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A regional request for volunteer help with a study on the Bradford pear 

Question 1: What is the most recent invasive tree added to Director of Conservation & Recreation’s invasive plant list?
Answer: Callery Pear, aka, Bradford Pear: Pyrus calleryana Decne

Question 2: What can we do about it?
Answer: Support a regional research project by collecting leaf samples.

Callery pear is one of the most rapidly-spreading invasive plants in the eastern U.S. This plant stems from cultivars of ornamental pears, most commonly the Bradford pear. Callery pear can have long thorns and grows singly or in thick patches in old fields, roadsides, or forested areas.

The Callery pear population genetics study, under the direction of Dr. David Coyle (Clemson) and D. Hadziabdich-Guerry (University of Tennessee), is determined to better understand the genetics of this cultivar to inform future management tactics. To this end, foliar samples are needed from Virginia. The protocol is simple and the only cost is time.

Detailed information and how to send the samples is in the attached pdf, which can also be found on the study’s website.

Summary of the basics

  • Find one or more patches of “wild” callery pears of at least 10 individuals (different sample/patches locations should be at least 15 miles apart).
  • From each individual tree (10 trees total/site), collect 10 leaves. (Ten trees in a patch are required.)
  • Put all 10 leaves from each tree into its own envelope with the GPS location noted and if the tree is thorny or not.
  • Put newspaper in between the leaves – this helps them dry out and ensures they don’t mold on the way to UT.
  • Therefore, each sampling site would have 10 envelopes (1 per tree) to send in together.
  • Envelopes can be FedEx’ed to UT (for free!) Details given in information sheet attached.

Questions?  Contact Dr. David Coyle: dcoyle@clemson.edu

Call for entries: Virginia Master Naturalist Photo Contest

Were you taking your family on a bluebell walk and took a perfect photo of light filtering through the tree canopy? Were you documenting a citizen science project and snapped a great blue heron as it took off from the shoreline? We want your photos!

The  Virginia Master Naturalist program is sponsoring a statewide photo contest. Each chapter may submit one photo in one of five categories:

Virginia Native Wildlife (Category Code: Wildlife)

Virginia Native Plant and Fungi World (Category Code: Plant)

Virginia Native Landscapes (Category Code: Landscape)

Virginia Native Macro and Night Photography (Category Code: M&N)

Virginia Master Naturalists in Action (Category Code: VMN)

Simply upload your photos to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #FMNphotos19.  In the alternative, photos may be emailed to vmnfairfax@gmail.com.  Please include the category for which you are submitting the photo and your name in the photo identification.

Our Fairfax Master Naturalist (FMN) chapter will accept entries from our members in good standing until 11:59 pm on Friday, 5 July. Winners will be notified by Friday, 19 July. The photographers of the four winning entries must forward their entries to the statewide competition by 11:59 pm on Friday, 9 August. Participants agree that all images submitted may be used by the FMN program for our website, newsletter, social media and other promotional purposes. Photographers will receive a photo credit.  See the 2018 VMN winners here.

Photo Editing
Permitted modifications:

  • Cropping, resizing, and rotating photo
  • Red-eye removal
  • Corrective functions to improve the natural appearance of the image, such as white balance, brightness, contrast, levels, color balance, saturation, sharpening, noise reduction

     Modifications not permitted:

  • Adding, removing, or replacing elements
  • Artistic filters
  • Added borders or frames

Photo sizing: All photographs must be high resolution digital JPEGs and winning images will be sized for optimum viewing in a PowerPoint presentation.

See the complete rules here.

For questions, contact us at vmnfairfax@gmail.com with the subject line: FMN Photo Contest

 

Virginia Master Naturalist Statewide Conference and Volunteer Training

The 2019 conference will be Friday, September 20-Sunday, September 22.  Pre-conference field trips and activities will take place during the day on Friday, and the main event will run Friday evening through Sunday mid-day.

In 2019, the VMN-Headwaters Chapter welcomes VMN volunteers from across Virginia to the Shenandoah Valley. The event will be based at the Massanetta Springs Camp & Conference Center, five miles from downtown Harrisonburg.  From there, it is a short trip to terrific field trip sites, including Shenandoah National Park, George Washington National Forest, several Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Natural Area Preserves, the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, and more.

Registration Dates and Types

Early Registration will open in mid-July and Regular Registration will open in mid-August, specific dates TBA.

Two registration types in 2019:

  • Full Conference – $185 during Early Registration, or $200 during Regular Registration
  • Saturday Training Only (price includes Saturday lunch) – $75 during Early Registration, or $85 during Regular Registration

Information on the agenda and lodging

Virginia Master Naturalist Webinar: Sea Level Rise in Virginia

Sea level is rising faster in Virginia than along the rest of the Atlantic coast. Rising water levels bring flooding, increased erosion and shifts in plant and animal communities. In this webinar, we will explore the causes of sea level rise and how sea level rise is projected to change into the future. We will look at some of the impacts to the human and natural world and then discuss the possibilities and limitations of different adaptations.

Dr. Molly Mitchell is a researcher in the Center for Coastal Resources Management, at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. She has spent the past 18 years studying marsh ecology, change, and restoration practices in the Chesapeake Bay. She is actively engaged in both research and advisory efforts to help the state and localities to manage natural resources in the Bay and understand the impacts of different decision-making pathways. Her recent research focuses particularly on sea level trends and variability and their impact on natural systems.

