Friday, August 19, 2011

BRFAL Projects 2011

The Blue Ridge Foothills and Lakes Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalist are involved! 
Some of the projects the members are involved in reach from After-School Science Workshops at Local Schools to Buffer Education to Gill Creek Stream Ecosystem Monitoring.  
BRFAL Training is given on all projects
Allow me to share a highlight of some of the BRFAL projects list with you. Some of the projects require additional training, such as invasive species identification.  All Citizen Scientist Volunteers will receive the additional training required if interested in participation in any of those projects.

If you are interested the next training session for this chapter, for those considering  becoming a Virginia Master Naturalist, it will commence March 2012 at The Franklin Center in Rocky Mount VA. If you are interested in attending please stay tuned for more information to come! You can send a contact email to the chapter here. Learn more about the Virginia Master Naturalist program here

Invasive Aquatic Weed ID Project
This project allows volunteers to become knowledgeable of invasive/non-invasive weeds and the negative impact they have on the lake.  Invasive weeds have been found in Smith Mountain Lake.  A joint program between Ferrum College, TLAC, and SMLA involving the training of volunteers, gathering data, weed ID, weed control, and data analysis.  Volunteers are trained in weed ID, respond to calls from property owners, ID good/bad weeds and then submit samples for positive ID.

The Walnut Run Eastern Box Turtle project
The Walnut Run Eastern Box Turtle project is an extension of Box Turtle monitoring project conducted by Dr. Todd Frederickson at Ferrum College.  The data from the multi year project will add to the volume of knowledge about species diversity in VA and will be included in the state wide data base monitored by DGIF.  In addition, the project has proven to be an opportunity to educate the residents of the 76 homes within the Walnut Run community about the nature of the Eastern Box Turtle population including the correct way to protect the turtles when encountered on the roads and property within our community.

Various Types of Bird Watching/Monitoring
This project will consist of various types of brid watching/monitoring injcluding feeder watch (Cornell Lab of Ornithology sponsored), Christmas bird counts, migration counts or nest box monitoring.  It will help volunteer members monitor bird populations, learn more about birds, and collect data about species presence or absence.  

Participants will conduct bird counts at backyard feeders, specific migration areas, local area counting and monitoring nest boxes.  The project can take place in participants' back yards, local birding or specific migration areas.  

The time frame of this project will vary.  Some counts are done at specific times, such as winter counts or migrations.  The total time involved will depend on participants' commitment, such as feeder counts.

Emerald Ash Borer Monitoring at BTWNM
This project is designed to aid in the protection of the Park's and surrounding area's ash tree population.  

The project will make an inventory of the park's ash tree population, formalize with GPS coordinates for a map and then provide continued monitoring of those trees for possible infestation by the emerald ash borer.  Additional training will be provided to volunteers over and beyond the NPDN course.  

This will be an ongoing project commencing this year (2011) while the trees are leafed out.  There will be extensive hiking/walking in the park to find and note the ash trees, but the number of hours necessary will depend on how many people join the project.

BRFAL Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalist wants you to get outside, explore and learn something new today. Get involved in something cool, learn more about the Virginia Master Naturalist program here

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