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Friday, January 5, 2018

BRFAL Virginia Master Naturalist Chapter Reaches 10 Year anniversary


 The Blue Ridge, Foothills and Lakes (BRFAL) local chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists (29 chapters strong across the state) recently celebrated its ten-year anniversary.  The 100% volunteer organization has logged some 290 8-hour days each year in pursuit of its mission of providing education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas centralized around Smith Mountain Lake.  Work is accomplished by the dedicated volunteers creating and pursuing local projects that support the mission, many in concert with the seven Virginia agencies that sponsor all state chapters.  Some key projects out of the 30 that have been created are: ECO camp where many school aged children get the benefit of an outdoor, hands on, interactive fun educational experience with nature, supporting chestnut restoration in the Blue Ridge by helping to plant and then monitor over a 1000 trees across the area, native grass restoration and bluebird monitoring projects at the Booker T. Washington National Monument, Smithsonian eMammal wildlife camera trapping at Carvins Cove, K-12 youth day camp support at the Claytor Nature Center, Save our Streams water quality monitoring sponsored by the Smith Mountain Lake Association in all the areas main tributaries and site clean-up at the recently created Bald Knob Natural Area Preserve in Rocky Mount, site of the rare Piedmont flameflower.  The chapter also hosted the Master Naturalist Statewide Conference in 2016, bringing over 200 visitors to the W. E. Skelton 4-H Educational Conference Center.  BFRAL founding president and the longest-lived continuous member, Guy Buford says, “Helping to create BRFAL and participate in the Virginia Master Naturalist program has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.”  BRFAL will hold training classes for new members in late winter and early spring.  If you are interested, visit their website at http://brfal.blogspot.com .


Extra tasty cake provided by outgoing BRFAL President Kathy Scott









Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Tsar of BRFAL





The Blue Ridge Foothills and Lakes Chapter (BRFAL) of the Virginia Master Naturalists is extremely lucky to have our own Tsar.  Who is it and how can it be?  He is Guy Bufford and he is 87 years old and still an active and certified Virginia Master Naturalist.  I believe he may be the oldest VMN in the state.  If you know differently, please let us know.



So how did Guy become our Tsar?  Jean Borgman, who is one of our early BRFAL members, recounts the story as follows:



“One of the things I remember is from when the chapter was forming. The Local Coordinating Committee (that's what you’re called when you start a chapter) had many meetings and tasks to perform. Guy became our leader in the process. He was wonderful at leading the numerous discussions and keeping us on task. As the time came for us to move on to chapter status we were coming up with people to fill the positions in the new group. Guy said we should find a president when Carl said we weren't going to let Guy leave and  that he would be "Tsar for life". In fact the group unanimously approved Guy as Tsar and as you know he did become our first president.”



Over his years as BRFAL member Guy has accumulated nearly 1400 project hours and almost 200 advanced training hours.  In 2017 he has over 55 project hours and 9 advanced training hours.  Not bad for someone 87 years young.



My favorite anecdote about Guy is way back when he was only 83 or so.  The BRFAL group went on a hike at the DeHart Botanical Gardens.  Don’t let the name botanical garden fool you.  This is a beautiful but rugged setting that starts at the top.  Then you hike down, down, down to a waterfall and then back up, up, up.  Near the bottom I could tell that Guy was getting a little wobbly, so we stopped for some electrolytes and a short break.  Guy was carrying a small backpack and since I only had a fanny pack, I offered to carry Guy’s pack for the journey upward, which I did.  The hike upward seemed never ending, but Guy never missed a beat on the way up.  I was then known as Guys porter!  My wife Meg remembers that she was ready to drop in her tracks on the hike but was too embarrassed to do so since Guy could keep going.



Although Guy recently lost his wonderful wife Margaret, he remains active with us, attending meetings and doing project work.  I am attaching some pictures of Guy for you to enjoy.  Guy is truly an inspiration to us all and remains as our BRFAL Tsar.



Rich Brager


                              Guy with backpack & Guy without backpack!

                         Youngest (Neil Fredriksen) & Oldest (Guy Buford) BRFAL Members   

   
Guy digging in at Natural Grass Restoration Project

                     Guy carrying 6x6 at Grassy Hill NAP with Charlotte Hubbard

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

2018 Virginia Master Naturalist Basic Training--Blue Ridge Foothills and Lakes Chapter

The Blue Ridge Foothills and Lakes (BRFAL) Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalist (VMN) program is accepting applications for the 2018 Basic Training class from now until January 15, 2018, or until the class is filled.

Training is held on Monday evenings beginning February 12 through the end of April. There will be three Saturday field training workshops, March 24, April 7 and April 11. Graduation will be held on Saturday April 28. An abridged class schedule is included below. A training fee of $125 covers the cost of materials and activities.

The VMN program is a statewide corps of volunteers providing education, outreach, and service dedicated to the management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities. The BRFAL Chapter has projects in Franklin, Bedford and occasionally Patrick counties. In addition to providing volunteer services, VMN’s participate in ongoing education and citizen science activities to further their knowledge and experience.

