Some Headwaters Master Naturalists news for you!
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Poague Run Farm Day

Poague Run is one of the Staunton tributaries to Lewis Creek and Middle River. You see it flowing alongside the Woodrow Wilson Parkway as you exit I-81 towards Rt. 11 towards Staunton and Verona. It runs through several farms, but is within the Staunton city limits. Spring-fed, it is cold enough year-round to support native trout, if there were good habitat and riparian buffers for shade and nutrients.

Restoring this highly visible stream has been a project of several agencies in concert with the farm owners for several years. One of these farms, belonging to Carolyn Ford, is the site of Poague Run Demonstration Day, coordinated by the Valley Conservation Council, on Sunday, April 13th, 1-5 p.m. (rain date May 4th). Targeting Staunton residents, this event offers an opportunity for the general public to visit the farm and talk with representatives of agencies and organizations about Farming and Forestry Best Management Practices.

Stations include a stream bank restoration site, warm season grasses plantings, riparian forest plantings, trout release, quail habitat plantings, and birding (this is one of those magic Bells Lane birding sites, and there have been barn owls there for several years). There will be lambs, quail and a touch tank of aquatic macroinvertebrates, as well as kite flying to make the day fun for families.  

Headwaters Master Naturalists have been asked to participate as guides and hosts. Advanced EDU credit will also be available for those attending these stations. You can do a little of both!      

In order to spiff up the Ford Farm for this event, Forester Charlie Huppuch has asked for Master Naturalist assistance on Monday, March 10th, from 9-12, for tending the riparian trees, straightening and staking the tree tubes, and replanting trees from the VA Department of Forestry where they have not survived. Please contact Sandy at, or 540-234-9336 to volunteer for one or both days. Thanks!
Focus Project Progress!

The February 27 workday was perfectly scheduled between winter storms, enabling a diligent crew of Master Naturalists, Master Gardeners, and Wildlife Center volunteers to outfit the Wildlife Center of Virginia's hospital building with rain barrels, raised garden beds, the beginnings of a pond, and to work towards new signs. Pictures and more from Kate about this here. Information on the genesis of this Micro-Habitat Demonstration Garden here.

Come out tomorrow, Saturday, March 8, from 9 AM - noonish for sign work, nest box installations, mulch work, and more work on the pond. It's going to be a beautiful day to be outside. Lunch provided!

More workdays will be scheduled soon to install plants. It's not too late to get involved! Contact project coordinator Kate Guenther for the many ways you can help.

Don't forget to mark your calendar: 
Garden Project Ribbon-cutting Party is on Saturday, August 16!
More March Volunteer and Education Opportunities ...

Riparian planting workdays Roundup:
• Monday, March 10: Ford Farm with Charlie Huppuch  (see Poague Run Farm Day above)
• Saturday, March 15: Mossy Creek planting day with Seth Coffman
• Saturday, March 29: Along Big Run in Luray with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Benthic Monitoring Classes
March 16 and 26 @ Churchville Library. Darrell Schwalm of Friends of the Middle River will lead these classes towards becoming certified to perform benthic monitoring of our area streams. Learn how to inventory aquatic invertebrates to assess water quality.  Virginia Save Our Streams provides an online tutorial on benthic monitoring serving as "virtual training" and an excellent background for the classes. Contact Whit Morriss.

Headwaters Gathering
Wednesday, March 19, 5 - 7 PM @ North River Library.
Continuing Education program on identifying wildflowers with Mary Baldwin College biologist and fellow Master Naturalist Eric Jones, as well as an opportunity to award program certificates and pins. Come prepared by studying Eric's most excellent online resource Wildflowers of Augusta County, VA. Contact RoxAnna.

Invasive Removal
Tuesday, March 25, 10 AM - 2 PM @ Deep Run Ponds Natural Area Preserve. Annual garlic mustard removal day with the VA Native Plant Society. Come for a closer look at this local treasured landscape of sinkhole ponds, supporting unique ecosystems. Contact Chris Bowlen.

