Some Headwaters Master Naturalists news for you!
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Great Backyard Bird Count is February 13-16!

Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time.

Since then, more than 100,000 people of all ages and walks of life have joined the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds.

You are invited to participate! Simply tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, February 13-16, 2015. You can count from any location, anywhere in the world!
Find all the details HERE.

Our local Bird Clubs are hosting these events to get you motivated to participate:
Saturday, February 7, 9:00-10:30AM. Preparing for the Great Backyard Bird Count: Learn how to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count, and take a bird walk.  Frontier Culture Museum, 1290 Richmond Avenue, Staunton. Free. Contact is Darrell Schwalm, 885-0015.
Wednesday, February 11, 7:00-8:00PM. Backyard Bird Feeding and Identification: Learn the basics of feeding birds in your backyard, and how to collect data on the birds to submit to a nationwide database for the “Great Backyard Bird Count.” Staunton Public Library, 1 Churchville Ave., Staunton. Great citizen science activity for families. No registration is required. Contact is Darrell Schwalm, 885-0015.
Monday, February 16, 8:30AM. Monthly Bird Walk @ Hillandale Park. 801 Hillandale Ave., Harrisonburg. Meet at the childen's playground. Led by Rockingham Bird Club member Tom Mizell.

Consider attending our local Bird Clubs' upcoming February meetings:
Rockingham Bird Club Meeting, TONIGHT, Thursday, February 5, 7 PM, Detwiler Auditorium, Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, 1501 Virginia Ave., Harrisonburg.
Scheduled program:
Bob Schamerhorn, life-long birder and Virginia native on Birding Florida’s Hotspots.


Augusta Bird Club Meeting, Monday, February 9, 7 PM, Covenant Presbyterian Church, 2001 North Coalter St., Staunton.
Scheduled program: Calvin Jordan, Regional Biologist, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, on mercury issues in the South River.

Monarchs and More! Progress

On Thursday, January 29, representatives from each of the five Monarchs and More! waysides, and the Plant and Sign Teams got together to finalize the budgets and plans for the pollinator waysides. Read Sandy and Gail's notes about all that was accomplished HERE.

Monarchs and More! hopes to be a meaningful and timely set of yearlong projects that engage all members of the chapter in the stewardship of public lands to protect and/or create helpful perennial habitat to boost the declining populations of Monarch butterflies and other pollinators.

Check in on our five sites: click on their name below to access their page of updates and photos!
Online Learning

Wednesday, February 25, Feral Hogs in Virginia
webinar with DGIF Wildlife Biologist Aaron Proctor. 11:30AM- 1:30PM. Join the webinar HERE. This is the VMN webinar of the month to help master naturalists accrue continuing education hours.

Archived VMN December 17, 2014, webinar, The Major Soil Types of Virginia with John Galbraith, Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech, can be found HERE.

Archived VMN January 15, 2015, webinar, Join the Virginia Frog and Toad Calling Survey with VMN Special Projects Coordinator Michelle Prysby, can be found HERE.

Archived Monarch Joint Ventures December 17, 2014, webinar Monarch Biology and Conservation Basics with Karen Oberhauser, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, is HERE.

Thursday, February 12, 2:00-3:00PM, webinar Habitat Restoration Fundamentals with Eric Lee-Mäder, Pollinator Conservation Program Co-Director, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Register HERE.

Jerry's Notes

The year is getting exciting!

We have made it through January and things are really getting exciting and busy. February is sometimes called the longest month of the year. Reports are that the Groundhog has seen his shadow and we should expect six more weeks of winter. But the weather does not seem to stop our Chapter at all. ...

Read more about the state of our chapter from Board President Jerry Hopkins HERE.

The 2014 Annual Report - a great way to understand your Chapter
The hard work is done and the results are good for Headwaters.   One of the surprising by-products of the Annual Report is a look into the heart of the Program and a demonstration of how Headwaters fits.
Click HERE for a quick snapshot of the Report with some interesting tidbits inserted. Find the entire report on VMN VMS HERE.

Resolutions Realized!

