Got an Idea for a New Project?

Tree planting along the Marl Creek Trail at McCormick Farm with Forester Charlie Huppach, February 2020. This activity falls in our “Tree Planting and Maintenance” project. Photo by Sandy Greene.

Nothing’s changed (well except for the conversion to Better Impact), so this is mainly for newer HMN members.

The procedure for proposing a new project is really pretty simple. Prior to submitting a new project proposal, the member should refer to the VMN Volunteer Policy Handbook (“Volunteer Service Requirements,” pages 12-17). Reviewing the handbook will assist the member in determining whether the project is appropriate.

From the Handbook:
Some will want volunteer opportunities to be presented to them, while others will see a need and want to design their own project. Virginia Master Naturalist trainees should be encouraged to design volunteer projects that are interesting to them and that capitalize on their individual talents. Volunteer service must be dedicated to the beneficial management of the natural resources and natural areas within their communities, and the service must be for public benefit, not personal gain. When designing new projects, volunteers are encouraged to partner with other local organizations and/or state sponsoring agencies, particularly for projects that involve a high amount of risk, such as projects with youth.

VMN volunteers should record chapter-approved service hours in the following areas:

  • Education and Outreach Activities. This area indicates activities or programs in which the VMN educates the public and/or fellow VMNs. …
  • Citizen Science Activities. This area indicates service involving data collection, monitoring, biological inventories, and other research-oriented activities.
  • Stewardship Activities. This area indicates hands-on volunteer activities intended to improve habitat and other natural resources, or, in some cases, to improve the ability of the public to access these resources.

Time spent in the preparation and management of an approved project can be counted as Volunteer Service hours [after a Project Proposal Form has been submitted and approved].

Note that many activities are already covered by existing Chapter projects/activities. Be sure to check the list on the HMN volunteer management system website, Better Impact (OPPORTUNITIES-> Opportunity List) of all our currently approved activities to see if what you have in mind might fall in with one of these.

After assuring that the project is appropriate, you should submit a Project Proposal Form to our Chapter’s Projects Committee Chair (currently Dave Forrer: The Project Proposal Form can be found on our Better Impact site, under Files-> Activities/Projects in the lower right-hand corner of the home page. 

Notice that on the Project Proposal Form there is a space to fill in for Project Chair (Who from the chapter is the contact person and organizer for this project?).” This is really important. Any project/activity’s viability is dependent on a Chapter member who will participate in the project, and ideally share it and promote it among the Chapter members. Generally, if a project/activity has had no participation from Chapter members in two years, it will get “inactivated” from our list.

After receiving a new Project Proposal, the Projects Committee will vote on whether to approve the project.  And that’s it. If you have any questions regarding new projects, please don’t hesitate to contact Dave Forrer or any of the other Projects Committee members (Sandy Greene, Adrie Voors, Peggy Plass, Cheryl Shull, Chip Brown).

– Dave Forrer, Volunteer Service Projects Committee Chair, August 2021