Some Headwaters Master Naturalists news for you!
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The Numbers Are In!

2013 was a good year for our Chapter ...

40 members
2175 volunteer hours
24 certified members
4 members reaching a program milestone of 250 accumulated hours of volunteer service: CONGRATULATIONS and WAY TO GO! to:
Sandy Greene
Kate Guenther
RoxAnna Theiss
Penny Warren

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 the microhabitat demonstration garden at the Wildlife Center of Virginia (WCV) in Waynesboro.

We still need more volunteers for spring! Our next major whole group work day is set for Saturday, March 8, but there will undoubtedly be other workdays in March onward for teams to do smaller projects. 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
We are in the final month of designing and preparing budgets for approval by the WCV President. The next phase in January-February will be to start shopping and planning for installation. 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!

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!

Check out our website posting here for more about this project, including Kate's Powerpoint presentation shown at the annual meeting in November.
While we're focused on our Focus Project ... we need your ideas for our next chapter project!  Ideally this project would:
  • incorporate a variety of skills and interests among our members
  • be located either centrally or in our northern territory to balance this year's more southern project
  • meet our mission of "education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within our communities"
  • lend itself to partnering/ collaborating with other groups or sponsors
  • be fun!
Contact Project Committee Chair Sandy Greene,, with your ideas! Or fill out and submit a project proposal form.


New Project Approved for HMN

Vegetative Monitoring Project with the Shenandoah National Park (SNP) is the latest approved volunteering opportunity to accumulate hours towards re/certification.

"Participants will assist SNP Natural Resources staff with organizing and packaging inventories of collected lichens for archival herbarium storage. The park staff conducts monitoring activities in the field during several warm months of the year and volunteers may assist those efforts," according to member Bob Forrest's proposal for this project.

In this ongoing citizen science effort out of the SNP Headquarters, Division of Natural and Cultural Resources Office in Luray, volunteers work under the supervision of the Park Botanist to help: "Locate and identify lichen species. Build a reference herbarium of collected lichens. Monitor and document the diversity, distribution, abundance, and ecology of lichen populations in Shenandoah National Park (SNP). Lichens have recognized value and importance by indicating the presence and effects of pollutants as a measure of environmental health."

SNP staff tell us to "look for splashes of color on rocks, decaying wood and tree trunks. Shenandoah National Park is home to close to 360 species of lichen. Often overlooked, they are ubiquitous.

Lichens are actually the composite of two types of organisms, a fungus and algae, in a symbiotic relationship. While some lichens resemble liverworts or mosses, others take the form of dry crusts. Lichens are often the first colonist on exposed rock and contribute to the development of soil as they slowly grow."

Find the complete proposal and contact information on the VMN VMS site shortly if not there yet.

Water sampling volunteers needed 1 or 2 Friday mornings per month!

Friends of the Shenandoah River's ongoing water quality monitoring program is looking for relief volunteers for several sites in Rockingham and Augusta counties. Click on the map at left to get the full sized expandable Google map of sites needing volunteer help.
  • Red placemark sites are a priority need; a back up monitor is available but no primary collector.
  • Blue placemark sites need a replacement monitor. Sandy Greene will train you on these spots!
  • Green placemark sites need someone to fill in for just one of the twice monthly collections.
  • Yellow and purple placemarks are at sites looking for backup monitors.
The water sampling calendar for 2014 indicates the collection days when you would be needed.

Anyone interested in this project is invited to an informational Water Monitors breakfast on Monday, February 17 at the VA Dept of Game and Inland Fisheries office in Verona, hosted by Paul Bugas.

Contact Paul Bugas, or Sandy Greene, with your availability or for more information.

JMU LLI logoAdvanced Training Opportunities through JMU LLI, Spring 2014

These five upcoming JMU Lifelong Learning Institute classes have been approved for advanced training hours. You will find them on our VMN VMS calendar thanks to RoxAnna. Click on the titles for more information.