Who can participate? People who are curious about nature, enjoy the outdoors, and want to be a part of natural resource management and conservation in Virginia are perfect candidates to become Virginia Master Naturalists. VMN is open to all adults regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status.

To learn more about VMN and its chapters, visit http://www.virginiamasternaturalist.org/ . To learn more about the BRFAL Chapter and its projects, visit  http://brfal.blogspot.com/ or contact us:
Phone: 540-365-4613 email: BRFAL.VMN@gmail.com or snail mail to: P.O. Box 42, Wirtz, VA 24184

Follow us on Facebook: Blue Ridge Foothills and Lakes Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalist



BRFL VMN 2018 Training Schedule
Date
Presentation
Presenter
Mon-12-Feb
Welcome and Introduction
Lecture TBA
Navigating the VMN/VMS
Naturalists Report
Journal
Risk Management
Eco-Concepts
Mon-19-Feb
Herpetology
Lecture TBA
Lake and Stream Ecology
Mon-26--Feb
Dendrology
Lecture TBA
Mammalogy
Mon-5-Mar
Entomology
Lecture TBA
Forest Management
Mon-12-Mar
Ichthyology
Lecture TBA
Geology, Soil Geomorphology
Mon-19-Mar
Projects/Regulations
Lecture TBA
Ornithology
Sat-24-Mar
Geology and Soils
Field Day
Stream Ecology
Mon-26-Mar
Plant Identification, Taxonomy
Lecture TBA
and Nomenclature
Weather
Naturalists Report due
Mon-3-Apr
Environmental Presentations
Lecture TBA
Astronomy
Journals Due
Sat-7-Apr
Field Techniques for
Field Day
Observing Nature
Birds and Insects
Dendrology
Wildflowers
Sat-14-Apr
Field Practical Exercises
Field Day
Assessment
Sat-21-2017
Leave Open for Possible Make-Up
Sat-28-Apr
Graduation
Networking




Citizen Science

Stream monitoring

Outreach and education

Friday, October 20, 2017

2017 VMN Photo Contest Winner!


Awakenings

Congratulations to Rich Brager! The 2017 VMN Annual Conference and Training held last month included a photo contest open to all members. Rich took first place in the Master Naturalists at Work category with his photo of naturalists headed out for training on the Rivanna River. What a great photo!


Thursday, October 12, 2017

2018 Virginia Master Naturalist Basic Training--Blue Ridge Foothills and Lakes Chapter

The Blue Ridge Foothills and Lakes (BRFAL) Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalist (VMN) program is accepting applications for the 2018 Basic Training class from now until January 15, 2018, or until the class is filled.

Training is held on Monday evenings beginning February 12 through the end of April. There will be three Saturday field training workshops, March 24, April 7 and April 11. Graduation will be held on Saturday April 28. An abridged class schedule is included below.

The VMN program is a statewide corps of volunteers providing education, outreach, and service dedicated to the management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities. The BRFAL Chapter has projects in Franklin, Bedford and occasionally Patrick counties. In addition to providing volunteer services, VMN’s participate in ongoing education and citizen science activities to further their knowledge and experience.

Who can participate? People who are curious about nature, enjoy the outdoors, and want to be a part of natural resource management and conservation in Virginia are perfect candidates to become Virginia Master Naturalists. VMN is open to all adults regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status.

To learn more about VMN and its chapters, visit http://www.virginiamasternaturalist.org/ . To learn more about the BRFAL Chapter and its projects, visit  http://brfal.blogspot.com/ or contact us:
Phone: 540-365-4613 email: BRFAL.VMN@gmail.com or snail mail to: P.O. Box 42, Wirtz, VA 24184

Follow us on Facebook: Blue Ridge Foothills and Lakes Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalist



BRFL VMN 2018 Training Schedule
Date
Presentation
Presenter
Mon-12-Feb
Welcome and Introduction
Lecture TBA
Navigating the VMN/VMS
Naturalists Report
Journal
Risk Management
Eco-Concepts
Mon-19-Feb
Herpetology
Lecture TBA
Lake and Stream Ecology
Mon-26--Feb
Dendrology
Lecture TBA
Mammalogy
Mon-5-Mar
Entomology
Lecture TBA
Forest Management
Mon-12-Mar
Ichthyology
Lecture TBA
Geology, Soil Geomorphology
Mon-19-Mar
Projects/Regulations
Lecture TBA
Ornithology
Sat-24-Mar
Geology and Soils
Field Day
Stream Ecology
Mon-26-Mar
Plant Identification, Taxonomy
Lecture TBA
and Nomenclature
Weather
Naturalists Report due
Mon-3-Apr
Environmental Presentations
Lecture TBA
Astronomy
Journals Due
Sat-7-Apr
Field Techniques for
Field Day
Observing Nature
Birds and Insects
Dendrology
Wildflowers
Sat-14-Apr
Field Practical Exercises
Field Day
Assessment
Sat-21-2017
Leave Open for Possible Make-Up
Sat-28-Apr
Graduation
Networking



James River and American Chestnut (right) from citizen science data collection site on BRP

Bald Knob Stream Clean Up

Department of Conservation and Recreation Sponsor Ryan leading training session