Nothing is better than gathering a hundred Master Naturalists for a weekend of field trips, skill building, and celebrating the biological diversity of the Commonwealth. On September 7-9, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, the Virginia Master Naturalists held their annual conference and training. Six members of the Headwaters Chapter participated in at least part of the three day program that offered over 15 hours of continuing education. We enjoyed sessions on building interpretation skills, planning nature walks, and programs on trash in Virginia, bees, trees, and bats.
Other highlights included:
Program and field trip highlighting research and citizen science projects to document vernal pools in Virginia hosted by Anne Wright (Virginia Commonwealth University) and Susan Watson (Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries).
A session that provided a hundred “Green Thumb Gadgets and Apps, Websites, and Tech Tricks” from the creator/owner of plantsmaps.com, Bill Blevins. The Headwaters Chapter used Plantsmap to create tree tags for the Cooks Creek Arboretum as the Basic Training Class project in 2015 (www.plantsmap.com/organizations/23252/collections/23253).
The keynote presentation at Saturday lunch included previewing “Hometown Habitat,” a documentary film about the growing movement to create habitat in yards and community spaces (themeadowproject.com/hometown-habitat/). Following the film, there was a panel discussion with Virginia Witmer (www.plantvirginianatives.org), Gem Bingol (www.pecva.org) , and Brent Husinger (www.brentsnativeplantings.com) who fielded questions from the audience on promoting native planting in Virginia.
Michelle Prysby (Coordinator of the Virginia Master Naturalist) officially announced that the location of the 2019 VMN Annual Conference and Training will be held at Massanetta Springs Camp and Conference Center outside of Harrisonburg. If you’d like to be a part of the planning and organizing committee, contact Chip Brown (cbrown2001 [at] gmail.com) and/or attend the October 10 informational meeting (see announcement in our October newsletter).
– Chip Brown, Cohort II, Vice President, September 2018
Top photo provided by Chip shows HMN state conference attendees (L to R) Chris Bowlen, Chip (kneeling), Pam Gray, Lincoln Gray, Kathy McKenzie, and Elizabeth Pass, in front of the HMN display board.