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The Pollinator
News from the Virginia Master Naturalist Program
Fall 2019
close up of yellow witch hazel blossoms
Unlike many plants, witch hazel ( Hamamelis virginiana ) blooms in the fall, sometimes as late as December. It is found throughout Virginia in a wide range of habitats. Photo by Judy Gallagher, VMN-Merrimac Farm Chapter. CC BY 2.0
Dear VMN Supporter ,
We hope you enjoy this Fall 2019 edition of The Pollinator. This newsletter only goes out to subscribers, so we encourage you to forward this issue to others and to invite them to subscribe to future issues. Follow the links below each article to read the full articles, which are posted on the VMN blog . We welcome submissions from chapters, volunteers, sponsors, and partners about initiatives that would be of interest to our audience. Please contact Michelle Prysby if you have something to share.
From the State Program Office
A dozen volunteers work together, calf-deep in a rushing stream to seine aquatic invertebrates with a large net.
Naturalist Stream Monitoring Training
Photo by Dianna Bridges, VMN-New River Valley Chapter
Dear Virginia Master Naturalist Community,

The photo above, taken by Dianna Bridges in our New River Valley Chapter, was the winning photo in our 2019 VMN Statewide Photo Contest in the category of Virginia Master Naturalists in Action. (You can view a larger version online .) I wasn't one of the contest judges, but I'm thrilled with their choice. I think the action in this photo embodies so much of what the VMN program is about. First, they are actively engaged in learning as they practice skills for biological monitoring of streams, one of the most common citizen science projects our chapters do. The individuals vary in age and background, but are united in a common effort. There's a role for everyone: some individuals are instructing, some are taking the lead on managing the net, and some are assisting and cheering others on. My favorite part of the action is how some of the people are reaching out to help their fellow volunteers keep their balance. Teamwork and social connections are so critical to what we do.

Much of our fall issue of The Pollinator is dedicated to celebrating the many great achievements and contributions of our volunteers. I hope you take the time to read all about them!

Michelle D. Prysby
VMN Program Director & Extension Associate
Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation
Nature Through the Lens
View the winning photographs from our seventh annual VMN photo contest!  

red fox standing behind a log in a forest, looking directly at the camera, surrounded by green leaves
Red fox guarding den. (2nd place, Virginia Native Wildlife category.) Photo by Gigi Charters, VMN-Arlington Regional Chapter.
Aquatic Invertebrate Art Show
Check out the diversity of aquatic invertebrate artwork submitted for our 2020 VMN recertification pin, and view the winning piece.

Painting of stonefly larva, brown and yellow
Stonefly (Acroneuria sp. ) by Rachel Caro,
VMN-Holston Rivers Chapter
Recognizing VMNs with our 2019 State Program Awards
We are excited to recognize some of the volunteers and projects that have had exceptional impacts.

Woman holding white cane, touching a large boulder alongside a walking trail in a forest, while two volunteers speak to her about geology.
Visitors on the Sensory Explorers' Trail at Sky Meadows State Park. Image by Marie Majarov, VMN-Shenandoah Chapter
Searching for Spadefoots
Virginia Master Naturalist and public help is requested for an ongoing study of Eastern Spadefoot toads in Virginia. 

Photo of Eastern Spadefoot toad, golden and brown in color, with golden eyes and vertical pupils, sitting on a bed of moss.  Text on the photo reads: Have you seen the Eastern Spadefoot?
Eastern Spadefoot frog, from flyer by Jason Gibson (Patrick Henry Community College)
Volunteer News
Laurels - Fall 2019
Each quarter in our Laurels post, we highlight awards and accomplishments of our VMN volunteers. 

VMN volunteer Les Lawrence holding a large silver award platter with a crab on it, standing with three other volunteers outside.
Les Lawrence was recognized with the "Nancy Norton Spirit Award". Photo by VMN-Historic Rivers Chapter.
From Our Sponsors and Partners
Join Other Environmental Educators in February!
Save the date for the 2020 Virginia Environmental Education Conference, February 26-28. There are two really special keynote speakers, plus more than 30 concurrent sessions.

Postcard reading: 2020 Virginia Environmental Education Conference, Save the Date, February 26-28, Sweet Briar College, Amherst, VA, VAEE, Virginia Association for Environment Education, "EE for EverybodEE"
This edition of The Pollinator was compiled by Michelle Prysby (VMN Program Director). Contributors included Kathy Fell (VMN-Southwestern Piedmont Chapter), Jason Gibson (Patrick Henry Community College), Rick Brown (VMN-Historic Rivers Chapter), Marie Majarov (VMN-Shenandoah Chapter), Karen Fall (VMN-Shenandoah Chapter), Geoff Payne (VMN-Historic Southside Chapter), Page Hutchinson (VMN-Rivanna Chapter), Paul Pautler (VMN-Blue Ridge Foothills & Lakes Chapter), Dianna Bridges (VMN-New River Valley Chapter), Shirley Devan (VMN-Historic Rivers Chapter), Judy Jones (VMN-Historic Rivers Chapter), Tiffany Brown (VMN Project Assistant), and Terri Keffert (VMN Volunteer Coordinator). Special thanks to all the additional volunteers who contributed photos to the photo contest gallery, artwork to the aquatic invertebrate gallery, or nominations for the state program awards. Please contact us if you are interested in contributing to a future issue.
Have you made a gift to support the VMN program this year? Now's the time!
Charitable donations from our volunteers and other supporters are a critical part of our VMN program budget. Without them, we cannot put on our statewide conference, provide all of our volunteer recognition items, and have our staff available to support our chapters and volunteers. Thank you to all of our current donors who are making all of these things possible!
The Virginia Master Naturalist program is sponsored by the following state agencies:
logos of 7 sponsoring agencies
Virginia Master Naturalist programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Interim Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.