On January 31, 2016, Rivanna Master Naturalists gathered for their winter annual meeting and celebration of 2015 accomplishments. Board members shared some of the impressive volunteering statistics of the chapter, and members shared results of some noteworthy projects that were carried out in 2015.
In 2015, Rivanna Master Naturalists contributed more than 7,500 total hours of volunteer service. This equates to a monetary value of more than $190,000 (https://www.independentsector.org/volunteer_time). Below, we show a breakdown of those hours, how they compare to previous years, and how they compare to the statewide Virginia Master Naturalist program.
Particularly noteworthy projects in 2015 included the following:
- An outing for the Boys and Girls Club in partnership with the Ivy Creek Foundation. This program provided an outdoor educational experience for 111 children and 22 adults. It was a novel opportunity for many of the youth. 23 RMN volunteers participated, contributing 91 hours of service.
- Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program. In March, RMN volunteers joined with Chesapeake Bay Foundation volunteers to begin collecting oyster shells from local restaurants for use in oyster restoration efforts. By August, a dumpster was filled, and those shells are now being used to make new reefs that can be loaded with baby oysters (spat) in the Chesapeake Bay.
- Bluebird Nest Box Building and Monitoring. One RMN volunteer logged nearly 350 hours building more than 300 bluebird nest boxes for use across the state. An additional 29 volunteers contributed more than 600 hours monitoring local bluebird nest boxes and contributing the data to the Virginia Bluebird Society.
- 20 RMN volunteers contributed nearly 400 hours to projects in Fluvanna County, particularly at Pleasant Grove park. They educated visitors to Earth Day, County Fair, and Ag Day events, conducting citizen science projects, and assisted with a major stewardship effort to enhance the wildlife habitat at the park by installing pollinator gardens, early successional habitat, trees, and other improvements.