Thursday, September 13, 2012

BRFAL Review of the Virginia Master Naturalist Statewide Conference

Virginia Master Naturalist Statewide Conference
Martinsville – September 7-9, 2012
BRFAL Chapter attendees (the most we could rustle up at once for a photo) Friday night from Left: Rich Brager, Guy Buford, Dick LeRoy, Lee Borgman, Shellie Leete. Front row L: Jean Borgman and Meg Brager (Not pictured: Diane and Richard Donnelly, Charlotte Hubbard, Tim Collins and Margaret Buford)
By Rich Brager
My wife Meg and I were fortunate to have attended our second VMN Statewide Conference.  This year the conference was held at the Virginia Museum of Natural History and at Fairy Stone State Park.  On Friday night, dinner was hosted at the museum and we got to eat amongst the dinosaurs!  How fitting for naturalists.  

After dinner we “mixed and mingled” with Master Naturalists from all over the state.  Each chapter brought a display from their chapter.  Our chapter, the Blue Ridge, Foothills and Lakes Chapter (aka BRFAL), brought a wood duck display revealing many wood duck facts and highlighting the wood duck boxes that we made and installed at the Smith Mountain Lake State Park earlier this year.

Saturday and Sunday included a multiplicity of training.  Each attendee selected the training classes that they desired to attend.  For example, I attended “Planning and conducting a bio-blitz” and “Evaluating a site for habitat improvement” on Saturday.  On Sunday, I opted out of training and instead engaged in the “Fairy Stone Service Project” which entailed pruning and clean-up of the Fairy Stone Visitor Center’s rather overgrown shrubs.

Everyone we spoke to thoroughly enjoyed the conference.  If you didn’t get to go this year, we would strongly recommend that you consider going next year.  If you are not a Virginia Master Naturalist and if this type of thing appeals to you, we encourage you to join!
The team who chose to do the service project (that's me with the shears!)

The BRFAL Chapter Display of the Wood Duck Nesting Box was a huge hit!

Dining under the dinosaurs in the VMNH Museum Grand Hall was a special treat (our chapter in the middle)

Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE).
BRFAL Chapter member Lee leading the MWEE Workshop (Photo by Guy Buford)
Another article from the VMNH with photos here.

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