Sam Droege: Bee Mythbuster

by Catherine Howell

ARMN members, Master Gardeners, and others who had the good judgment to attend an information session at Fairlington Community Center on October 10 were rewarded with two hours of advanced training––and a lot of bee-themed standup, courtesy of Sam Droege.

Photo courtesy of Caroline Hayes

Photo courtesy of Caroline Haynes

Droege, a wildlife management expert with the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab, shared his vast wisdom about North American bees, their habits, and their undisputed value as pollinators, while busting some of the myths surrounding the often-misunderstood insects.

Based at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Droege has designed and carried out surveys and inventories of birds and amphibians, but bees are his current passion. His survey efforts involve photographing hundreds of the 4,000 North American bee species at close range and high definition and making them available to researchers and the public to view and use. These stunning photos can be seen at Continue reading

Virginia Master Naturalist Photo Contest – 9/4/12 Update

9/4/12 Contest update – Voting is closed.

The winners are:

Flora – Chelone turtlehead flower with bumble bee by Catherine Howell

Fauna – Dragonfly by Christine Friedel

Thanks to our photographers and to everyone who voted!


The annual 2012 Virginia Master Naturalist Volunteer Conference and Training is just around the corner. From September 7-9, members from Master Naturalist chapters across the state will gather to share ideas and learn from each other, to participate in high-quality advanced training sessions, and to learn about a region of Virginia that may be different from their home communities.  Each chapter has been asked to submit two photos, one of native Virginia flora and one of native Virginia fauna, to a contest to be judged during the conference. Continue reading

Everyday is Earth Day for ARMN Volunteers

By Monique Wong

“Everyday is Earth Day for ARMN volunteers,” Robin Davis, ARMN Outreach Committee Chair, remarked at the April ARMN Board Meeting.

How right she is! Since ARMN’s mission is to provide environmental education, research, citizen science, outreach, and stewardship of Virginia natural resources and public lands, everyday is indeed Earth Day for all ARMN members.

Wherever you are volunteering your time on Earth Day 2012, enjoy your day, rain or shine!  E-mail to share photos, including the name of the photographer and a caption of your Earth Day 2012 volunteer service.

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Backyard Nature Photography

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By Monique Wong

When Christine Freidel moved into her home near Potomac Overlook Park five year ago, she inherited a typical suburban lawn in her backyard.  Inspired by the book “Bringing Nature Home,” Christine applied her training as a Master Naturalist and spent two years introducing native species to her backyard.

“We spotted butterflies and dragonflies almost immediately,” said Christine, “and during the first summer, different birds came to visit the native plants.  Ruby-throated hummingbirds, for example, love to nectar on our bright red Cardinal flowers.”

An avid photographer since high school, Christine enjoys nature photography.  Continue reading