Chapter News and Events

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Projects Gain Momentum and Earn Accolades

​A Message from Lesha Berkel, Chapter President
The leaves are just starting to glow red, orange and yellow signaling the turn of the season and the inevitable conclusion of the year, but I couldn’t wait to share some of the great stories from project leaders about their success, rewards and recognition. While this is not a comprehensive report of all the terrific work from our group, it does offer a look at some notable efforts.


Class of 2017 Dendrology Field Trip

The Pocahontas VMN Class of 2017 particiated on their Dendrology Field trip on March 18.  A beatiful day to identify trees using bark, twigs, structure, and if they were lucky, a dead leaf or two.

Photo courtesy Bob Diller


Nature Photography

Wildflower Walk II

Bill Fox, Pocahontas Chapter VMN, presented tips and tricks for getting better photographs from a digital camera, including understanding exposure (the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings), techniques for getting images in focus, and combining images that result in better highlight and shadow details. Participants took pictures on their own and saw immediate improvement! They also got additional feedback on these photos in the second half of the session.
VMNs gathered at Ferndale Park near Petersburg for a fall wildflower walk with biologist Ernie Wilson. More than 45 species were identified and discussed. VMNs also were provided access to the Flickr page as a future resource for identifying these seasonal wildflowers and grasses. (Photos below from the Flickr Album by Ernie Wilson)
Photo by John Bannan
Photo by Ernie Wilson


We are All Beekeepers

Joyce Caldwell (pictured) showed a slide presentation about the types of nests birds make, the variety of nesting materials they use, the challenges they face, and the things each of us can do to help birds "nest in peace." We also had a chance to take a closer look at many actual nests of birds that breed in the Richmond area.
Louise and Earl Woolard, members of the Rockwood Park Backyard Beekeepers, conducted this workshop for anyone concerned about the decline of the bee population (as much as 70% of our food products rely on successful pollination of crops). As their club says, “WE ARE ALL BEEKEEPERS – whether you have a working bee hive, or just maintain a nice flower garden in your yard.” Louise and Earl gave an introduction to backyard beekeeping – the basics of bee anatomy, what equipment is needed, and how to get started with your own hive–if that's something that interests you.  We also learned about bee behavior and which Virginia native plants benefit bees.


       BATS! Be Afraid!

Helen Hamilton from the Williamsburg area, presented to 56 attendees (including several of our new class members) on the Fungus Among Us.  We learned all sorts of interesting information on mushrooms and fungi. 
An important comment from Helen (which was perhaps an old Chinese bit of wisdom): "All mushrooms are edible, but some only once!"
(PIctured Kate Conn, CE Coordinator 2015-16, with Helen Hamilton.)  
It was exciting to have Bonnie Miles
(pictured at right), a wildlife
rehabiliator and expert on bats,
speak with our group in February at
Rockwood Park Nature Center. 
Bonnie's passion, experience and knowledge of bats was obvious as she discussed their value to our ecosystems and presented facts about some of the current threats to bats. Unfortunately, bats are one of the most misunderstood and maligned animals on earth. In fact, they are amazing, unique, and quite adorable. It was an interesting presentation and everyone had a great time.  Ultimately we learned to "be afraid" FOR bats, not OF them!