoah Mountain. Hosted by the Headwaters Master Naturalists. Details below.

Headwaters Chapter Membership and Board Meeting, Sunday afternoon, May 1. Izaak Walton Camp, Churchville. More below.

Scroll down to Looking for a Few Good Volunteers ... to find more events HMN Outreach Committee Chair Janet James has lined up for Chapter outreach. Your participation is needed!
Contact Janet here.
Shenandoah Mountain Wildflower Walks
  • April 3: Registration for hikes open on Evenbrite site
  • April 12: Organizing meeting for walk leaders/Continuing Education
  • April 30: Shenandoah Mountain Wildflower Walks

The bright burning lives of the ephemerals ignite the rest of the forest.
- David George Haskell, in The Forest Unseen

Early season wildflowers (spring ephemerals) signal spring's arrival. Adapted to take advantage of the open canopy of the woods, these plants utilize the energy stores of tubers, bulbs and roots to quickly sprout flowers and leaves. As the spring progresses, the larger trees fill in the canopy and block the sun's energy from reaching the forest floor. Most of these small wildflowers die back having quickly replenished the stores in their roots, preparing for the next spring. The fleeting lives of these wildflowers challenge us to get out as frequently as possible to catch the diversity that our woods offer this time of year.

On April 30th, we will be hosting three wildflower walks on Shenandoah Mountain that highlight the spring ephemerals of several areas of the George Washington National Forest. Two hikes (Braley Pond and Hone Quarry) will start at 9:30 am and one hike (North River Gorge) will start at 1 pm. Hike details will be sent to participants at the time of registration.

Registration for walk participants is open as of April 3 and will continue until the night before the walks. Please spread the word!

Contact with questions.

For Master Naturalist Volunteers

If you are interested in being involved as a walk leader, please sign up on the VMN-VMS calendar. It is a great opportunity to explore the forest with people who share a love of the wildflowers.

On April 12 at 6:30 pm, (Blue Ridge Community College, Weyers Cave, Building D, room D100) we will be gathering to organize the walks including assigning groups and trails. We will also be exploring how to use smart phone applications such as iNaturalist, to record observations, the primary way will be recording the flowers we see on Shendandoah Mountain. Mobile devices have become a valuable tool for recording observations and sharing information with other naturalists.

- Chip Brown, Wildflower Walks Coordinator

Click on the image of the Wildflower Walks poster above for a full-sized version. Thanks to Janet James, HMN Outreach Committee Chair, for her great work on this. There are 11"x17" prints of these posters available to hang up around the HMN territory. Contact Chip or Janet if you know a good spot for posting.
Save the Date!
Membership and Board Meeting
Sunday Afternoon, May 1st

Staunton-Augusta Izaak Walton Camp
342 Haskins Lane, Churchville

Click here to find Google directions.

Come for socializing, a potluck, continuing education, and more. Thanks to Paul Bugas for arranging the venue!

Our approved Chapter Board meeting minutes can be found in the Documents section of the VMN Volunteer Management System.
Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail Adoption

In early March, the Project Committee officially approved the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail adoption project!  Headwaters Chapter will be taking on the North River Loop in the Mountain Trail Region.  The project will involve four visits annually to each of the ten sites on the loop. 

Currently, six HMNs have volunteered to “adopt” a site on the loop—which means that there are still four more that need sponsors.  Those who are interested in finding out more about this great volunteer opportunity are invited to contact project coordinator Sandy Greene or Project Committee Chair Peggy Plass and/or consult the VMN/VMS website for more information.  Watch for announcements about Continuing Education opportunities this spring in support of the new project!

- 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.

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.

Newest Member Welcome!

The Rockbridge Master Naturalists chapter has decided to dissolve. Its existing active members are being encouraged to consider transferring to a neighboring chapter. One volunteer, Cyane Lowden, is joining the Headwaters Chapter!

HMN Stephanie Gardner was recently in touch with Cyane to find out a little bit about her and help introduce her to our chapter. Meet Cyane through Stephanie's interview here.

