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The Pollinator
News from the Virginia Master Naturalist Program
Summer 2021
Eastern ratsnake
Eastern ratsnake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis). This beauty was spotted on the trail at Twin Lakes State Park in Prince Edward County. My favorite publications for identifying snakes are the Virginia Herpetological Society's online dichotomous key to snakes, the book Reptiles of Virginia by Joseph C. Mitchell (which has dichotomous keys to both adult and juvenile snakes), and A Guide to the Snakes and Lizards of Virginia published by our sponsor, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.
--Michelle Prysby, VMN Program Director
Dear VMN Supporter ,
We hope you enjoy this Spring 2021 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,

Happy Summer! As usual, the VMN state program team has many plates spinning these days; please forgive the tardiness of this newsletter. We are excited to share several updates with you below so that you know what's keeping us busy. And, as with every issue, the Laurels section is the real highlight, as it provides a peek into the many projects and accomplishments of our volunteers. Enjoy!

Michelle D. Prysby
VMN Program Director & Extension Associate
Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation
VMN Virtual Conference - Update
The Virginia Master Naturalist 2021 Statewide Conference and Volunteer Training will be held October 1-3, 2021 in a virtual format. Registrations will open at the beginning of September. Watch for an email with the registration information. Meanwhile, check out the schedule of events on the VMN website. We are excited to have nine concurrent sessions, two plenary sessions, and six on-demand sessions. There is also scheduled time for participants to get outside for on-your-own learning and a VMN Day of Service.
Alonso Abugattas holding a frog
Alonso Abugattas, Natural Resources Manager for Arlington County Parks and Founder/Author of the Capital Naturalist Blog and Social Media accounts, will be a keynote presenter, talking about how nature is intricately connected.
Diversity & Inclusion Team Update
One of our major projects this year in the VMN state program office has been to look at diversity and inclusion in the VMN program and to identify action items that will help us increase both. With this update, our team wants to give our VMN community a sense for what we have done so far and our plans for this fall. 

screen shot of 8 people in online meeting
Members of the VMN Diversity & Inclusion Working Group have been meeting online to identify and articulate action items to help increase diversity and inclusion throughout the VMN program.
Welcome, Southern Piedmont Chapter
We are thrilled to be launching a new Virginia Master Naturalist chapter, the Southern Piedmont Chapter, in a previously underserved area of the state.

six people posing outdoors
Volunteers in the new Southern Piedmont Chapter have been offering natural resource education programs in their community through the Southside Online Naturalists Group (SONG). Photo by Terri Mewborn.
Volunteer News
Laurels - Summer 2021
Each quarter, we invite VMN chapters to share stories of volunteers' awards and accomplishments. Our Laurels posts are not only a way to provide recognition to those volunteers, but also an opportunity to inspire other volunteers.

This quarter, learn about volunteer stewardship in the Rappahannock River watershed, a new book about a volunteer-led butterfly garden project, how volunteers are helping the National Park Service reduce vehicle-turtle collisions at one Virginia site, and more!

six people outdoors with garden tools
Some volunteers of the Bright Hope Butterfly Garden team from the VMN Pocahontas Chapter. Photo by Jennifer Ambs.
From Our Sponsors
News from DEQ
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality shares information on plastic litter in our waterways and opportunities to help reduce it and clean it up.

discarded plastic bottle floating in water
Photo contributed by Ann Regn, VDEQ
A Challenge from the Fairfax Chapter of the VMN Program
Some people give because it feels good. Others give to make an impact. The Fairfax Chapter benefitted from both with a recent $5,000 donation to the Virginia Tech Foundation to support the Virginia Master Naturalist program. Learn why they gave and how they hope to inspire others.
The Virginia Master Naturalist program is sponsored by the following state agencies:
logos of Virginia Cooperative Extension, DCR, DOF, DEQ, DWR, VIMS-CCRM, VMNH
This edition of The Pollinator was compiled by Michelle Prysby (VMN Program Director). Contributors included Jennifer Ambs (VMN-Pocahontas Chapter), Nancy Barnhart (VMN-Historic Rivers Chapter), Ricklin Brown (VMN-Historic Rivers Chapter), Shirley Devan (VMN-Historic Rivers Chapter), Linda Eanes (VCE), JoAnn Jones (VMN-Central Piedmont Chapter), Judy Jones (VMN-Historic Rivers Chapter), Susan Laume (VMN-Fairfax Chapter), Terri Mewborn (VMN-Southern Piedmont Chapter), Charlene Uhl and other members of the Old Rag Master Naturalist Chapter, Marilyn Parks (VMN-Fairfax Chapter), Katie Register (Clean Virginia Waterways), Ann Regn (VDEQ), Susan Sims (VMN-Banshee Reeks), Ida Swenson (VMN-Rivanna Chapter), 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.