Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Virginia Master Naturalist Laurels - Fall 2019

Kathy S with future master naturalists!

Check out VMN members from around the state being recognized for contributions to the VMN mission. Especially note the third recognition in the article linked below, BRFAL’s own ECO Camp and its director, Kathy Scott! Kathy and this year’s 18-member team are being recognized for ECO Camp, a multi-day nature experience for Franklin County and Smith Mountain Lake area children and their parents. 

This July’s camp featured six Saturday morning sessions across 3 weeks including the diverse topics of digital photography of nature, an introduction to the sounds made by area birds, creek health, how animals use their senses, the creatures that lurk under those rocks in the stream, and the monarch butterfly life cycle and miraculous migration.
Photographing Nature with Rich and Meg
Eco Camp takes place at Booker T. Washington National Monument (BTWNM) which co-sponsors the camp each year. Kathy, an indefatigable and enthusiastic BRFAL member, led the project for the fifth year.  Eighteen chapter members helped things flow smoothly from conception of the program, publicity in newspapers and at local libraries, registration, teaching the sessions, and ensuring the safety and happiness of the participants. Many BRFAL members participated on several weekends and in several different capacities.  

This year’s Eco-Camp set a record by providing a creative, fun, hands-on learning experience for 58 kids and 21 adults. Congratulations, Kathy and all, on this well deserved recognition!
Get ready to volunteer for next year!

Monday, October 28, 2019

2019 Virginia Citizens for Water Quality Summit

Geoff, Connie and Charlotte with DIY monitoring equipment

The 2019 Virginia Citizens for Water Quality Summit (VCWQ) was held October 19, at Randolph Macon College in Ashland, VA. BRFAL was represented by Save our Stream (SOS) monitors Connie Hylton, Geoff Orth and Charlotte Hubbard. Carolyn Thomas and Bob Polad also attended as it related to their work monitoring water quality in Smith Mountain and Philpott Lakes.

Morning presentations included advances in monitoring equipment, the value of citizen science to Virginia DEQ, details on a couple of successful Chesapeake Bay Watershed initiatives and how to diversify funding for water quality work.

I was impressed to learn that the Save Our Streams program is 100 % grant funded! James Beckley of the Virginia DEQ was an active presenter during the morning and presented two of the afternoon concurrent sessions: “Updated Virginia Bacteria Criteria” and “DIY Monitoring Equipment.” There were multiple contributors from the Izaak Walton League who added a great deal of information and professional perspective. 

Check out the whole agenda and the presentation PowerPoints on the VCWQ Meetings page

Monday, October 14, 2019

Well deserved recognition

Two longstanding members of BRFAL were recognized at the August 25 summer picnic. Guy Buford and Don Kelso were designated, by action of the Board, as the first lifetime members of BRFAL. Both Guy and Don were essential to the formation of the chapter, ensuring the necessary structure, education and continuing development led to the group meeting all requirements of Virginia Master Naturalist Program. Since then Guy and Don continue to contribute greatly to BRFAL’s success.

Thank you for your service to Virginia Master Naturalists, BRFAL and our community!
Guy Buford, Lifetime BRFAL Member

Monday, October 7, 2019

Salamanders, Snakes, and Lizards, Oh My! Part 2

Queen Snake
Northern Ring neck Snake
Here are more specifics and photos from the September 28, 2019, Bio Blitz conducted by the Southwestern Piedmont Chapter. Four BRFAL members participated as well: Terry Lovell, Beth and Paul Pautler, and Shearer Rumsey. To find out more, check out the previous article.

Total Number of Animals Caught: 47
Northern Dusky – 17           Seal Salamander – 11
Mud Salamander – 1           2-lined Salamander – 3
Newt – 1                              Green Frog – 1
Pickerel Frog – 2                 Spring Peeper – 2
Fence Lizard – 1                 Queen Snake -1
Ring-neck Snake -1            Northern Water Snake -1
Painted Turtles – 3              Snapping Turtles -2

Hunting salamanders
Eft stage of the Red Spotted Newt
Ferocious crawdad