Some Headwaters Master Naturalists news for you!
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Focus Project Update

About 20 members of Headwaters Master Naturalists, and volunteers from the Wildlife Center, Native Plant Society and Master Gardeners have joined together thus far to complete the first of three major legs of our Focus Project at the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro.

We still need more volunteers for spring!  What kind of work are volunteers needed for? Just to name a few:
  • Installing bird and mammal nest boxes in trees
  • Painting and renovating 3 large signs
  • Transplanting in native plants
  • Digging and installing the pond feature
  • Laying the decorative rock walls
  • Installing rain barrels or other storm water mitigation
Please think of ways—small and large—that you can get involved. Hate gardening, but want to help? How about cooking lunch for one of the major work days on March 8 and August 16? Or donating money towards the water feature or signs? Or lead an Advanced Training Wildlife Food ID walk or tour of the WCV kitchen on August 16!

Contact Kate Guenther ( to talk about possibilities, Frank Deckert ( to talk about the pond or Sandy Greene ( to talk about signs, art and nest boxes.
Then let us know if you’ll be able to help out in any way between now and September!
We’re having fun—and hope you will join in!
Milkweeds for Monarchs!

The Headwaters Master Naturalists Projects Committee, chaired by Sandy Greene, wants to turn our concern over the plight of the iconic monarch butterflies into actions. Plans are underway for our chapter to distribute information and potted common milkweed seeds at our three local springtime environmental events:  
Once a bright and sure sign of autumn, monarch butterflies are now in worrisome decline. Scientists have tracked their decreasing numbers for several years. A recent study showed the lowest ever population of migrating eastern monarchs.
A number of factors have contributed to the decline of the monarch butterfly. Here in the United States, industrialized farming involving wide scale spraying of pesticide that kills all vegetation but the food crops modified to be immune to it is a major factor.  We are losing high percentages of the native flora, especially milkweeds, which monarchs need to survive, in favor of homogenized landscapes. Farms growing only one crop and non-native green spaces such as lawns and pesticide-treated roadways, contribute to the problem.
In Mexico, deforestation, especially illegal logging, contributes to the habitat loss of monarch butterflies and reduces their numbers.
Additionally, severe weather such as extreme cold and drought has been identified as a factor leading to the loss of monarchs.
We can help as individuals by using less pesticides and growing our own milkweed to welcome back the monarchs.

Learn more about their situation and what you can do through Then plan to join us at one of the area environmental fairs this spring to pass out milkweed seeds! Contact Sandy if you'd like to participate in any way.
Join the Great Backyard Bird Count for Volunteer hours
AND find Advanced Training hours through these related events:
Also consider attending our local bird clubs' upcoming February meetings:
  • Rockingham Bird Club, TONIGHT, Thursday, February 7, 7 PM, Detwiler Auditorium, Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, 1501 Virginia Ave., Harrisonburg. Scheduled program: Les Grady on "Effects of Climate Change on Birds in the Eastern U.S."
  • The Augusta Bird Club, Monday, February 10, 7 PM, Covenant Presbyterian Church, 2001 North Coalter St., Staunton. Scheduled program: Kevin Shank on "In-flight Owl Photography Made Simple" 
Recruiters Wanted!

Headwaters Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalist Program will once again be offering a split fall and spring basic training class! The 2014/2015 class will be held at Bridgewater Retirement Center mid-day on week days. Consider yourself a program recruiter!

Inquiries go here:
Headwaters Considers Bylaw Revisions, Dues
During its January 16 meeting at the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries office in Verona, the Headwaters Chapter board discussed several topics related to the chapter bylaws and budget. In each case, the board created an ad hoc committee to gather information and suggest a course of action. The committees have no formal deadlines, but it is anticipated the board will look at these issues more closely in several months.
Bylaws Committee composed of Tom Long, Ann Murray, and RoxAnna Theiss will consider three possible changes:
  • Article IV, B, 3 - clarifying wording about counting administrative hours for certification.
  • Article V, F - resolving confusion about terms of office that arose following the General Membership meeting. 
  • Article IX, A - changing the fiscal year from the calendar year to July 1 to June 30 so that a training class will fall within one fiscal year.
Any bylaw changes have to be submitted to the Virginia Master Naturalist State Steering Committee and then, after proper notification, approved by a 2/3s majority of members present at the General Membership meeting in November. Check out our current bylaws here.
Dues Committee composed of Kathy Romig, chapter Treasurer, and Tom Long, President, will investigate possible membership dues for the chapter. The board recognizes that we are enjoying a growing membership and program and we must find a way to fund activities and operations beyond the training classes. Included are expenses such as postage and the Post Office box, printing, speaker acknowledgments for advanced training, the General Membership meeting, etc.

Under Article IV, G the board may set dues and related policies. The committee is gathering information from other chapters and will conduct a survey in which each member can share thoughts, concerns, and ideas. Watch your email for more information - every member is encouraged to participate in the survey and share his or her views with the board.
The next meeting of the board is at noon on February 20 at North River Library in Bridgewater. All members welcome!

American Chestnut Awareness

Our own Betty Gatewood presented at a workshop in Reston last month "on the History of the American Chestnut as a teaching story for children." Attended by Chapter members Betty Forrest, Stephanie Gardner and RoxAnna Theiss, find out what they learned from this event hosted by the Virginia Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation in their Headwaters Chapter website post.

More opportunities to learn about American Chestnuts are coming up in the Winter Lectures at Staunton's Frontier Culture Museum. Approved for HMN Advanced Training hours, this four part series of free public presentations is scheduled for consecutive Tuesday evenings, February 18 - March 11, 7:00 PM, in the Dairy Barn Lecture Hall.
Volunteer Management System Mastery

Still uneasy about documenting your hours? Virginia Master Naturalist state program coordinator, Alycia Crall, is continuing this year's advanced training monthly webinar series with tutorials on navigating the VMN VMS. Proficient use of the site is integral to the success of our program with its data and information management capabilities.

Monday, February 24, 12 - 1 PM: Pete Pfeiffer of the Arlington Regional Chapter will lead us through everyday use of the VMN VMS. The following edition on Tuesday, March 4 will be helpful to everyone trying to administrate this system and customize it for the best use of their chapter.

Alycia's flyer about the webinar and presenter Pete Pfeiffer here. Webinar site is here. If you can't make the live shows, they'll be posted to the VA Master Naturalist website here.
Calling all volunteers!  Have you ever wanted to share news about Virginia Master Naturalist projects but you weren't ready to write for the newsletter or website?  We want to hear about your projects and we can help!  Contact Stephanie Gardner at and I can help ghost write an article or feature about the project for you!
So many events of interest to Naturalists in our area! Help me compile them here to share on our Headwaters Master Naturalists website. Email event details to Adrie:
Save the Date!

Saturday, May 10, 2014: Wildflower Tournament. The Headwaters Chapter hopes to make this an annual, signature event to get everyone into the national forest on Shenandoah Mountain and see firsthand the natural treasures in our backyard.

Email Chip Brown if you can help out with this.
Virginia Master Naturalist programs are open to all, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, genetic information, marital, family, or veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.
Copyright © 2014 Headwaters Master Naturalists, All rights reserved.

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