Our Stories

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All It Left Behind

by Laura, Certified Master Naturalist

A bird doesn’t have to be rare to be a surprise.  I had such a surprise, better than an unexpected gift, on a recent morning following the snow storm.

The aftermath...

The aftermath…

With no school lunch to pack I’d settled myself and my coffee into the old wingchair by a low living room window with a view toward the morning’s patrons at The Seed and Suet. The peaceful scene didn’t last long.   Continue reading…

 

Riverines Help Build a Better Butterfly Garden

by Laura, Certified Master Naturalist

A Riverine volunteer helps students prepare garden beds for planting

A Riverine volunteer helps students prepare garden beds for planting

On May 4th Riverine Master Naturalists spent a hot sunny day on Richmond’s southside where they helped create a Butterfly Garden at the city’s charter elementary school.

Until last fall the designated Butterfly Garden at Patrick Henry School of Science and the Arts (PHSSA) was overwhelmed by a long row of Butterfly Bush that, as any devotee of the gospel according to Doug Tallamy knows, cannot support the reproduction of a single species of native butterfly.  Continue reading…

 

If You Like to Eat Red Meat, Stay Away From Ticks

by Sharon, Certified Master Naturalist

 

Lone star tick. Susan Ellis, USDA APHIS-PPQ

Lone star tick. Susan Ellis, USDA APHIS-PPQ

I recently had a serious allergic reaction with no idea of what caused it.  My doctor referred me to an allergist and after going through a series of tests for possible food allergens, the only foods I am allergic to turned out to be mammalian meat.  Luckily, I am a vegetarian.

So why would this be anything a master naturalist would be interested in?  Because the doctor asked me if I had been bitten by a tick recently.  Continue reading…

 

Hi Ya, Hyla!

Gray Treefrog, Hyla spp.

Gray Treefrog, Hyla spp.

Written by Laura, Certified Master Naturalist

A tree frog on a window pane poses a dilemma when a five year old is involved:  adhere to the principle of observational non-interference or indulge one’s inner 5 year old and pick it up?

We picked it up.  And built it a little house.  And watched it while we had an after school snack.

Continue Reading…

Tree Stumps Good for Skinks

A newly hatched skink is about two inches long.

A newly hatched skink is about two inches long.

Having a pristine yard looks nice but is less beneficial to wildlife than a more natural environment.  Consider yourself fortunate if you happen to have a tree stump or a few rotting logs in your yard, because that is the ideal habitat for one of Virginia’s common lizards –  Continue Reading...

 

The Slow Moving Disk

Turtelini

Dave’s “Turtlini”

Written by Dave, Certified Master Naturalist

The more you look, the more you see.  It seems that everywhere I turn, I am noticing more remarkable flora and fauna.  The other day, as I was mowing my backyard, I passed a slow moving disk.

Continue Reading…

 

 

Graduation: Class of 2013!

A few members of the class of 2013

A few members of the class of 2013

The final Basic Training Class was held on April 4, 2013.  The graduation picnic was held at Chimborazo Park in Richmond.  The park is the site of a project initiated by several Riverine Master Naturalists and Richmond Tree Stewards.

Continue Reading…

Backyard Discoveries

Fledgling Bluebird

Fledgling Bluebird

Written by Laura, Certified Virginia Master Naturalist

There have been a number of visitors to our yard this month including a pileated woodpecker who toured the whole place, pausing long enough to throw back its head and give me a great view of the cackling that earns it the nickname “wood chicken”.

Continue Reading…

Laura’s Barred Owl

Written by Laura, Certified Master Naturalist–Riverine Chapter

Laura's Barred Owl

Laura’s Barred Owl

Since moving to our new home near the Pony Pasture section of the James River Park System I’ve often woken at night to hear the low, muffled notes of a Barred owl’s call.  I’ve encountered a few on walks.  But I had yet to host one at home.

Continue reading… 

Encounters of the Weird Kind

Green Tree Frog

Green Tree Frog

Written by Catharine, Riverine Certified Master Naturalist

A green tree frog lives in my trash can. The plastic “green monster” on wheels sat empty all summer since I dumped the last rake-load of leaves & sticks from spring yard cleaning. It seemed like a good place to put some smelly trash from the kitchen until I could get to the dump. When I lifted the lid, there he clung to the side looking up at me as if to say, “Hey! Turn off the light!”

Continue reading…

 

James River Eagle Tour  

Bald Eagle Perched on Tree Limb

Bald Eagle Perched on Tree Limb

Written by Laura, Certified Master Naturalist–Riverine Chapter

I had the pleasure of participating in an early morning Eagle Tour with Discover-The-James, thanks to a Mother’s Day gift certificate. Though I bothered to use my “point n’ shoot” just once and relied on my binocs instead, I shared the ride with some photo club members from Loudoun County.  Click HERE to check out these amazing shots!  We saw innumerable egrets, nearly as many osprey, and three pairs of mature bald eagles plus two juveniles (if I kept accurate track).

 

 

An Unexpected Visitor

Rat Snake visits Larua's deck

Rat Snake visits Laura’s deck

Written by Laura, Certified Master Naturalist–Riverine Chapter

My favorite visitor of the summer and an example of what you miss if you aren’t looking (or gazing idly out of the kitchen window while washing dishes). My son and I spent quite some time watching this Rat Snake

Continue Reading…