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The Pollinator
News from the Virginia Master Naturalist Program
Spring 2020
photograph of white flower with yellow center amidst fallen, dead tree leaves
Bloodroot ( Sanguinaria canadensis ) by Andy Sale ((VMN-Headwaters Chapter). Andy writes, "In the valley of isolation and darkness of disease, our wonderful habitat brings forth beauty in the spring one of the first wildflowers, the courageous Blood Root. It was taken on the South River campground section of the Appalachian Trail in the Shenandoah National Park, Friday, March 19, the first day of Spring, with my TracFone android camera."
Dear VMN Supporter ,
We hope you enjoy this Spring 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 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
Dear Virginia Master Naturalist Community,

I am always aware of how important volunteers are to the VMN program; we couldn't have the program without you, of course! The current pandemic, however, has made me more aware of the converse--how important the VMN program is to our volunteers. I am finding that, although they could choose to set their VMN roles aside for a few months, VMN volunteers want to keep connecting with each other and the program, to keep learning more about nature, and, most significantly, to keep volunteering in ways that will benefit Virginia's natural resources and communities. They are eagerly connecting through technology, they are finding creative ways to adapt their basic training courses to the situation, and they are on the hunt for all the VMN volunteer activities that they can still safely do under current guidelines. I'm having trouble keeping up! It turns out that, for a lot of our volunteers, being a VMN is an important part of their personal identities. This discovery delights me, and it gives me confidence that we can sustain the VMN program into the future.

Michelle D. Prysby
VMN Program Director & Extension Associate
Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation
Nightjar Surveys
By Laura Duval, Research Biologist & Program Coordinator, The Nightjar Survey Network

North American nightjars, or goatsuckers, include nine nocturnal (most active at night) and crepuscular (most active at dawn and dusk) species. The U.S. Nightjar Survey Network (NSN) is a citizen science-driven research group that has worked to collect long-term occupancy data for this unusual group of birds over the past 12 years.

close-up photo of two baby birds
Chuck-will's widow nestlings approximately ten days after hatching. Photo contributed by Laura Duval.
Newly Revised Aquatic Ecology Publications Available
One of the major ways Virginia Cooperative Extension accomplishes its mission of connecting the resources of Virginia Tech and Virginia State University to the people of Virginia is through its extensive online publications. VMN volunteers recently helped update twelve of these publications related to aquatic ecology.

image of the front page of a printed article called What is Aquatic Biodiversity; Why Is It Important?
Thanks to VMN volunteers, the Sustaining America's Aquatic Biodiversity publication series is completely updated!
Volunteer News
A New 5,000 Hour Volunteer and Other Milestone Achievements
We highlight the most recent volunteer to achieve 5,000 hours of service, and we share the list of all the milestone achievements from August-December 2019.

Photo of woman wearing Virginia Master Naturalist nametag, standing next to Rivanna Master Naturalist display table.
Ida Swenson (VMN-Rivanna Chapter) was the tenth VMN volunteer to earn the 5,000 hour milestone recognition.
Laurels - Spring 2019
Each quarter in our Laurels post, we highlight awards and accomplishments of our VMN volunteers. 

The VMN-Riverine Chapter planned and planted a new garden for wildlife at VCU's Rice Rivers Center. Photo submitted by Sandee Bailey (VMN-Riverine Chapter)
From Our Sponsors and Partners
A New Watchable Wildlife Biologist, Promoting Native Plants, and the Trout Slam Challenge
Read their latest news to connect with some of our sponsoring agencies.

photograph of people planting a new landscaping area in background, interpretive sign in foreground
Native demonstration landscaping and one of six new interpretive signs in Cedell Brooks Jr. Park in King George County, Virginia. Photo contributed by Virginia Witmer (Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program).
This edition of The Pollinator was compiled by Michelle Prysby (VMN Program Director). Contributors included Sandee Bailey (VMN-Riverine Chapter), George Devlin (VDEQ), Laura Duval (Center for Conservation Biology), Jason Hallacher (VDGIF), Tim Koppenhaver (VMN-Shenandoah Chapter), Glen Mitchell (VMN-Roanoke Valley Chapter), Ann Regn (VDEQ), Andy Sale (VMN-Headwaters Chapter), Meagan Thomas (VDGIF), Cindy Westley (VMN-Rivanna Chapter), Virginia Witmer (VCZMP), Tiffany Brown (VMN Project Assistant), and Terri Keffert (VMN Volunteer Coordinator). Special thanks to all the additional volunteers who contributed photos. Please contact us if you are interested in contributing to a future issue.
Your support is always needed!
Thank you to all of our current donors. Your gifts are a critical part of our VMN program budget. We welcome new donors of any amount, any time!
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.