The Eastern Shore Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalist Program (VMNES) is a corps of well-informed volunteers who provide stewardship, citizen science and education/outreach dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas. The chapter sponsors and supports more than 60 projects providing a wide range of volunteer service opportunities to its members throughout Accomack and Northampton Counties. Service may involve a series of short, unrelated volunteer experiences or a long-term commitment to a single project. A Master Naturalist may volunteer by working independently or as part of a team on a chapter project. Volunteer hours may be earned in the form of education and outreach such as educational or interpretive services, assistance to a statewide sponsor or local partner programs and/or research, or simply manual labor that benefits the local natural resources. The following are samples of local projects illustrating the diversity of interesting and valuable volunteer opportunities currently available through the VMNES Chapter.
Master Naturalists have the opportunity to volunteer to stewardship committees on four NAPs (Natural Area Preserves):
- Magothy Bay NAP,
- Savage Neck Sand Dunes NAP,
- Cape Charles NAP and
- Mutton Hunk Fen NAP.
Go the the menu bar NAPs for a description of each preserve.
Stewardship duties include walking the preserve on the trails, observing
- human activity
- seasonal changes
- birds, frogs, snakes, turtles, flowers, etc. (and taking pictures as able)
- picking up trash (useful to bring a garbage bag), only pick up light trash. Note: larger items are picked up by DCR.
Enjoy the walks which are normally done in teams and scheduled by the committee. Here is an example of a Stewardship Report: Sample NAP Stewardship Report
The stewardship committee for the Cape Charles NAP is below enjoying a comradeship lunch.
Trail Maintenance at the Savage Neck NAP
Sixteen Master Naturalists participated in trail maintenance and cleanup at the Savage Neck Dunes NAP. The dedication of volunteerism from the Eastern Shore Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalist, Natural Area Preserves trails are kept accessible to the public to enjoy.
Cape Charles 2017 Tree Survey
The Town of Cape Charles Historic Review Committee asked the Eastern Shore Master Naturalists to conduct the 2017 Cape Charles Tree Survey in the historic district. The volunteers were divided into two teams, each focusing on either the East or West side of town. All trees on each town lot in the historic district were enumerated, including the lot location, the species, and the estimated height and diameter. In addition to this information, the teams noted particularly healthy signature trees, unusual species trees, and distressed trees, to be brought to the attention of the town management. Read the complete report THE 2017 CAPE CHARLES TREE SURVEY.