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Sunday, April 22, 2018

4H Riparian Buffer Garden Cleanup for Earth Day


What better way to celebrate Earth Day (April 22) than a clean-up of the Riparian Demonstration Buffer Garden (otherwise known as the 4H Buffer Garden)?  A small, but stalwart group of BRFAL Master Naturalists and Franklin Co. Master Gardeners spent several hours on the 20th pruning, raking and removal deadfall from the five beds that make up the garden.  The Demonstration Buffer Garden, located at the Skelton 4H Center next to Smith Mt. Lake (SML) in Wirtz, VA, was designed by Leslie Santapal in 2005.  Trees and shrubs were placed in 2006, followed by native grasses and perennial flowers in 2007.  The purpose of the garden is to inspire SML homeowners to utilize buffer strategies to reduce run-off into the lake—to “slow and filter the flow” while providing food and habitat to wildlife.  Nearly twelve years later, the trees (river birch, lacebark elm, red bud, dogwood and magnolia), shrubs (viburnum, grey owl juniper and inkberry holly) and native grasses are thriving—so much so, they shade out the perennial flowers and need a haircut!
(Words and pix by Beth Pautler)
Beth & Paul breaking their backs

Nelda Looking happy

Jean making progress

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Buffer Landscape Effort Recognized in Annual VMN Accomplishments Snapshot

Below is the annual Snapshot summary of 2017 Accomplishments for Virginia Master Naturalists.
The noted achievements are something all Master Naturalists can be proud of, especially the folks from BRFAL that participate in the Buffer Landscape Program, called the Buffer Service Advisory Team in the Snapshot.  2017 was a good year for us!


Saturday, April 7, 2018

Some Great Apps For Naturalists and Naturalist Wanna Be's

During a recent training class a great link to a set of Apps that you can use to enhance your Naturalist skills came up.  Here's the link.  Now get out there and get involved!

https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/19-apps-that-will-turn-you-into-a-wilderness-expert


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Bluebirds Rule! (at least for one day)

Last Saturday was a good day if you are a bluebird!  That’s because the first learning event in a planned bi-quarterly series was held at Kathy and Brent Scott’s workshop with some 20 members of the BRFAL community, and the focus was learning about bluebirds and building birdhouses for the bluebirds.  And we’re not talking any old birdhouse, nooo…..these houses had special snake guards to prevent the climbing types (like blacksnakes) from getting up to the house, and special wire mesh critter guards to keep other predators (typically raccoons) from reaching in and grabbing up a handful of babies.  The houses all had ventilation slots and a fold-out side door to allow for fledgling monitoring as well.  Finally, mounting poles and hardware were supplied so that the houses could be set at the proper height and distance from forest cover to maximize potential bluebird usage.  With 15 bluebird houses made, everyone had productive, very fun and educating day! 


Special thanks go to chapter member Dick Hendrix for providing box designs and an informative lecture about bluebird habits and habitat and to chapter VP Wayne Barnes for setting up the event.  And finally, a very special thanks to chapter member Kathy Scott and to her husband Brent for acquiring all the needed materials and pre-cutting and pre-drilling the designs.  Very impressive!  Mine are up and ready for inhabitants!


Happy Birdhouse Owners!