Our guest speakers at the Chapter Members dinner meeting on March 16th were Geoff Payne, President and Lynn Wehner, Vice President of the Southside Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalist. Note that Geoff retired from Allied Chemical and has been Treasurer of the Suffolk Youth Association for the past 26 years. Also, he is President of the Nansemond River Preservation Alliance (NRPA ).
Virginia Master Naturalist is a statewide organization of volunteers providing education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities. Interested Virginians become Master Naturalists through training and volunteer service.
Geoff and Lynn spoke to us about the main activities supported by the VA. Master Naturalist Organization. He noted that many of the goals and objectives of the Master Naturalists are similar to those of the IWLA on both the National and local levels. Mr. Payne stressed that each person has an impact on the environment and can also make observations about the native animals and plants that help establish a baseline for the local climate and environments which can be used to make local, regional and nationwide decisions about how to manage our natural resources. The local chapter of VA Master Naturalists includes only about 55 members, but extends from Suffolk and Isle of Wight County to Prince George County. Statewide, the organization has over 1700 members and monitors water quality, bird migration, invasive species and provide periodic master naturalist training classes. The group also monitors water quality in the Nansemond River Watershed and works with other conservation groups like the Nansemond River Preservation Alliance to produce biannual reports on the improvement or degradation of the river and promote establishment of buffer zones along the river banks.