When: Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 12:00 pm

Meeting Number: 279-703-359

Link to Join: Join Webinar

Link for recordings of this and past webinars:

VMN Continuing Education Webinar page

Photo: Dr. Mitchell measures water elevation in a living shoreline.

Photo by CCRM.

2018 in review for Fairfax Master Naturalists

Our year in numbers, courtesy of Michelle Prysby, Director, Virginia Master Naturalist Program

Heres’s the flyer

2018 infographic of FMN accomplishments

VMN CE Webinar: Maple syrup as a forest product, Mar. 28th

Virginia Master Naturalists Continuing Education Webinar

Thursday, 28 March 2019, 12:00 pm
Meeting Number: 199-915-948
Link to join: Join Webinar

It’s possible to collect sap sustainably from any species of maple, sap that can be processed into a valuable syrup.  In many parts of Virginia, this can prove to be a viable cottage industry (or at least an interesting demonstration project).  The VMN-High Knob Chapter has overseen a demo “sugar bush” on the Powell River Project Research & Education Center in Wise County for the last four winters.  Chris Allgyer and Phil Meeks will discuss the process for collecting sap and making syrup, as well as its potential as an off-season forest product.  Other species of trees that can yield a usable syrup will also be discussed.

Presenters:

Phil Meeks is the Extension Agent for Agriculture & Natural Resources in Wise County and is the chapter advisor for the High Knob Chapter of VMN.

Chris Allgyer is President of the VMN High Knob Chapter. He recently retired from Mountain Empire Community College where he taught mathematics for 46 years.

Link for recordings of this and past webinars: VMN Continuing Education page.

If you have specific technical questions, try the Zoom Support Center.

Send us your success stories

Have you been working on a service project that has a goal?

Have you accomplished the goal or made progress toward achieving it?

Have you been working in concert with others?

Can you recount the accomplishments of your team?

Can you include measures?

Nope, you don’t need to have solved world hunger or addressed climate change all by yourself. Some successes are simply incremental steps toward outcomes that benefit the environment in Fairfax County and northern Virginia.

Every year, FMN reports stories of success to Virginia Master Naturalists. We’d like to share yours.

Whenever you are ready, please compose up to 500 words that relay (in whichever order best suits your story):

  • The name of your project and the service code
  • Its purpose, goals, and current objectives
  • Who’s working on the project–they don’t all have to be FMNers
  • What have you accomplished to date?
  • How do you measure those accomplishments beyond hours spent (e.g., if you planted a pollinator garden, what did it attract over what period of time that’s different from what used to visit that area? In addition to creatures that fly or crawl, did you attract human visitors? helpers? funding to continue? How many? How much?)
  • How much help do you need from chapter members?
  • What might we learn?
  • Why is this activity worth the investment of time?
  • How does it bring you pleasure? Would we have fun, too?

Please send the story and 2-3 photos with captions to vmnfairfax@gmail.com. A member of the FMN Communications team will be in touch within a few days, and your story will be posted to this site.

Yes, the time you spend on the story counts toward your service hours.

Questions? Again, vmnfairfax@gmail.com

Deadline for 2019 Mason Bee Monitoring Project: Feb 11

Volunteers are being sought across all of Virginia to join in monitoring efforts of the declining native blue orchard mason bee, during March to May 2019. Fill out the interest form to be considered for the 2019 Monitoring Project, and feel free to share with friends, fellow VMNs, and neighbors:  https://goo.gl/forms/cg4DTkALU4YpuYd22

If you are interested and your chapter has not yet approved a project for this, download the Mason Bee 2019 Project Proposal here and submit it to your chapter’s Project Chair.

You can also find this, along with all the information you need to know about the project, on the VMN state website on the project’s webpage: http://www.virginiamasternaturalist.org/mason-bee-research.html 

If you have any questions, please contact

Katie LeCroy at masonbeemonitoring@gmail.com

2018 Annual Report from Fairfax Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalists

Each year, our chapter submits a record of what our members have accomplished to the Virginia Master Naturalists home office in Charlottesville, VA. This year, we recorded 12,569 hours across 137  citizen science, education, and stewardship service projects, in addition to chapter administration.

As Past President Michael Reinemer recounts, numbers alone convey neither the dedication of our volunteers nor the outcomes of their work. Those results of these hours, so generously given, include bird counts and surveys, maintenance of bluebird houses and trails; installation and monitoring of nest structures for Purple Martins; stream monitoring; outreach to school children; education on native plants; citizen science efforts to collect data on wildlife populations, native plants, pollinators, and other natural resources; work with partners such as Earth Sangha, Northern Virginia Soil and Water, Fairfax County Parks; and many more.

The report itself is available in its entirety.

2019 Virginia Environmental Education Conference February 7-9, 2019

Virginia Association of Environmental Education (VAEE) has extended the earlybird registration for the 2019 Virginia Environmental Education Annual Conference, at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, VA

Enjoy a gathering full of professional development, networking opportunities, learning, and field experiences that will expand your knowledge of Environmental Education efforts and resources in the Commonwealth and help you in your VMN endeavors. 

This year’s conference will feature many exciting presentations, keynote speakers, and field trips, including the annual member meeting for the Virginia Association for Environmental Education. 

Other events include various networking opportunities and the annual VAEE Social and Silent Auction.

Information about this year’s conference and registration can be found on the conference webpage

Early-bird registration is extended until January 11, 2019. Registration ends February 4, 2019.

For general registration questions, contact: Bruce Young at bkyoungee@gmail.com