Some Headwaters Master Naturalists news for you!
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Headwaters Gathering: March 19 Awards Celebration and Wildflower ID with Eric Jones

Headwaters Master Naturalists enjoyed socialization, advanced training, and chapter awards during a gathering at the North River Library in Bridgewater on the afternoon of March 19. The event included food and drink, recognitions, and an informative presentation by Eric Jones on wildflower identification.  

250 hour milestone pins were awarded to: Sandy Greene, Kate Guenther, RoxAnna Theiss, and Penny Warren.

2014 re-certification pins were awarded to: Sophia Cliffe, Ann Cline, Barb Frew, Don Plants, Stephanie Gardner, Chris Bowlen, Sandy Greene, Kate Guenther, RoxAnna Theiss, and Penny Warren.

Betty Forrest, Betty Gatewood, Jerry Hopkins, Art Vasy, and Adrie Voors were recognized for achieving Certified Master Naturalist status.  

Congratulations to all awardees!

   Thanks to RoxAnna and Eric for providing    
   the banquet and entertainment!

Sandy's March pics ...

Wildlife Center Focus Forwards!

The third major workday for the Wildlife Center (Focus Project) was a lot of snowy fun and new faces turned out to help!  On Saturday, March 8, volunteers really moved the project forward slushing through snow to hang six nest boxes, paint and reconstruct the sign infrastructure, test out the new rain barrels, and move more stone for the pond. HMN’s are intrepid, but it was too snowy to work on installing the pond further.

A record 18 people showed up to help! By lunch it was warmer, and we stood around our work eating hot soups and stews. Welcome to Janet, Jerry, Pat, Dwayne, Malcolm, Ginny and Carl.

From here forward, workdays will be announced as they get developed by each team leader. Planting the garden will occur in different stages starting in April. Pond work will resume on April 17 or 18th. Check with Kate or the team lead to see when they next expect to work, if you’d like to join us further!

Please hold the morning of August 16th in your calendar to join the ribbon-cutting ceremony where food and ADV EDU and tours of the Wildlife Center are planned to be offered. Families/neighbors/friends will be welcome- a great way to introduce people to the Master Naturalist program.

Project Coordinator        Kate       540-350-2824
Pond Team Leader         Frank     540-885-9663
Sign Team Leader         Sandy    540-234-9336
Planting Team Leader    Chris      540-289-6801

Find more pictures of the work day on this post to our website.

Immersed in project work, Frank is seen here focused on getting "to the seat of the problem." Find out what he's gotten himself into!
VMN basic training class is back for the spring session!
Wednesday, April 2 found our third HMN cohort under Eric Jones's botanical spell.
Wecome back!
Coming Up ...

Kites & Critters, Sunday, April 13, 1-5 PM,
Moore Farm, Staunton

VMN Continuing Education Webinar
Monday, April 14, 12-1 PM. Dr. Marie Studer from Harvard University will be presenting: Finding Synergies for Biodiversity Awareness and Conservation: How can the VMN Program and the Encyclopedia of Life Support Each Other? More here.
If you miss it, find the archived version on the Virginia Master Naturalist website here.

Look for our Headwaters Chapter Monarch educational displays and potted Milkweed seeds distribution at:

As always, look to our website's Area Events page for more opportunities to participate in community activities involving our natural world. Please let me know of other events you're aware of that should be on this calendar!

Wildflower Tournament: Press Release

Wildflower Walks and Tournament
Saturday May 10th,  10 AM & 3 PM
4 different short hikes in the
George Washington/Jefferson National Forest

  • Braley Pond
  • Hone Quarry
  • North River Gorge
  • Wolf Ridge

The public is welcome to join Master Naturalists, Native Plant experts, and Friends of Shenandoah Mountain for a firsthand experience with the diverse spring wildflowers in this rich ecosystem. 
Competition is good-natured, using Dr. Eric Jones’s checklist of Wildflowers of Augusta County.  Photos of species identified will determine which trail group “wins” the tournament for the day.  No expertise is necessary to enjoy this day, trails vary in terrain (see website), and the prize IS the enjoyable time spent in the National Forest.  Each participant under 18 needs an adult to accompany them. 
No charge.  More info and signups at

Look for these announcements in Family Talk Magazine, Shenandoah Valley Magazine, Shenandoah Living Magazine, the Daily News-Record and more. Thanks to Sandy!

Help spread the word about this annual HMN Signature Event!

  • Consider printing and distributing flyers. Click on image above to get a printable version of it.
  • Copy and paste our press release into an email to send to your email contacts or just send them the sign up page link:
  • Share through facebook here.

For more information about volunteering for this event, contact Chip Brown at or 507-459-1839, or log into your VMN-VMS account and sign up as a volunteer.

See the Tournament sign-up page here!

Did you know ... the Virginia Native Plant Society elects a Virginia Wildflower of the Year?

Find out about WOY 2014 here thanks to Stephanie Gardner!
Now showing at the Library of Virginia in Richmond! The Richmond Times-Dispatch describes what we'll find there in this article by Tammie Smith from March 21.
Awesome Ambassadors!

