Thanks to over 40 volunteers the South Fork of the Shenandoah between the Bentonville bridge and Shenandoah River State Park is much cleaner. On Saturday, September 30, National Public Lands Day, our intrepid crew took to the water and pulled out an estimated 1300 – 1500 pounds of trash – everything from the usual cans to an unusual air compressor.
Saturday started out a bit chilly but by noon the air was warmer and the crew members generated their own heat pulling out trash and urging their canoes through the very low, but warm, water. Front Royal Canoe and Downriver Canoe contributed the use of canoes, buses, and helpers. Several volunteers walked the Park trails and collected lots of debris. Thanks to all for all the help!
Put Next September on your calendars now – we’ll be back.
Congratulations to Friends members Hannah Bement and Karen Fall for
wins in the Shenandoah Chapter, Virginia Master Naturalists, 2017 photo contest! Hannah took 1st place in the VMN in Action category for her “Viewing an Egg Mass” and Karen won 3rd place in the Landscape and Habitat category with her “Pastel Clouded Sunset” taken at Abrams Wetland Preserve in Winchester. Karen commented that she “was stunned by the pastel colors in the clouds, and the way the late afternoon sun coming through the lower clouds made it look like there was a forest fire. Unforgettable” CONGRATS!
2017 Junior Ranger Day Camp, for age 7-12, at Shenandoah River State Park was lots of fun and all the new Rangers have great information about our natural world. Special mention goes to a great birds of prey program presented by Jennifer Westhoff of Raptor Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. The river float and discovery was a hit as always. Congratulations to you, Junior Rangers.
The Junior Ranger camp program at Shenandoah River State Park is a joint venture of the Park and the Friends with activities designed to enhance a child’s awareness of, and appreciation for, the natural environment. The camp is held the last week in July and repeats the first week in August. Check back here in early Summer for information about the 2018 camp.
The Friends also sponsor a self-guided Junior Ranger Program for children and their parents. A free Adventure Guide and kit is available at the Park visitor’s center.
On Sunday, May 21st, Friends spent an afternoon at Twin Creeks Llamas.
Our adventure began in the barn where we learned about llamas, where they came from, how to read their body language, and what those ears are saying. Yes, they do spit, but we where surprised as to when and why. We took a walk with Santiago, Coffee Bean, Pete, and Prince along the creeks and through the woods. We stopped along the way for a cookie and lemonade break and hand fed the llamas a special treat for a job well done. Each person had an opportunity to harness and lead the llamas.
The Parkmans have lots of options for a fun and informative day. If you are interested in a great family adventure, contact them at twincreeksllamas.com.
On Sunday, March 19 Hannah Bement lead a walk to view the Park’s natural and man-made vernal pools along the Cottonwood Trail and to discuss their value to our ecosystem. A vernal pool is a form of temporary, freshwater wetland that contains water for a portion of the year and supports an array of wildlife and plants, some specially adapted for these habitats and many being rare species in Virginia. The Park’s vernal pools provide habitat for the Spotted Salamander, the Jefferson Salamander, Spring Peepers, Wood Frogs, and many others.
Hannah Bement is a science teacher at Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal. She has degrees from the University of Akron and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Science. She is a member of the Shenandoah Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists and our Friends group. Hannah loves being a teacher, working with children, and working to make our environment a better place. She is presently volunteering with the Virginia Vernal Pool Monitoring Program.
In February the Friends hosted a nature photography workshop with local photographer Sharon Fisher.
Sharon shared some of her beautiful work from both near and far. She spoke about basic nature photography principles and about how digital cameras work.
This well attended program generated so much enthusiasm that a likely outcome will be the establishment of an ongoing nature photography program in the Park. If you would be interested let us know through “Contact” and check back here for details coming soon.
On January 28, Virginia State Parks guest bloggers, Bob Diller and Kevin Divins presented a smartphone photography workshop! Topics included tips for doing all your nature photography on your smart phone, useful post-editing apps and basic composition skills.