Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers Needed

Included below are upcoming volunteer opportunities with our sponsoring agencies and other organizations that may be of interest to our members.

These may be both short- and long-term volunteer opportunities and may require training to participate.


Friends of Pocahontas
Volunteer opportunities with FoPSP are posted on Meetup.com.  You can find specific information for each event, RSVP, and view the calendar of events. Weekly opportunities include:
  • Firewood Stocking: Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. (Contact FoPSP for meeting location.)
  • Invasive Plant Control:  Help remove invasive plants at this weekly session. Infomation is on Meetup.
  • Adopt-a-Highway Litter Pickup:  Sundays at 10:00 a.m. Meet at Horner Forest Trail parking lot on Qualla Rd. Bring your own gloves. Bags and safety vests are provided.

Nature Center Volunteers
Pocahontas State Park
Contact the park office at (804) 796-4255 or Andi Clinton at
(804)-796-4484 (O) adrianna.clinton@dcr.virginia.gov
Rockwood Nature Center
Contact  Lisa Trapp (lmtrapp13@gmail.com),
Director of Rockwood Nature Center,
by email or call (804) 745-8360.

Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas (VABBA2)
The second Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas is a survey of all bird species breeding in the state. Data collected will help map the distribution and status of Virginia’s breeding bird community in order to better inform our natural resource and conservation decisions. Volunteers collect information not only on the identity and number of birds they observe, but also evidence of breeding behavior. The Atlas use a series of breeding codes to describe the different types of breeding behavior that may be observed (See  Handbook and Materials  for more details). Survey data will be entered into the Atlas' eBird portal.

Notes from Nature
This is a great web-based citizen science project year round!

Participants will transcribe label information from high-resolution images of herbarium specimens using an online interface at NotesfromNature.org. The herbarium specimens are from Virginia and include both native and non-native species.

Complete the Continuing Education Webinar training, Digitizing Virginia’s Herbaria for Research and Education (14 October 2016). Instructional documents are provided as part of the online training.

Participants will use a web browser and navigate to http://notesfromnature.org.  They will click on the link for “Plants” and then click on “Plants of Virginia”.  NotesfromNature.org may cycle various expedition themes within the Plants of Virginia section, such as “Ant Plants of Virginia” or “Pollinator Plants of Virginia”.  Once you are within the Plants of Virginia section, an image of an herbarium sheet will be displayed and the participant will need to transcribe the data from the label into the web form as specified within NotesfromNature.org.  It is recommended to create a username and password for the site where the participant can track what they have done throughout the project.

There will be opportunities for local and in-person transcription events.  These events will most likely be arranged by a local herbarium involved with the herbarium specimen imaging project.  When these events occur, communications with event information will be disseminated on how master naturalists can participate.

Record volunteer hours in the VMS project: Notes from Nature: Plants of Virginia 

Pocahontas Chapter Projects
Follow the links for each project below to learn more and contact the project leader.

Remember that you can add your driving time to any volunteer hours that you log. Please note this is for Volunteer hours ONLY, NOT Continuing Ed hours. The mileage box is still available as some folks use that to keep track of miles driven for their personal records.  Please feel free to contact Sue Tait, Membership coordinator, if you have any questions. 

Help needed for Pocahontas Blue Bird Monitoring
​Lee and Jane Hesler went to the park this week to check out all the boxes. Nesting is a bit late due to the very cold March.  However half the boxes on Trail B had either marker straw, partial nests or complete nests.  Trial A was less active but there were a few boxes with marker straws. partial nests, and one complete nest. Major​ nesting will begin soon and we are encouraged by the number of starts.
We have had a poor response to the recent Signup Genius mailing asking for trail monitors. 
​ ​
We plan to introduce the current basic training class to ​monitoring​ when we have the ornithology class April 10. We need experienced leaders to help with monitoring and to train new monitors in the next few months.  Lee and I can not carry the program on our own.  We think the program is in danger.  Let Lee or Jane Hesler know if you can help.  

Mid Atlantic Breeding Bird Survey at Malvern Hill

VMNs are invited to participate in the upcoming breeding bird survey training and volunteer service beginning May 25.

