Chapter Media Releases

Dot Field Named Master Naturalist Chapter Advisor of the Year For Virginia

The Eastern Shore’s Dot Field was honored recently as Chapter Advisor of the Year by the State of Virginia Master Naturalist Program.

Field founded the Easter Shore Chapter in 2006 and has been the dedicated chapter advisor ever since. She works tirelessly to ensure that the Eastern Shore volunteers have the knowledge and tools needed to be educators, citizen scientists and stewards helping to conserve and manage natural resources and public lands.

The Eastern Shore Chapter has more than 100 members participating in 60 active projects. Field is a wealth of knowledge and has a way of making each volunteer feel appreciated. Her knowledge of the Eastern Shore and especially the native plants, shows in the many training programs and field excursions that she leads with joy and enthusiasm.

In addition to dedicating many hours to the Master Naturalist Program, she is the Eastern Shore region steward of the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Eastern Shore Master Naturalists Participate in Second Annual Butterfly Count

As seen in the Eastern Shore Post, August 23, 2019

Carolyn McGavock, of Parksley, recently let a total of 22 Eastern Shore Master Naturalist volunteers in the second annual butterfly count.  Counts were taken at the four Natural Area Preserves (NAP) managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.  Organized into small groups, each with butterfly expert, a recorder, and several spotters, counts were taken at the Magothy Bay NAP, Cape Charles NAP, Savage Neck Dunes NAP, and Mutton Hunk Fen NAP, all located on the Virginia Eastern Shore.

By doing annual butterfly counts, the Eastern Short Master Naturalists will monitor changes in the butterfly species and study the effects of weather and habitat changes on Eastern Shore butterflies. This year, volunteers saw 27 different butterfly species ad a total of 276 individual butterflies. These numbers were up from the 2018 base count.  The annual counts are taken in August when the hot weather encourages maximum butterfly activity.  Most butterflies need sunny days with temperatures of at least 80 degrees in order to fly.  To learn more about butterflies and other natural wonders of the Eastern Shore, visit and become a Master Naturalist. t

Master Naturalist volunteers, led by Carolyn McGavock, participated in the butterfly count at Magothy Bay Natural Area Preserve.

Article Tribute to Bob Toner

Eastern Shore Chapter Virginia Master Naturalists

News Release

March 1, 2019

For Immediate Release

Press Contact: Karen Lasley,

Master Naturalists on the Eastern Shore were busy during 2018 identifying butterfly species, helping maintain four Natural Area Preserves and educating children and adults about the area’s wildlife and native plants. The 75 active members of the Eastern Shore Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists volunteered over 8,000 hours during 2018 toward conserving and managing the natural resources of the Virginia Eastern Shore.

Special recognition goes to Bob Toner of Exmore who is a top contributor with the Eastern Shore Master Naturalists program. Originally from Queens, New York, Bob moved to the Eastern Shore in 2006.  He completed the course work to become a Master Naturalist in 2010 after learning of the organization from a neighbor and has been a dedicated volunteer ever since. The State Master Naturalist Program honored Bob in 2017 for having the most volunteer hours of any member in the entire state. He gave 1,158 hours of volunteer time to the program that year; an average of over 22 hours a week.

 Although Bob’s favorite volunteer job is working at the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge’s Visitor Center, he does a wide variety of naturalist work in both Northampton and Accomack Counties. He has a passion for the Barrier Islands and volunteers with the Barrier Island Stewardship Program, teaching boaters to protect nesting birds and posting signs restricting access to nesting areas. From April through August, you can find Bob checking Bluebird boxes at the Nature Conservancy’s Brownsville Preserve. He also works regularly at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge monitoring wildlife and assisting with maintenance. Twice a month Bob is in the Chincoteague area doing water quality testing at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station. Bob especially enjoys working with the summer camps and school groups who visit the Eastern Shore Wildlife Refuge and helping with Nature Day at Kiptopeke State Park.  From October through February, Bob also leads Saturday morning tours of Fisherman Island.

Besides volunteering with the Master Naturalists, Bob Toner is an Officer of the Election at the Nassawadox Polling Station where he aids voters in casting ballots. Striving to help get all eligible citizens registered to vote, Bob can be found at voter registration tables at many Eastern Shore festivals. He also recently assisted at Shore High School Voter Registration Events.

Bob Toner contributes much to the quality of life on the Virginia Eastern Shore. He is a people person who loves sharing his knowledge of Eastern Shore nature and history with others. It shows in his smile. Go visit him on Thursdays at the National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.

More information on the Eastern Shore Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists is available at

Magothy Bay Addition

New Trees Planted Near Magothy Bay NAP

February 24, 2019 by Wayne Creed Cape Charles Mirror

DCR recently acquired a 55 acre field off Latimer Siding as an addition to the Magothy Bay Preserve, as you are likely aware. Today I was part of a group of about 20 people who did a large scale planing in that field to provide increased habitat for migrating songbirds, among other things. This morning a truck loaded with 1100 wax myrtle shrubs in 3 gallon containers arrived at the site. We unloaded them onto DCR trailers and a group spent the entire day planing them. While there are still some that remain to be planted, we managed to plant approximately 700 wax myrtles, just today!! That’s 10 rows of plants spaced on 40 foot centers for a distance of 0.6 miles. Essentially, rows of wax myrtles for nearly as far as the eye can see. As these shrubs grow and mature, and other plants are added by the bird droppings of neotropicals and other birds using these wax myrtles, this is going to be a fantastic addition to the habitat down near the southern tip of the peninsula. There are also going to be some willow, white pin and scarlet oaks planted there as well.

The planting area is in a 55 acre field that is bounded to the west by Route 13, to the south by Latimer Siding and to the east by Seaside Road. The full-length rows are about 6 tenths of a mile long and there is a wax myrtle planted every 40 feet, with an occasional oak thrown in for good measure.

About 700 of the wax myrtles were planted this past Tuesday and there are another 400 still to plant for a total of 1100 wax myrtles. Not nearly as many oaks, maybe a hundred of two will be planted, but they will be substantially bigger.

New Addition to Magothy Bay NAP