Become a Chesapeake Steward!


Aligning with many things Master Naturalists hold dear, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is offering its first ever class in the valley to become a steward of the Chesapeake Bay.

VoiCeS (Volunteers as Chesapeake Stewards) classes will be held weekly for six evenings on Thursdays beginning on October 11 this fall in Verona. The course includes two field trips and a requirement to provide 40 hours of clean water volunteer service. Sound familiar? Depending on the project, many of these hours can also be used for HMN volunteer service credit. With this class, you’ll also be able to easily fulfill your yearly 8 hour CE requirement to be a certified Master Naturalist.

Here is the press release:

Shenandoah Valley Clean Water Stewardship Course Offered

VERONA –Registration is now open for a Shenandoah Valley clean water stewardship course offered by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF). The course provides in-depth classroom and field sessions on Valley environmental issues, transforming new volunteers into effective advocates for clean water in local rivers and streams, and downstream in the Chesapeake Bay.

VoiCeS (Volunteers as Chesapeake Stewards) classes will be held on Thursday evenings from Oct. 11 through Nov. 15 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Augusta County Government Center in Verona.  The six sessions feature speakers from CBF and other regional organizations. Course topics include:

  • The history of the Shenandoah Valley;
  • Farm conservation practices;
  • The Atlantic Coast Pipeline;
  • Landscaping to reduce runoff and beautify your property;
  • Trout habitat and restoration, and;
  • A panel discussion with elected leaders on how to be an effective clean water advocate.

Following the course, participants will be asked to perform a minimum 40 hours of clean water volunteer service. Successful graduates receive CBF’s designation as a “Chesapeake Steward.”  A $25 fee per individual ($40 per couple) will cover the costs of materials and field trips.

Registration is available online at For more information, contact Robert Jennings at or 484-888-2966.


“Participants learn from engaging and thought-provoking speakers about the Bay’s biology, how farmers are reducing runoff, about the critters that call the Shenandoah streams home and how to protect them. Attendees will leave knowing how their everyday actions can help restore the Bay and local waterways.”

More information and registration HERE. Registration closes on October 8, 2018.

Agenda is HERE. (also below)

Printable flyer to share is HERE.

Fall 2018 VoiCeS in the Valley 
October 11-November 15, 2018


• Session 1: October 11  Local Waterways and the Bay

1. Welcome, introductions and overview of VoiCeS program, Bay 101—Robert Jennings, Grassroots Field Specialist
2. Alliance for the Shenandoah—Kate Wofford, Executive Director
3. Friends of the Middle River—Joe McCue

• Session 2: October 18  The Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint

1. The Blueprint to Save the Bay—Peggy Sanner, CBF Virginia Staff Attorney
2. Local Efforts to comply with the Blueprint—Kelly Junco and Rebecca Stimson, City of Harrisonburg Stormwater Division
3. Impact of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Water Quality—Rick Webb, Chair of Compliance Surveillance Initiative, CSI

• Session 3: October 25  Down on the Farm…Slowing Erosion and Reducing Nutrient Runoff from Agricultural Lands

1. Clean Water on the Farm: Solutions for Agricultural Lands—Bobby Whitescarver, Owner of Whitescarver Natural Resources Management
2. Getting Money for Ag best management practices—Senator Emmett W. Hanger, Jr.
3. Bobby Drumheller—Bellvue Farm owner and recipient of Virginia Forage and Grassland Council’s Outstanding Forage Producer of the Year

• Session 4: November 1  Natural History, Bay Critters in the Valley

1. History of Shenandoah Valley and how the river influenced development of the region—Nancy Sorrells
2. Clean Streams for Trout Habitat and Restoration—Seth Coffman, Trout Unlimited – Shenandoah Headwaters Home Rivers Initiative Manager
3. Freshwater mussels and their role in stream health and Bay recovery—Brian Watson, DGIF (tentative)

• Session 5: November 8  The Homefront: Urban and Suburban Stormwater Solutions

1. Slowing Rain Before it Reaches the Drain—David Hirschman
2. “Bayscaping”—How to create beautiful habitat that reduces runoff—Robert Jennings
3. Virginia Conservation Assistance Program—Dale Chestnut, Shenandoah Valley, SWCD

• Session 6: November 15  Advocates for Life and Next Steps

1. State Legislative Process and Noteworthy Environmental Legislation—Delegate Tony Wilt, 26th district
2. Regional responses to improve water quality—Richard Baugh, Vice-Mayor, Harrisonburg
3. Your Voice Matters: Influencing Policy at the Local, State and Federal Level—Ann Jurczyk, CBF Virginia Director of Outreach and Advocacy
4. Discussion of volunteer projects, field trips, evaluations