In Newport News
The day before registration closed for the Virginia Master Naturalist 6th Annual Statewide Volunteer Conference and Training in Newport News, RoxAnna decided to make the commitment and registered successfully for the Basic Training Symposium, Annual Reports/Certification Spreadsheets Help and the Modeling for Citizen Science sessions scheduled for Saturday, September 27th. The field trips and the local accommodations were full but she found a sweet B&B in Hampton about 10 miles away as the crow flies.
We saw the e-mail call come through for a tabling display and weren’t sure we should attempt it but Malcolm lent us a very fine display board (we had used it for the 2013-14 Class Spring Skills Project at Riverfest) and knowing we had the expertise of Janet James from that same Cohort, we decided to “go for it.” Janet accepted the challenge to earn volunteer administrative hours and used her training in Marketing to create bold and colorful posters we then Velcro-ed to the display board.
While RoxAnna worked on the center panel that would be dedicated to Headwaters history with related sections on Training and Serving, Janet soloed on the panel depicting our wildly successful 2014 Focus project with the Wildlife Center of Virginia. She used bold blues, oranges and yellows to create an eye-popping poster that would tie into previously created posters for future use. RoxAnna and Janet spent several hours on the details of a third panel that would highlight the Riverfest Class Skills Project. Janet then used the same bold colors to tie all three panels together. Again at the last minute, RoxAnna made a display sized HMN knit hat and t-shirt to fill in the center panel along with buttons created by The Arc of Harrisonburg and Rockingham, Inc. for our chapter. If time had allowed she would have used more of the orange and blue in the center panel but . . . that will be for the next opportunity for display. Also for continued development will be the digital picture frame added to our table for a rolling display of several Headwaters photos in addition to the ones one the display board.
The preparation was a fantastic teamwork experience and the Headwaters display table got a great deal of attention and many flattering remarks at the Conference. RoxAnna made some valuable connections throughout the weekend that she recorded in the complimentary spiral notebook provided to all participants. Opportunities recorded included: inter-chapter vernal pools project possibilities, citizen science modeling, basic training ideas, and instructions for annual reporting including the re-certification spreadsheet.
The Saturday night dinner keynote speaker was author, lecturer, photographer, and radio broadcaster Arthur V. Evans D.Sc. The lecture featured plenty of colorful images and engaging anecdotes of beetles from not only Virginia, but also across North America and around the world. Dwayne Martin would have loved it!
The venue at the Virginia Living Museum was amazing and the Historic Rivers and Peninsula hosting chapters did an outstanding job of making all 225 of us welcome and keeping us engaged while providing a schedule of excellent training opportunities and field trips. They set a high bar for future conferences that portends exciting and engaging events: something to which we may all look forward.
– RoxAnna Theiss, September 2014