Starry Night Hikes
Friday, March 28, 8 PM @ JMU arboretum.
A week of activities focusing on reclaiming our night sky from light pollution includes an evening for everyone to be outside to enjoy the night. Help Chip Brown develop a night nature walk in the arboretum or just plan to attend.

Staunton's Lee High School Nature Trail plans are underway. Naturalists needed! Contact Darrell Schwalm.


The Headwaters Chapter's presentation to the Bridgewater Retirement Community about our basic training program has been rescheduled from March 3 to Monday, April 7 due to the recent winter storm. All members of the classes of 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 are invited! Contact RoxAnna.
Plight of the Monarchs ... Lately, every news source, nature blog and facebook page has been heralding concerns about this sentinel species. What can we do to help ensure its survival?

Betty and Bob Forrest volunteered to host a boxful of locally harvested common milkweed seeds in their refrigerator over the winter as a means of "vernalizing" them in preparation for spring planting and distributing at our area environmental events. Look for Headwaters Monarch educational displays at:
Your contributions to these efforts would be most welcome! Contact Sandy Greene.

What else can we do?
Anyone interested in creating a Chapter focus project around the plight of our imperiled Monarchs? See Sandy!
VMN State Program Notices ...

Invasive Species ALERT: Wavyleaf Basketgrass
Whenever or wherever you take a walk or hike on the wild side, in local, regional, or national parks & forests, be on the lookout for wavyleaf (Oplismenus hirtellus ssp. undulatifolius). Wavyleaf is a recent invasive plant introduction in Virginia. It carpets forest understory, outcompetes herbaceous plants, and suppresses seedlings of trees and shrubs. An effort is underway to survey for its presence in our state and we need your help.
Click on the image to find the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage Wavyleaf Grass fact sheet.
To Record Sightings: Smart phone app:                                           Online:
- Kevin Heffernan, Stewardship Biologist, DCR

Administrative Volunteer Help Needed!
Do you have written communication, financial management and /or website design skills you'd be willing to share? Our state program is seeking volunteers to work from their home computers to help on three different projects identified through last year's strategic planning process: Contact Alyicia Crall, VMN Program Coordinator
Citizen Science Association Launched
Inaugural members will have a unique opportunity to shape the way the organization works, and best of all, membership is free until March 15th!
Learn more about the association here:
    - David Mellor, VMN Citizen Science Coordinator
February Field Trips

RoxAnna led two recent trips for Headwaters Master Naturalists:
  • Getting acquainted with winter tree identification at the VA Department of Forestry Buffalo Gap work station with VDOF Senior Area Forester Patti Nylander. Read RoxAnna's account of this here.
  • Revisiting Mossy Creek after major stream restoration work last summer with Seth Coffman of Trout Unlimited. RoxAnna's report is here, including a Roanoke area TV news report offering a comprehensive overview of the project.
The Headwaters Projects Committee enjoyed an insider's look at Deep Run Ponds Natural Area Preserve near Grottoes with Natural Heritage Stewards Ryan Knopf and Wes Paulos thanks to committee member Chris Bowlen. See more here.

Wildflower Tournament: Saturday, May 10

Planning for this year's Shenandoah Mountain Wildflower Tournament is in full swing and there is still time to volunteer. What better way to engage the public in the the importance and beauty of the diversity of plant life in our region! As a hike host, you will walk along side plant experts eager to share their knowledge with you and our guests.

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!

Chapter Funding
Members: If you've not yet done so, please complete the dues survey!
The board of Headwaters Chapter is facing decisions on how to fund our ongoing programs beyond basic training. While we are considering several options, annual dues are one possibility and are already assessed in many other chapters. The board wants to consider the views of all members and we ask that you complete this short survey by March 31. It includes comment sections for your ideas and suggestions - we encourage your creative thoughts!     - Board President Tom Long

Headwaters Chapter Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, March 20, Noon- 2 PM

@ Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
517 Lee Hwy, Verona, on odd months only
All board members strongly urged to attend.
All members welcome!
Don't Forget to Keep Spreading the Word

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. 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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