We are pleased to have hosted the Old Rag Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalists at the White House Farm Foundation recently. The group came out on one of the hottest mornings of the year but Jack Price, chair of the education committee and organizer of the visit, had warned members to be ready – July in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley is usually hot but the temperatures would not stop the group from exploring.
Armed with field guides, binoculars and water bottles, the group walked down the back driveway, stopping to admire the tenacity of the invasive Japanese hops and poison hemlock lining the banks of the Shenandoah River in the first section of the riparian buffer. We proceeded down Kauffmans Mill Road, turning into the field and discussed the seven management areas, each with different approaches to establishing native warm season grasses and wildflowers.
The phlox and butterfly weed which the Page County High School students planted in April was in full bloom along the new river path and the group sighed with relief at the cooler air next to the Shenandoah and in the shade of the sycamores, boxelder and osage orange trees.
The Virginia Master Naturalists have 29 chapters across the commonwealth and is a community-based natural resource volunteer program.
The training course takes six months to a year to complete and covers topics such as the biogeography of Virginia including geology and ecology, resource management principals, the general process of science, native flora and fauna and the roles the various state agencies play in the conservation and management of our natural resources.
The White House Farm Foundation is grateful to be an official partner of the Old Rag Chapter. This will allow members to assist the Foundation with projects in order to help satisfy their 40 hours of volunteer service.We are delighted at the prospect of receiving assistance from such a well-trained and interesting group of local naturalists.
With their collective knowledge and familiarity with the riparian buffer and layout of the farm, we look forward to our partnership.