There is nothing like a prickly encounter with a landowner adjacent to a project site to ruin your day. Informing invested members of the public of what we’re up to while respecting private property during our ventures are critical considerations for Master Naturalists.
RoxAnna brings us this “story of transformation from confrontation to camaraderie, illustrating what a Master Naturalist can do to promote the Program and the volunteer work so important to us all. 
The eMammal team of Jerry Hopkins and Kate Guenther were doing their eMammal thing in the Central District of Shenandoah National Park when confronted by a landowner who insisted they were breaking the law by being there. Rather than argue, our Ambassador Hopkins engaged the man in conversation about the project that lead to revelations about mutual acquaintances. The next thing you know, Jerry was invited to park on his property whenever he needed to do so. In addition, it just so happened this man was a caretaker for the home of a well-known journalist whose property was developed in the fifties and is a one of a kind, never to be duplicated residence and haven. Guess what happened next? A private tour of this amazing place!
We can now imagine that this landowner is telling his neighbors (probably living miles away from each other) all about the cool stuff that the Virginia Master Naturalists are doing and what truly amazing people they are: trustworthy and friendly, inquisitive and kind, respectful and gracious.  Do you have an ambassador story you would like to share?

Thanks to Jerry for being an Awesome Ambassador by so smoothly diffusing a potentially volatile situation!
Change in Hosting Committee
In the last board meeting, RoxAnna was elected to co-chair our Hosting Committee replacing Sophia Cliffe, who has requested to step down from this position. Sophia continues to serve on our board as Past President. RoxAnna has served as Host Committee chair previously and currently shares the position with Teresa Townsend. She continues to also chair the Training and Advanced Training Committees. Thanks RoxAnna!

Headwaters Chapter Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, April 17, Noon- 2 PM

@ North River Library
118 Mt Crawford Ave, Bridgewater, on even months only
All board members strongly urged to attend.
All members welcome!
VMN State Program Notices ...

Statewide VMN Conference in Newport News this Fall

Please mark your calendars for our next statewide conference being held at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News, September 26-28, 2014.  The conference is being co-hosted by the Historic Rivers and Peninsula chapters and will provide a great opportunity to network with other chapters and participate in numerous workshops on multiple natural resource topics.

Call for Proposals: Regional Conferences in 2015

Responding to the feedback from last year's strategic planning sessions, the Virginia Master Naturalist program is planning to host four regional conferences in 2015 instead of the traditional statewide one.

The Virginia Master Naturalist program Steering Committee is soliciting proposals from chapters to host one of four regional conferences in 2015.  These one-day regional conferences will replace the three-day statewide conferences in alternating years. 

Chapters can host the conference at any time of the year during 2015 (spring, summer, fall).  We recommend providing training opportunities for skills relevant to specific, local projects; your chapter may want to target projects being implemented at the conference location. We are looking for one chapter to host within each of four regions.  
More here.   - Alycia Crall

State Committees Update: Opportunity to Influence Program Financial Management

In response to feedback from last year's strategic planning, the VMN program Steering Committee is getting more volunteer representation. And a new Advisory Board is being formed to help manage a new VMN Foundation account being created through Virginia Tech. Volunteers are needed for this new Advisory Committee!

More about the volunteers appointed to the state Steering Committee and Alycia's appeal for Advisory Board applicants here.

Volunteer Opportunity: Bird Observation Study with Cornell

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is launching a research study about how people observe birds, and we're looking for folks who are willing to watch birds over a period of three months. If you are selected for the study, we will ask you to commit to watching birds once a month for three months, and to complete two to three surveys during that time. A portion of users might be invited for an additional telephone interview to talk about their experiences. Participation is entirely voluntary, and anyone may decline participation at anytime. The thoughts and responses of those in the study will remain confidential.

After finishing the study, each participant will receive a $25 Amazon gift card to thank them for their time.

Bird watching experience is not required to participate in this study. In fact, we’re particularly looking for people who are interested in and enjoy nature, or who are beginner and novice bird watchers. 

To see if you qualify, please fill out the following survey

Invasive Plant Removal Day Scheduled: May 3
Invasive Plant Removal Day has been scheduled for this year.  It will be held on Saturday, May 3. For information on how to participate, please follow this link.  It would be great to have some of our chapters serve as local site leaders: For questions, please email Jenn Truong:  - Alycia Crall

Homeowner Guide For a More Bay-Friendly Property

The Chesapeake Stormwater Network has produced a Homeowner Guide For a More Bay-Friendly Property that contains in-depth, practical information about how to assess the runoff from a property, plan and design a rain garden, and install a conservation landscape.  (Note that the information is useful for any site, even if you’re not actually located in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.)  Although the guide doesn’t have a section specifically about wildlife habitat, the principles and practices outlined therein are definitely beneficial to wildlife.  You can download the guide at  - Carol Heiser, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Also from Carol: more valuable online resources from The Chesapeake Stormwater Network through their ongoing and archived webcast series. Learn more about stormwater mitigation through Bioretention and Dry Swales here. "The web site says it’s 'Advanced' for designers and plan reviewers, but I wouldn’t let that keep you from learning what the experts know!"

Volunteer Opportunity: VWL 2014 Grassland Biodiversity Survey

Virginia Working Landscapes is currently recruiting citizen scientists to assist with plant, bird and pollinator surveys across the Virginia Piedmont and northern Shenandoah Valley, from Frederick to Albemarle County for spring and summer 2014. These surveys are part of a study of working grasslands that examines species diversity under various management regimes and at different stages of warm season grass establishment. Training and surveys are supported by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal. Survey locations in Augusta County include the Swoope Boy Scout Camp and Wheatlands Farm. More here.
Out of town but could be worth the drive ...
More on this Workshop & Field Walk in Warrenton and northern Fauquier County here.

Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
FREE Spring 2014 science lecture series. Wednesday evenings in April. Front Royal.
Spread the Word

Headwaters Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalist Program will 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. More here.

Inquiries go here:
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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