Fall Field Trips

While the HMN Basic Training class was in full swing during its fall session, chapter members were given opportunities to join in on a wide variety of field trips. Thanks to Kate Guenther for her organizational skills that made this happen.

Here is a sampling of where we went in October:


Forestry Management at Historic McCormick Farm, October 29. Allen Baker, Cohort V, shown at left above, takes on the role of Water Chef in an activity led by Sandy Greene. The two cooked up a “soup” starting with fresh water then adding local ingredients in the way of some of the many types of pollutants that make their way into our waterways. Pouring the dirty water on a sponge offered a graphic demonstration on the function of riparian buffers and why they are so important. Allen assures us that “… the ‘pollutants’ we were using were safe stand-ins.” This was one of several activities available in the education boxes in the education shed at McCormick Farm which members can use when classes come to the farm.

Retired forester Charlie Huppuch, in the above photo on right, leads an interpretive talk of forestry and riparian buffers on the Shenandoah Valley Agricultural Research and Extension Center trail at McCormick Farm. He discussed autumn olive and Ailanthus and other invasives, and how he is trying to preserve this old-growth section of trees. Pictured left to right: Charlie Huppuch, and cohort trainees, Rachel Kreiger, Kim McCray, Janet James, Allen Baker, Barbara Phillips, and Shelley Baker.
Thanks to Deb Pugh, Cohort V, for the photos and Deb, Janet James and Allen Baker for reporting.

benthicmonitoring10-16-16-300Macroinvertebrate Benthic Stream Monitoring, October 16. Through Friends of the Middle River, HMNs help sample, identify and count aquatic insects, snails, worms and other small creatures living on the rocky bottoms of different sections of the Middle River. The data is used to help determine the water quality and overall health of the stream.

In the photo at left, Cohort V basic training class members Kathy McKenzie, Kim Atkins and Chris Shaw examine a netting from the Eastwood site.

carbonheroes-gh-10-15-16Carbon: The Unsung Nutrient for Soil and Water, October 15. Conservationist Bobby Whitescarver discussed soils, riparian buffers and native grasses on his farm in Swoope to illustrate important farm management concepts for healthy ecosystems. Learn more from Bobby’s blog: Getting More on the Ground.
Thanks to Ann Murray, Cohort II, for the photo and Ginny Hoffman, Cohort III, and Kate for input.

cordage-10-12-16-2-cropMake Rope Cordage Out of Local Wild Plants, October 12. Kate Guenther, Cohort I, led this workshop out of her home near Churchville to “work with and experiment with local plants that can be used for cord making—dogbane, yucca, cattail, burdock, greenbrier, black walnut, grape and milkweed.”

In the photo at left, Kate shows a plant from a wetland near her home to Janet James, Cohort III, and Cohort V trainees Sue Gier and Kim McCray.

bbctour2-1-af-300Black Bear Composting Facility Tour, October 6. Black Bear founder and Chief Composting Officer Eric Walter led the group through his commercial scale composting process in Crimora. His company was instrumental in the diversion of four tons of kitchen wastes through the HMN-supported Market Compost Drop-off Program this year. More HERE.
Photo credit Art Fovargue