Environmental Chemistry with Richard Foust, JMU Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Wednesdays 9-11 am, February 5 - March 5, National College, Harrisonburg

Observing the Valley Night Sky with Shanil Virani, director of JMU's John C. Wells Planetarium and a faculty member in the JMU Department of Physics and Astronomy.
Mondays 9-11 am, February 10 - March 10, JMU Planetarium, Harrisonburg

Let's Wing It! with Linda Marchman, Master Gardener and entrepreneur. Through her business, Social Butterflies, she raises and sells butterflies for all occasions. 
Mondays 1-3 pm, April 21 - May 19, Blue Ridge Hall, Harrisonburg

Simply Sustainable: Creating an Edible and Ecological Garden for the Spring Season with Nate Miller, landscape architect, consultant, and writer.
Tuesdays 1-3 pm, April 22 - May 20, National College, Harrisonburg

Seeking Spring Flora with Nate Miller, landscape architect, consultant, and writer.
Thursdays 1-3 pm, April 24 - May 22, field trips to various locations in the valley and Shenandoah National Park.
More Advanced Training opportunities are available this year through a newly announced series of monthly one hour state sponsored webinars. If you can't catch them live, they will become available on the state Virginia Master Naturalist's website.

The first webinar of the series is this Tuesday, January 7, from 12:00-1:00 pm. Dr. Denny Casey, Director of Education and Public Programs at the Virginia Museum of Natural History, will treat us to "An Evening at the Virginia Museum of Natural History."

To view the webinar live, log into Adobe Connect within 15 minutes of its scheduled start time.
The above Advanced Training webinar series is an early initiative resulting from the past year of strategic planning and needs assessment conducted by state program coordinator Alycia Crall. To catch up on this activity and participate in the process:
Couldn't make The Geology Symposium on December 19? See what you missed, thanks to Tom Long: When Continents Collide – Rocks Get Messed Up: Rodinia, Pangaea, and the rise of the Appalachian Mountains


Get to know our neighbor chapters!

Learn something about our neighboring active Virginia Master Naturalist chapters through their websites and facebook pages. Click on their names below.

Rivanna Chapter is based in Charlottesville and Albemarle County.
Old Rag Master Naturalists serve Madison, Rappahannock, Culpeper, Orange, and Fauquier Counties. They also maintain an open group on facebook found here.
Shenandoah Chapter covers Clarke, Warren, Page, Shenandoah, and Frederick Counties. Like their facebook page here.
Alleghany Highlands Chapter serves Alleghany, Bath, and Highland Counties.
Rockbridge Master Naturalists are in Rockbridge County.
Central Virginia Master Naturalists cover Lynchburg and Amherst, Bedford, Campbell, and Appomattox Counties.

A Sincere Thank You to Outgoing Board Members from 2011-2013:

President and Historian: Sophia Cliffe,
transitioning to Past President and Host Committee co-chair

Vice President: Don Plants

Secretary and acting Outreach Committee Chair (and acting President for one month last fall!): Kate Guenther

Treasurer: Barb Frew

Program Committee Chair: Penny Warren

We are fortunate to have RoxAnna Theiss continuing in her role of Training Committee Chair, Sandy Greene remaining as Project Committee Chair, and Paul Bugas as Chapter Advisor, lending continuity as the board transitions.

Next Board Meeting:

       Thursday, January 16, 12:00 noon
        Paul Bugas's Office
        Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF)
        517 Lee Hwy, Verona

Please come ... all members welcome!

For 2014, board meetings will be alternating venues between the DGIF office in Verona and the North River Library in Bridgewater.


Save the Dates!

  • Saturday, March 8, 2014: Micro-Habitat Demo Garden Chapter Focus Project work day to install plants, infrastructures, art, water feature, and signs. Rain date is Saturday, March 15.
  • 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.
Did you notice our newsletter's name change? Seems our mostly monthly news digest's original name conflicted with that of one of our partner organizations. The Headwaters Soil & Water Conservation District publishes an annual Headwaters Headlines. Check out their latest edition here.  
Copyright © 2014 Headwaters Master Naturalists, All rights reserved.

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