Sunday, September 27, 2015

Medical Concerns with Certain Spiders

It's good t be wary and educated to what we see.   This is a good article from Virginia Tech. I think I know something until I reread and reeducate myself to many facts.
Here is her picture as I waited with patience. She must be hungry!  I think she is a Wolf Spider.  I knew she was large by those legs that kept poking out. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Spider in the Victorian Birdhouse

She is hiding in the daylight inside with her legs sticking out.  The smaller spider in the web is her prey which has been caught and she is waiting for lunch or dinner now.  I will keep you updated as she decides to make an appearance if  I can catch her before she out and about.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I think I have a black widow living on my front porch, on my green marble coffee table, inside a pretty green Victorian birdhouse.  I have a link to better identify her in her well spun web, with six of the eight legs exposed and a rounded black beaded body.  Tomorrow's daylight will help solve the mystery.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Changing Colors and Fall with a Path of Painted Beauty

Hikes are a great way to commune with nature, watch for seasonal change and take a few pictures.  Here is some information on the changes we will see as fall approaches.  Tinker Creek in Roanoke County and trails in Booker T. Washington National Park in Franklin County are just two of my personal favorites.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Not a Monarch caterpillar !!
Meg  Brager 9/9/15
Out in my garden a few weeks  ago  I spotted about 15 of these guys devouring my milkweed.  I got excited thinking they were monarchs, but…  They are Milkweed Tiger moth caterpillars, sometimes called Milkweed Tussock Moths.   They do mirror the coloring of the monarch butterfly, orange and black, and they are poisonous to predators thanks to the milkweed.  But they mature into a moth, not a monarch.  They seem to have similar voracious appetites, though, they plowed through my milkweed in short order.  At least something is benefiting from it, as I have not spotted one Monarch.  But there is always next year!

Learn more at:

Information about the BRFAL Chapter of VMN

We wanted to take a moment to share our contact information with you if you have any questions or are interesting in attending our next basic training to become a Virginia Master Naturalist:

Phone: (540) 365-4613 email: or snail mail to: P.O. Box 42 Wirtz VA 24184

Monday, August 31, 2015

Blitz to Hungry Mother

Meg and I blitzed down and back to Hungry Mother State Park today, but why?  

Well we had never been to this park before and we heard a lot of good things about it.  But that's not why we went. We went because our VMN Regional Conference is going to be there and Meg and Dick LeRoy will be giving a training session on how to plan a large event for Master Naturalists. They will use our WaterWise event as a model and as part of the training they will conduct a mock buffer landscape visit at the lakeside. 

So we walked around a bit and found a likely spot. 

While walking & driving around I managed to snap a few pix at HM. Hope you like them.

Monday, August 17, 2015

BRFAL Picnic Festivities

Yesterday at about 4:00 pm about 20 BRFALers, spouses and children convened at the Franklin County Recreation Park for our annual picnic.  Kathy Scott & my better half, Meg Brager organized the event and did a fine job. The pavilion was decorated with crepe paper and balloons and the table covered with table cloths and festooned with wildflowers.  Kathy brought various tree branches for an impromptu tree identification contest which was won by Todd Fredricksons son Neil shaming us old Master Naturalists.

But of course it wouldn't be a picnic without some good grub.  In addition to the provided hamburgers, veggie burgers and hot dogs, our members brought a variety of tasty side dishes.  I don't think anyone went home hungry.  I know I sure didn't. 

Even better than the food was the evident camaraderie shared by the likeminded folks that comprise the BRFAL chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists and their families.  I think you can see it in the faces In the pictures below.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Virginia Master Naturalist program welcomes new sponsoring agency

Virginia Master Naturalist program welcomes new sponsoring agency

BLACKSBURG, Va., Aug. 3, 2015 – The Virginia Master Naturalist program — a statewide volunteer training and service program providing education, outreach, and service to better manage natural resources and natural areas in Virginia — welcomes the Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s Center for Coastal Resources Management as its newest sponsoring agency.

Based in Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment, the Virginia Master Naturalist program started in 2005 with financial support from five sponsoring agencies: Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Virginia Museum of Natural History, and the state departments of Conservation and Recreation, Game and Inland Fisheries, and Forestry. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality was added as a sponsoring agency in 2010. Program volunteers actively were engaged in that department’s Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Program, a collaboration that has strengthened over time.

“We are excited to have the Center for Coastal Resources Management join our growing network of sponsoring agencies and partnering organizations around the state,” said Alycia Crall, statewide coordinator for the Virginia Master Naturalist program. “With a rapidly growing program, we continue to look for ways to diversify our funding support. The center’s contribution will further support that growth and advance the mission of our program, as well as that of the center throughout the commonwealth.”

The Center for Coastal Resources Management develops and supports integrated and adaptive management of coastal zone resources. To fulfill this mission, the center undertakes research, provides advisory service, and conducts outreach education, including Master Naturalist training courses for coastal and estuarine ecology and management in collaboration with other Virginia Institute of Marine Science departments.

“Supporting the Virginia Master Naturalist program is a logical extension of our outreach efforts,” added Center Director Carl Hershner Jr. “There is a growing need for educated citizens to support various local and state government initiatives aimed at restoring the Chesapeake Bay and adapting to climate change. These volunteers are well positioned to serve the commonwealth in these roles, and we look forward to helping make that happen.”

Karen Duhring, the center’s outreach and training coordinator, will represent the agency on the Virginia Master Naturalist program’s steering and executive committees. “The annual Virginia Institute of Marine Science training classes for Master Naturalists have been well received and are a pleasure for us to conduct,” she said. “Expanding our relationship as a sponsoring agency will allow us to connect the program to more continuing education courses and opportunities. We are also willing to assist any chapter interested in developing citizen science programs related to coastal and wetland issues.”

The College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech, which consistently ranks among the top three programs of its kind in the nation, advances the science of sustainability. Programs prepare the future generation of leaders to address the complex natural resources issues facing the planet. World-class faculty lead transformational research that complements the student learning experience and impacts citizens and communities across the globe on sustainability issues, especially as they pertain to water, climate, fisheries, wildlife, forestry, sustainable biomaterials, ecosystems, and geography. As a land-grant university, Virginia Tech serves the Commonwealth of Virginia in teaching, research, and Virginia Cooperative Extension.

From article here.