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The Pollinator
News from the Virginia Master Naturalist Program
Fall 2020
landscape photo of rocky foregound, mountains in background with fall colors, cloudy sky
Fall colors at Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. (Photo by M. Prysby)
Dear VMN Supporter ,
We hope you enjoy this Fall 2020 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 website
From the State Program Office
Dear Virginia Master Naturalist Community,

While the pandemic has curtailed some volunteer activities, Virginia Master Naturalist volunteers have still been getting out to perform service to benefit Virginia's natural resources. In fact, they have contributed nearly 100,000 hours of service so far this year. Citizen science projects have been especially popular, as it is not too hard to adapt those activities to meet COVID-19 safety guidelines. VMNs also have found creative ways to conduct education programming, whether online (like the New River Valley Chapter's activities in the Hokie BugFest) or in-person (like the Holston Rivers Chapter's drive-in nature movie.) Late summer and fall stewardship projects have included acorn collecting for the Virginia Department of Forestry and a massive multi-organization cleanup of flooding damage at Pocahontas State Park. Behind the scenes, our volunteers serving as chapter leaders have been working hard to hold online or outdoor chapter meetings, to adapt their training courses to the circumstances, and to help their members find service opportunities. Thank you to everyone for both staying safe and continuing to make our volunteer corps strong and active!

Michelle D. Prysby
VMN Program Director & Extension Associate
Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation
In Case You Missed It - Three Important Announcements
All VMN volunteers should have received email notifications with these three opportunities and requests. Here's a recap:
  1. VMN statewide award nominations are due November 30. See the full announcement. We've changed up the categories this year, in light of the pandemic!
  2. VMN volunteers are invited to contribute to a special statewide photo share to illustrate how we have all connected with nature this year. More information is on our website.
  3. All currently enrolled VMN volunteers are asked to please update all data in your profiles on the VMS and also make sure that you have a mailing address there. We need the information to be complete and correct for our upcoming migration to a new volunteer system. Review the email that went out or contact your chapter's Membership Chair for information on how to show that you've checked your profile. Thanks to everyone who has already checked and made updates!
Holston Rivers Chapter Goes to the Movies
By Monica Hoel and Tanya Hall

Holston Rivers Master Naturalist volunteers found a creative way to share the wonders of Appalachian rivers and aquatic life with new audiences.

drive-in movie screen in foreground, sunset in background
How about a nature movie drive-in? Photo by VMN-Holston Rivers Chapter.
Report Your Fox Squirrel Sightings
By Marissa Guill, Virginia Tech

At this moment, the southeastern fox squirrel holds an unknown distributional status in Virginia which could ultimately impact future management efforts.

photo of a fox squirrel on the ground
An eastern fox squirrel captured on a trail camera. Photo by Marissa Guill.
Volunteer News
Kathy Fell Joins the VMN 5,000 Hours Circle
Kathy Fell, Certified Virginia Master Naturalist volunteer in the Southwestern Piedmont Chapter, has become the 11th VMN volunteer to achieve the 5,000 hour service milestone and the newest member of the VMN Golden Circle. 

selfie photo of Kathy Fell
Kathy Fell has been a VMN volunteer for twelve years!
Laurels - Fall 2020
Each quarter in our Laurels post, we highlight awards, accomplishments, and projects of our VMN volunteers.

This quarter, learn about newly published research articles, numerous awards earned, and new citizen science projects by VMN volunteers. Read remembrances of an accomplished VMN volunteer who has recently passed away. Plus, learn how one chapter successfully kept new trainees engaged, even when their basic training course had to be postponed.

person measuring a tree in the woods
VMN Anne Ellis measuring the height of tulip poplar on the Tree Loop at Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve. Photo by VMN-Banshee Reeks Chapter.
From Our Sponsors
Catch the King and Virtual CE Opportunities at VIMS
Karen Duhring shares the latest on what is happening at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

two people looking at cell phone next to dock at high tide
Middle Peninsula Master Naturalists Rose Sullivan and Susan Crockett during 2018 Catch the King mapping event. Photo by T. Crockett.
Please consider a year-end gift!
We rely significantly on gifts from donors like you for VMN program operations. We welcome gifts of any amount, at any time!
The Virginia Master Naturalist program is sponsored by the following state agencies:
collection of logos from VA Cooperative Extension, VA Dept. of Wildlife Resources, VA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation, VA Dept. of Forestry, VA Museum of Natural History, VA Dept. of Environmental Quality, and Center for Coastal Resources Management
This edition of The Pollinator was compiled by Michelle Prysby (VMN Program Director). Contributors included Kyle Baker (VMN-Banshee Reeks Chapter), Dianna Bridges (VMN-New River Valley Chapter); Barry Buschow, Charlene Uhl, Bonnie Beers, Kathleen Aucoin, and Carolyn Smith (VMN-Old Rag Chapter); Nora Cox and Shelly Evans (VMN-Central Virginia Chapter); Susan Crockett (VMN-Middle Peninsula Chapter); Karen Duhring (VIMS-CCRM); Marissa Guill (Virginia Tech Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Conservation); Monica Hoel and Tanya Hall (VMN-Holston Rivers Chapter); Kathy Fell (VMN-Southwestern Piedmont Chapter); Nancy Moncrief (Virginia Museum of Natural History); Janet Quinn and Marilyn Schroeder (VMN-Fairfax Chapter); Meagan Thomas (Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources); Tiffany Brown (VMN Project Assistant); and Terri Keffert (VMN Volunteer Coordinator). 

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.
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.