Marcia Mabee's Life on Naked Mountain

March 15th, a beautiful spring afternoon, found eleven people gathered in the Bridgewater library to listen to and watch Marcia Mabee talk about the journey she has taken since she and her first husband bought Naked Mountain in Nelson County in 1988. ... Read more from Elaine Smith here.
McCormick Farm Tree Planting

Even though the weather was decidedly un-Spring like, four Headwaters Master Naturalists celebrated the upcoming vernal equinox with planting trees at the McCormick Farm trail on Saturday, March 19. Ginny Joseph, Ann Murray, Peggy Plass and Judy Tammi joined Charlie Huppuch, retired district ranger in the U.S. Forest Service, for the Spring planting project. ... Read more from Peggy Plass here.
Starry Nights - Night Walk

Some three dozen night enthusiasts gathered at dusk at the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum at James Madison University on Friday, April 1, 2016, for a “night walk in the woods, star gazing, exploring our senses at night, animal adaptations, keeping the night dark.” HMN Chip Brown coordinated and led this night awareness adventure with help from four other HMNs and volunteers. ... Read more from Adrie Voors here.

Looking for a Few Good Volunteers …

Find an event near you and plan to join us!

April is known for its Earth Day events so what better time to do some extensive outreach for our chapter.

HMN Outreach Committee is looking for some volunteers for several events in April. If you like to meet new people and enjoy talking about being a Virginia Master Naturalist or about pollinators, now is your chance to shine! The following are events at which we plan to have a table:

Saturday, April 9Blacks Run Clean Up and Green Scene, Ice House roundabout, Harrisonburg, 8:30AM-12PM

Saturday, April 16, Earth Day Staunton, Byers St., Staunton, 9AM-12PM

Sunday, April 17, Kites & Critters Day, Bells Lane, Staunton, 1-5PM

Saturday, April 23, Bridge Day Staunton, tentative, Sears Hill Bridge, Staunton, 11AM-4PM

Saturday, April 30, Riverfest, Constitution Park, Waynesboro, 9AM-4:30PM

Any amount of time that you can help is appreciated. Please sign up on the Event Calendar of the VMN-VMS website.

- Janet James, Outreach Committee
Birds of the 'Burg Guided Walks are Back!

HMN Kathy Byers is hosting a second round of Birds in the 'Burg Guided Bird Walks for Children and Families in Hillandale Park in Harrisonburg on the first Saturday of each month, April - October, except for July. The walks are designed to encourage school-aged children to enjoy the outdoors by learning about the diversity of bird life in our city parks. Everyone is welcome to come join in on the walks! No more volunteer help is needed. More here.
HMN Betty Gatewood's botanical artistry is getting national attention!

Find out about this from local historian, author and activist Nancy Sorrells here. Thanks to Jerry Hopkins for discovering this story in the Virginia Native Plant Society’s Spring 2016 edition of their quarterly newsletter: Sempervirens.

Witch Hazel in flower. Illustration by Betty Gatewood.
Continuing Education through JMU-LLI

LLI Events Approved for HMN CE Credit

The James Madison University - Lifelong Learning Institute's (LLI) Spring 2016 events schedule includes a series of "ED-Ventures (Small, inexpensive, educational trips!)" many of which have been approved for Headwaters Chapter continuing education.

These events require registration and membership in the LLI program. They may fill up so consider registering now if you are interested in participating.

April 14: Plants 360 - A Tonic of Wildness
Led by Jan Sievers Mahon, Director of the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum at JMU

On four Wednesdays in April and May, HMN's own Jerry Hopkins, Jim Lawson and Chris Bowlen will be leading a series of hikes. Go! Take a Hike! Spring 2016 will offer a great way to get outside and build on your naturalist mastery with experienced guides on trails "chosen for their views, geology, ecology, historical significance and flora." For more information, click on the links to the hikes in the LLI Spring 2016 events schedule.

LLI Course Approved for HMN CE Credit

On five Tuesday mornings beginning April 19
, landscape architect and horticulture professor Nate Miller will be teaching: You Can Eat That? Forage for Edible & Medicinal Plants from the Backyard to the Backwoods. "This class will focus on plants that are edible or have certain medicinal properties in our area ranging from ornamental plants to native plants to common weeds." More about this and information on registering for the course here: LLI Spring 2016 Courses: You Can Eat That?
Baby Season is Here!
Do you know when to lend a hand?

HMN Kate Guenther works at the Wildlife Center of Virginia (WCV). She shares with us an Infant Wiildlife Emergencies guide and WCV website advice link with this request:

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. Yes, it is okay to call the Wildlife Center, but we get 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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