Our President, Jerry Hopkins has been true to his resolution for 2015.  He has entered his hours on VMN-VMS for January and so has 28% of the chapter.  That’s pretty good for January!  But we’ve done better . . . this time last year, 55% of the chapter had entered hours for January! ...

Read more from RoxAnna about setting targets to achieve goals, illustrated with a personal story HERE!

The Virginia Master Naturalists Had Another Wonderful Year! Many thanks to all the volunteers that spent time entering in their volunteer hours and for the chapter leaders that compiled all the data for the state.  ... Since the program’s inception in 2005, you all have contributed 526,570 hours of service—with a value of $12.4 million—to the Commonwealth of Virginia. ... We'll be releasing a more detailed report later in the year so be sure to sign up to receive additional communications by visiting: and clicking on "Stay Connected!"
- State Program Coordinator Alycia Crall, January 14, 2015

The January Issue of the Virginia Master Naturalists' state program newsletter The Pollinator will bring you up to date on other chapters' activities and the state program's recent accomplishments.

What the Nature Nuts have been doing ...

On January 10th our club of nine children, ages 6-12, attended a vermiculture program put on by our 4H county agent, Marie Rothwell. She instructed them in making worm bins from large plastic tubs by drilling holes around the sides and the bottom. The kids were told to shred and dampen newspaper inside the bin. When the "red wigglers" arrived, the parents picked some up.  By that night, I was getting phone calls about how to keep the worms from crawling all over the kitchens! I had given my worms dried leaves and pine needles along with some vegetable peels. They seemed happy with that arrangement! So now I have a tub of worms living in my kitchen. 

At our next meeting, February 8th, we will have a speaker from the vet tech program at Blue Ridge talking about farm animal health.  - Ann Murray

Lake Shenandoah Pollinator Trail Planning

Jason Hallacher is a fisheries biologist with the VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries making time among his fish-related duties to take on a pollinator supporting project at Lake Shenandoah.

He's invited the Headwaters Chapter to participate! Read about it HERE.

Photo credit: Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Naturalist Book Nook

Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman’s Fight to Save the World’s Most Beautiful Bird
by Bruce Barcott

Sharon Matola, an unlikely hero, former circus performer, and now an ‘expat’ zoo keeper in Belize and not one of the best with diplomatic skills to say the least, decides to try to stop a dam being built in Belize. The dam would flood the habitat where the last 200 Scarlet Macaws are residing in Belize.

... Read more from Penny Warren HERE!

Save the Date!


Wildflower Tournament 2015

Saturday, April 25th

note the new date, changed from May 9!

This is our annual, signature event to get everyone into the national forest on Shenandoah Mountain and see firsthand the natural treasures in our backyard.

See the results of last year's Tournament HERE.

Please contact Chip at to sign up to volunteer!
Look for an organizing meeting on Monday evening, March 16 ... with Continuing Education!

We are accepting applicants for 2015 HMN Basic Training through tomorrow, Friday, February 6.
Class starts April 2, 2015!

Mark these March dates ...  

Tuesday, March 17, 10:00AM-2:00PM
Marl Creek Trail tree planting with Charlie Huppuch
@ McCormick Farm, Raphine
Planting bare root native tree seedlings along the trail under Charlie's directions.

Wednesday, March 18, 9:30-11:30AM
HMN Adopt-a-Highway Trash Pick Up
@ Spring Creek Rd., Bridgewater
Weather permitting, we can expect to fill well over a dozen trash bags to improve the view along this heavily traveled road.
And don't forget there will be a Monday evening, March 16 Wildflower Tournament 2015 organizing meeting. Stay tuned for details.
Headwaters Chapter Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, February 19, 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

@ Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Office
517 Lee Highway, Verona
Click on image at right to find directions through Google maps.

Note this time and location change! All monthly board meetings will now start at 11:30 AM instead of noon and meet at the DGIF office in Verona instead of alternating with the North River Library in Bridgewater.

All members welcome!
Wind your way HERE to view our calendar of Naturalist-related events in our area. Contact Adrie if you know of events to add to the calendar.
Copyright © 2015 Headwaters Master Naturalists, All rights reserved.

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