Virginia Master Naturalists use their knowledge to teach others about the natural world and help support a healthy environment. The volunteer projects listed below are just a few of the many ways the Shenandoah Master Naturalists
serve their community.
serve their community.
Citizen Science Volunteer Project Examples
For volunteers who enjoy helping with scientific research!
The Trails at MSV
A citizen science project by VMN Shenandoah Chapter Member Paul Guay to create a comprehensive identification guide to the trees at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (MSV). From the guide ... “…it’s a forest like no other: A wonderful mix of native, non-native, invasive and exotic plants and works of art sculped by the hands of women and men, a joint experiment by nature and by humans. With wide hiking paths winding through it, the Trails at MSV are a place to enjoy and ponder the wonder and beauty of nature, and of human endeavor, and of all of the secrets hidden therein.” Review the 53 page guide here.
Virginia Wildlife Mapping
A citizen science project by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) to better understand the distribution of Virginia's wildlife. Our highest priority is to collect data on our Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN). The information gathered from this project will be used to augment the survey, monitoring, and research efforts by DWR and our partners. Once verified by DWR staff, observations are added to the Virginia Species Observations database which is used to assist environmental review and conservation planning efforts. Find out more here.
Maintain camera traps as part of a mid-Atlantic project to record elusive animals and animal behavior in our wild places. Find out more here.
Education Volunteer Project Examples
For volunteers who enjoy public speaking or working with youth!
Young Naturalist Program
Assist with the Young Naturalist Program, winter natural history classes for young students, at Blandy Experimental Farm. Find out more here.
Create your own interpretative trail at one of the many local, state, or national parks in our area.
Sensory Explorers' Trail
Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane, VA has designated 75 acres within the Park as an Outdoor Laboratory for the Chapter to pursue research and stewardship projects. The Chapter realized that building a Sensory Explorers' Trail there would bring our research and stewardship interests together in one place.
The Trail gives people new ways to experience nature and to learn about it at first hand, engaging both mind and body. The project is a testament to our belief that people of all abilities should have places to explore the wonders of the natural world. An audio tour serves as a complement to the Trail, providing deep information about each stop. An important part of the Trail design is an easily navigable tactile pathway for the blind and visually impaired. We intend that on the Trail all users will enhance senses other than sight.
A loop three-tenths of a mile in length, the Trail crosses from a forested hillside through a seasonal wetland. It provides the opportunity to explore billion-year-old geology, delve into the complex songs of birds in both forest and field habitats, and learn about the critical nature of vernal pools to the sustainability of many amphibian species. You can explore tree species and how they communicate, see forest succession in action, and look back at early settlements in the area. Or just enjoy the beauty and serenity of nature.
FOR A DEEP EXPERIENCE ON THE TRAIL, DOWNLOAD THE AUDIO TOUR
For access to the Audio Tour, just find the app izi.travel at the app store on your smart phone. Install it and choose your privacy settings. Then, when you are close to the Park, click on “Around me…”. Grant the app permission to use your location. Sky Meadows State Park Sensory Explorers’ Trail should pop onto your screen. Alternatively, you can put the name into the search bar exactly as shown above.
Learn more about:
STOP 1 - Introduction
STOP 3 - A Tree Community
Pollination Strategies of Trees
STOP 4 - The Witness Rock
A Deep Dive Into the Rocks of the Park
STOP 5 - The Soundscape
Eastern Bluebird Conservation in the Park
STOP 6 - A Tree of Life
The Stories in Tree Rings
The Black Locust and the Settle Farm
STOP 7 - The Vernal Pool
A Risky Strategy
The Spotted Salamander - The Only Photosynthetic Vertebrate
The Marbled Salamander - A Clever Strategist
Cryogenic Tactics of the Wood Frog
Stewardship Volunteer Project Examples
For volunteers who just want to get their hands dirty!
VA Native Plant Society
Remove invasive species from your local wildlife areas. Pull garlic mustard from Sky Meadows State Park or wayleaf grass from Shenandoah National Park with the Virginia Native Plant Society. Find out more here.
Help maintain bluebird trails at several locations, including at Blandy Experimental Farm, Sky Meadows State Park, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Center, and the Environmental Studies on the Piedmont. Find out more here.
Administrative Volunteer Project Examples
For volunteers spending time on chapter organization!
Board or Committee Member
Serve on the Chapter 's Executive Board or chair one of our Committees to help facilitate chapter-wide events and organization. Contact Mary Beth Yarborough, our Chapter President, if you are interested in joining the board or committee.
Communications or Education Assistant
Make a chapter newsletter. Help organize course materials. Write a press release for a local newspaper. Contact Rebecca Harriett, Chair of our Education Committee, if you are interested in helping with chapter education or communications.