VMN Annual Report Response for 2019, Fairfax Chapter

Our parent organization, Virginia Master Naturalists, has created an infographic of our chapter’s work from the annual report posted earlier.

Service opportunity to do from home: Edit captions for VMN continuing education webinars

VMN HQ is looking for volunteers willing to do a very tedious, at-home computer task of editing the captions for VMN Continuing Education webinar videos. If this fits your skills and interest, see below for details. Volunteers chosen to assist with this project will be able to report their hours to the VMN Statewide Administration project. Cheers,  Michelle

Are you looking for a VMN volunteer opportunity you can do from home? This is a project that I’ve been trying to figure out how to do for a long time, and I think I finally have a way, with your help.

As you know, we have many years’ worth of recorded videos from our Continuing Education Webinar Series. Accessibility best practices for videos include having captions available for people who are deaf or otherwise unable to hear the audio well. The video software we use from Virginia Tech does do automatic captions, but they are done from computer speech recognition and are full of errors. Sometimes the errors are so bad that the text is nonsensical!  

What You’ll Do:

We are seeking volunteers to edit the captions for our recorded Continuing Education webinar videos. For each video, I have an unedited captions file that I will send as a starting point. I will also send you a link for streaming the recorded video. You will be asked to:

  1. Open the captions file in a text editing program such as TextEdit (on the Mac) or Notepad (on a PC). 
  2. Start playing the video using the link I provide to you.
  3. Listen to the video and follow along with the captions. When you see an error in the caption text, pause the video, edit the text, and then start the video again. Be sure to hit save on your captions file periodically.
  4. Follow some basic guidelines and conventions for captioning. I will send those out to the people who volunteer for this project.
  5. Work on the project whenever you want. You do not have to do the whole video in one sitting. The videos are generally about 1 hour, and you’ll find that it takes at least 2 to 4 hours to complete the caption editing because of all the stopping and starting. 
  6. When you’ve completed all the caption editing, save the file in a particular format (I’ll provide more directions on that) and then email the file to me.
  7. Complete the captioning for your video by approximately April 30. If you need longer, that’s OK, too. That is a somewhat arbitrary deadline.
  8. Report your volunteer time to the “VMN Statewide Administration” project on the VMS.

What You’ll Need:

  1. Access to a computer with a plain text editing program such as TextEdit or Notepad. Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and other word processing software are not what you want for this purpose.
  2. Access to an internet connection that allows you to stream video. I don’t have a practical way to download the videos and send the files to you, so you will need to be able to watch them online.
  3. Lots of attention to detail and an incredibly high tolerance for very tedious jobs!

To Volunteer:

Please contact Michelle Prysby by March 31. I will send out the assignments shortly after that date. I’ll just assign a video to you based on what is available. If we have more volunteers than videos, I will prioritize volunteers who have physical disabilities or injuries that prevent them from doing more physical volunteer work and after that I’ll just do first-come, first-chosen. Please only volunteer if you feel comfortable finding and using the text editor on your computer and feel like you have the necessary attention to detail that this project requires.

This is a great opportunity for volunteers who may need an at-home project, who really like our Continuing Education webinars, who don’t mind tedious tasks, and who have a good eye for details!

Virginia Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, VMN CE Webinar, Feb. 28th

Webinar Highlights:

  • tick ecology
  • tick species you may encounter in Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic
  • how to identify these ticks
  • illnesses and conditions associated with each species
  • methods of tick control and their varying success
  • ways to protect yourself from tick bites, and what to do in the event you do get bit.

Please come prepared with any and all tick questions, and the presenter will do her best to answer them.


Alexis White is a senior PhD candidate in the Ecological Sciences PhD program at Old Dominion University, working in Professor Holly Gaff’s lab. Lexi is part of the ODU Tick Research Team; a joint venture between Professors Gaff and Hynes who take a multidisciplinary approach to understanding ticks and tick-borne pathogens in Virginia. She completed her Bachelor’s in Wildlife Biology at Unity College in Maine. Her dissertation focuses on exploring local, finite time control of ticks using both mechanical and biological means.

Webinar Details

When: Thursday, 28 February 2019, 12 pm
Meeting Number: 557-678-365
Link to join: Join Webinar
(This link will connect you to the video feed, but you will need to connect your audio separately to hear the speaker. Zoom will prompt you to do that once you have connected the video feed. For technical help visit the Zoom Support Center.)

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