Virginia Master Naturalist Rally, 3-5 June 2011

The Department of Biology and the Central Virginia Master Naturalists are jointly hosting our third Virginia Master Naturalist Rally on Sweet Briar's campus on 3-5 June 2011.

The weekend is designed to provide educational workshops and activities to enhance the knowledge base, and support the conservation efforts, of Virginia Master Naturalists throughout the Commonwealth.  Workshops on a broad array of natural history topics will be led by experts in their fields.  The schedule includes time for informal activities on Sweet Briar's 3200 acre campus, and naturalist-led field trips to other sites in central Virginia.


Download the full Saturday and Sunday program and registration form HERE.

Download the Friday activities schedule HERE.

Download a CORRECTED map and driving directions for the Sunday forays HERE.



 12:00 - 8:00     Registration

  1:00 - 5:00     On-campus activities for early arrivals

  5:30 - 6:30     Dinner

  7:00 - 9:00     Music & Mingling in Conference Center  (music by Bramble & Rose string band)



  7:00 – 8:00     Breakfast

  7:30 -  2:30     Registration

  8:30 -  9:00     Welcome & Orientation

  9:00 - 12:00     Workshop Session A

 12:00 -  1:00     Lunch

  1:00 -   2:00     Keynote Address Bruce Peterjohn, Chief of the Bird Banding Laboratory, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

  2:30 -   4:30     Workshop Session B

  5:30 -   6:30     Dinner

  7:00 -   9:00     Lords of Nature movie screening with panel discussion



  7:00 -  8:00     Breakfast & pick up box lunch

  8:30                Assemble for forays in Conference Center

  9:00 -  2:00     Blue Ridge Forays

  2:00                Vans return to Conference Center;



Workshops include:

Inconspicuous biodiversity

So you want to be a beekeeper

Hummingbird banding demonstration

Small mammals

Wildflowers and fungi in late spring

Shocking fish tails

Bats: be afraid!

Peepers, trillers and croakers

Identifying bird calls

Seasonal wetlands creation and restoration

Plant-insect interactions

Basic map skills





Top predators hold a key to life itself.  Can people and predators coexist?  Can we afford not to?  Are our Eastern forests in collapse?  Birds, butterflies, beaver, wildflowers and frogs – could their survival be dependent on top predators like wolves and cougars?  Lords of Nature:  Life in a Land of Great Predators explores these questions in a dynamic and informative video format. 

Following the screening a panel of experts will discuss and explore the important issues raised in the movie and their significance to Virginia.  Included among panelists will be Nelson Lafon, deer project coordinator with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and current president of the Virginia Chapter of the Wildlife Society; Chris Bolgiano, author of several books including two about the Eastern Cougar, retired professor and librarian at James Madison University, and board member of The Easter Cougar Foundation (Cougar Rewilding Foundation); and Mike Roberts, lifelong naturalist, director of Return to Nature, Inc., and accomplished outdoor writer, wildlife photographer and hunter.

BLUE RIDGE FORAYS (Sunday 9 a.m.-2 p.m.)

Appalachian trail wildflowering with a GPS

Mussels in the Tye River

Ancient wetlands (and new ones) in Piney River

Chestnut restoration at Lesesne State Forest










For more information about the Rally, contact John Powers:  [email protected]