Richmond National Battlefield Park seeks volunteers to assist with their annual breeding bird survey at Malvern Hill and other park units. After a short orientation on protocols, volunteer teams survey specific sites several times throughout the spring/early summer.
Pace and schedule of the surveys are up to volunteers, but ideally the first survey should be conducted between May 25-June 8. You do not need to be an expert birder to participate; in fact, this program is a great way to improve your skills by pairing up with someone more experienced.
VMNs may include service hours in the approved project National Parks - Citizen Science.
kristen_allen@nps.gov  if you are interested in helping out.  
To learn more:
https://science.nature.nps. gov/im/units/midn/assets/docs/birds/MIDN_Bird_Volunteer_ manual_Version1.4_full.pdf
http://science.nature.nps.gov/ im/units/midn/monitor/birds_vo lunteer.cfm
https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=LyRYEBGEW6U


Benthic Micro Monitoring Help needed
For those that have undergone training......
We still need volunteers for April 25th and April 28th sites.

Saturday April 28th at 10:00 a.m. (NEW DAY,TIME)
Kennon Creek - We'll meet in the Rocketts Landing parking lot for The Boathouse/Conch Republic restaurants and carpool. If you wish to drive straight to the site, follow Virginia Route 5 past the Sherwood Forest Plantation and look for a Capital Trail (bicycle trail) bridge on the left side of the road. Coordinates for GPS are 37.3227 -76.9765.

Please send an email to Jim McChord ASAP if you can help. Thank you!

Pocahontas SP Teen Fair May 5, 12-3:15 PM
We have a Teen Volunteer Fair we've agreed to represent at, but other programs have popped up that require a staff member to attend.

May 5th 12pm to 3:15pm we have a table saved for us and would like to have the list of volunteer opportunities and specifically family and youth oriented programs available. All education and brochures and fliers will be provided ahead of time. We need a person who likes speaking with youth and loves our parks.

If anyone is interested in either they can call or text Andi Clinton's cell phone number at 813-507-1898. 

"Grasses for the Masses" workshops and program are starting soon!
Registration is now open.
Help restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia's rivers by participating in Chesapeake Bay Foundation's "Grasses for the Masses" program.  Participants in the program grow wild celery, a type of underwater grass, in a simple grow-out system in their homes for 10-12 weeks. After 10-12 weeks of grow-out, participants will gather to plant their grasses in select local rivers to bolster grass populations and help restore the Bay.
General Program Timeline:

Workshops: January to mid-February
Grow-out period: February to May
Plantings: April to June

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) conducts workshops where participants are given instructions and the tools necessary to grow the underwater grasses themselves.  
Find out more and register at:

Or contact Blair Blanchette, CBF Virginia Grassroots Coordinator, 
at 804-780-1392 or at bblanchette@cbf.org

Identification of Eastern Spotted Skunk Habitat and Range Boundaries in Virginia
Identification of Eastern Spotted Skunk Habitat and Range Boundaries in Virginia.  This project is a large scale/statewide trail camera survey. The intent of the survey is to determine where skunks are or are not present. Locations for baited camera stations will be chosen in forested areas on public or cooperating private lands. We are currently sampling throughout the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests and various private lands in western Virginia and hope to expand sampling effort eastward to the Atlantic coast to include lands where Master Naturalist chapters have working relationships.

The camera surveys will be conducted from December through April when spotted skunks are easiest to detect and black bears are in hibernation.

Participants will follow a sampling protocol provided by the project leader, Emily Thorne prior to the start of the project. 

Camera stations consist of one remote-sensing, motion activated camera with LED flash mounted to a tree up to 3 feet above ground. Camera stations will be baited with road-killed white-tailed deer either staked down or wired to a tree approximately 6 to 10 feet in front of the camera.

Salvage permits are required to collect road kill and can be obtained by chapters or individuals through VDGIF.

Cameras should be located in forested areas approximately 200 yards from roads for convenience of transporting bait to camera stations. If sample areas are large enough to have multiple camera stations, cameras should be separated by approximately 1 mile to ensure the same spotted skunk is not visiting multiple camera stations. Camera stations should be visited by project participants at least once per week to check for photos of spotted skunks and ensure cameras are functioning properly. Bait should be replaced as needed.

Photos will need to be uploaded to an online file sharing site (such as Dropbox) set up in advance by the project leader, Emily Thorne. A detailed project protocol will be supplied to all volunteers who sign up for the project.

See  website and  project proposal for complete details.

Volunteers should record service hours in the VMS under the Project: DGIF - Citizen Science

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