News you can use!

August 2014

In This Issue
Celebrate Science Inside & Out
Name the EE Organization
Plant for Pollinators!
VA Cave and Karst Trail
News from SWCD
New Chesapeake Bay Curricula
Registration for Conferences
Water Quality Monitoring Grant Program
Flora of Virginia
Quick Links

Virginia Naturally Homepage


Professional Development 


Virginia Naturally Calendar of Events

Welcome New Partners!

woman-trimming-hedge.jpg Celebrate Science Inside & Out 

This is the annual conference for environmental educators, science teachers, nature lovers and all who are interested in learning about Virginia's environment.

Registration is open for the fall science and environmental education conference Oct. 16 - 18 at the Richmond Convention Center. The Virginia Office of Environmental Education (VOEE) and the Virginia Resource-Use Education Council (VRUEC) are collaborating with the National Science Teacher Association (NSTA) to host this event. Discounts are available by registering or updating your organization's Virginia Naturally information. A Virginia Naturally partner is an organization that has an environmental education component as part of its mission. If you are a single environmental education provider and do not have an organization to register, you may choose to register yourself on Virginia Naturally as a subscriber. Once you add or update your information on Virginia Naturally, you qualify to register as part of the Virginia Office of Environmental Education (which houses Virginia Naturally). To learn more about Virginia Naturally, visit the homepage. Go to the Virginia Naturally conference page to follow information and updates about the conference. You may also go to the NSTA website to register and make arrangements for lodging.

The early-bird registration closes September 5.
Establishing a Working Group for the Environmental Education Organization for Open Membership

The Virginia Resource-Use Education Council (VRUEC) and the Virginia Office of Environmental Education held a working meeting on July 30 at the Ivy Creek Natural Area in Charlottesville. A primary purpose of the meeting was to determine if Virginia should re-establish a membership organization for everyone in Virginia that is interested in environmental education. The decision to re-establish a membership organization was overwhelmingly positive. If you would like to participate with the membership committee in the development of the organization, please complete this short survey.
Plant for Pollinators!
Photograph by Bonnie Phillips
Story and photo by Bonnie Phillips, DCR, Office of Environmental Education


Habitat for pollinators has suffered over the years. Support is needed to help provide nectar, pollen, water and leaves for the lifecycles of these valuable insects and birds. In late winter and early spring wet area bushes and trees such as alders, willows, holly and red maple (main pollen provider) are vital for nectar and pollen flow. Columbine is one of the first perennials to flower, providing nectar for hummingbirds. In April and May the main nectar flow is from black locust, tulip poplar, blackberry, clover, vetch and wild flowers. In late spring and summer wild flowers, clover, blackberry and sourwood trees provide nourishment. Summer and fall are dependent on weather conditions. Sumac, clover, wildflowers, including asters and goldenrod are great providers. Gardeners can plant sunflowers and buckwheat for food in the fall. For more information, visit:  DCR's Natural Heritage native plants pageNative Plants for Gardeners Brochure from Virginia Tech, and  Pollinator Live.    

The Virginia Cave and Karst Trail
The Virginia Cave and Karst Trail  is a collaborative project between the governor-appointed Virginia Cave Board and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Visit the website to find places open to the public and to learn more about protecting these sensitive and unique  formations.
News from the Soil and Water Conservation Districts

Poster Contest
- Theme - Dig Deeper: Mysteries in the Soil - Deadline Oct. 24. Posters should be sent to your local SWCD representative.

Conservation Education Teacher of the Year Award -
Each year the VASWCD recognizes an outstanding elementary and secondary teacher with the VASWCD Teacher Award. Submit your nomination to Beth Sokolik by Sept. 16.

Youth Conservation Camp
High school students from around the Commonwealth participated in Youth Conservation Camp at Virginia Tech July 13 - 19. One of the many activities was watercolor painting a watershed and representing different components of it.  Approximately 60 students painted 12 murals that will be on display in the Natural Resource Area at the Virginia State Fair Sept. 26 - Oct. 5.

New Chesapeake Bay Curricula for Middle and High School Students
The Center for Economic Education at Virginia Tech developed a thought
provoking curricula that incorporates SOL's from science, civics, economics and government called Saving the Bay with Dollars & Sense & SOLs.  This curricula exposes students to the complex relationships between humans and our complex relationships within marine ecosystems. To find the curricula, go to the CEE homepage and then click on the second bullet titled "Teaching Resources."  Also linked are additional teaching resources developed by the CEE, including: Education for Sustainable Development; The Forest as a Teacher; and Teaching Environmental Economics: Inside and Outside the Classroom.  

Exciting News about Conferences in Virginia
Virginia Master Naturalist conference - Sept. 26 - 28, Newport News.

 Virginia Association of Science Teachers (VAST) conference - Nov. 20 - 22, Roanoke.  (VAST) is a professional organization of science educators. For more than 62 years VAST has been hosting the VAST PDI. This event provides high-quality professional development to Virginia's science educators.

Check out the VAST schedule

Visit the website for more details. 

Interested in exhibiting


Green Schools National Conference March 3 - 7, Virginia Beach.

National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) - conference - Oct. 16 - 18, Richmond.
The Office of Environmental Education submitted a strand especially for environmental educators titled Get Your Nature On

Here's a teaser of some of the sessions for the Virginia Naturally "Get Your Nature On" Strand
  • Let's Go Outside: Getting Nature into the School Day
  • Rain to Drain: Fighting the Flow of Pollution
  • What is Envirothon? North America's Largest Environmental Education Competition!
  • Regional Celebrations of Environmental Action
  • Seeing Math Patterns in Nature with Kids of all Ages
  • Creek Freaks: Outdoor Ed meets science, technology, and exploration!
  • Atlantic Sturgeon In and Around the Bay
  • Discover Karts Groundwater through Project Underground
  • Climate Change: Integration Through Activity
  • How NOAA's Educational Resources and Funding Advance K-12 Watershed Education
  • Jump into the Garden
  • Out of the box 4-H in the Classroom
  • Increase Your Staff with Volunteers
  • Planning Field Science Experiences: Lessons Learned from MWEEs
  • Fairfax County 5th Grade Field Guide Development Project

waterfall-rocks-trees.jpg Water Quality Monitoring Grant Program - Deadline Sept. 2
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is requesting applications that will support citizen volunteer and related water quality monitoring efforts in the Commonwealth. Click here to visit the website and get additional information.
The Flora of Virginia Exhibit in Petersburg through Sept. 15
An exhibition of botanical art, titled "Flora of Virginia," opened at the Petersburg Public Library. All art works are annotated with information about the species depicted, the portion on the plants coming mostly from the Flora of Virginia, published in 2012 by the Flora Project. Most of Catesby's plants and all of Marshall's are Virginia natives. The Flora of Virginia exhibit at the Library of Virginia in Richmond continues through Sept. 13.

Sheila Mary Barnett
Environmental Educator  

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
600 E. Main St., 24th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219

Phone: (804) 786-1815
Fax: (804) 371-2072