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Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Complementary Work Force Program

Mission Forward; Mission Minded

News and Updates

Volume 7, September 2008

Your CWF staff at a recent DGIF Board of Director's meeting, where they were introduced to the Board and public.

Manager Tom Wilcox provided the introductions and a short presentation on the progress and accomplishments of CWF volunteers, and responded to questions from the Board. Pictured from left to right are: Jason Hallacher, Senior Fisheries Technician and Region 4 CWF Volunteer Assistant, Tom Wilcox, CWF Program Manager, Thomas Goldston, CWF Region 5 Coordinator, Susan Alger, CWF State Program Coordinator, Jim Battle, CWF Region 1 Coordinator.

State Coordinators Report

Welcome to the NEW format for the CWF News and Updates. I am sure many of you were surprised to receive the short message from the CWF Mailbox, expecting the newsletter and finding only the click-on link to our web-based page instead. Utilizing this web page, we can bring you more information, pictures, graphics, and generally spruce things up. Please let us know what you think, or if there is something you'd like us to add! We plan to begin publishing the newsletter on a quarterly basis.

Even in the heat of summer, your CWF staff is working fast and furious to bring on new volunteers and coordinate the efforts of those of you already out there in the trenches.

Our volunteers are showing their willingness to work even in the heat and humidity of our infamous Virginia summer. You aren't deterred by slippery rocks and heavy packs, or hissing geese and clouds of feathers. You are stepping up to issue more and more permits and working exhibits that crop up with ever-increasing frequency.

It seems our greatest challenge is to find volunteers willing to work in the climate-controlled conditions of our regional and headquarters offices! I suppose this is to be expected. Working in an office is not where folks envision themselves helping a fish and wildlife conservation agency. You want to "give back" and help the agency conserve our natural resources. You naturally think forests, fields, and waters, not phones, filing, or warehouse organization! The reality is that helping in these areas can be critical to fulfillment of the agency mission. Office assignments take our professional staff away from higher priority technical work they need to focus on. Helping in and around our offices also gives you the greatest opportunities to interact with our professional staff from all Divisions. Becoming familiar with our employees means you gain more knowledge about the agency and the roles each employee plays, and it gives you the inside edge when it comes to being asked to join in plum assignments in the field. It can also help you learn more about careers in the agency; give you valuable work experience, and the opportunity to see what interests you most in the professions. You are also apt to learn where all those great fishing spots are, what's new at our Wildlife Management Areas, what the forecast is for the coming hunting season, and lots of little tips and tricks that VDGIF staff have learned from years in the field. Plus, since you're volunteering during the week, you'll still have your weekends open to use your new-found knowledge enjoying the great outdoors! Call your Region Coordinator to learn more about these positions. There is a list of them in the "Available Assignments" section at the end of this newsletter.

What's in a Name?

With the initiation of our new web format, I've been struggling to come up with a catchy name and banner for this newsletter. Do you have any suggestions? Please send them to me at: Susan.Alger@dgif.virginia.gov

Mileage Reimbursement

By now, active volunteers in should have received an email explaining the new mileage reimbursement procedure. For your convenience, we've included the reimbursement form (XLS or PDF) and instructions (PDF), as well as the Taxpayer ID form (PDF) that must be on file in order for DGIF to make payments. If you have any questions or comments about the forms, directions, or process, don't hesitate to contact us.

Individual Time Reports

A new web-based method of completing your Individual Time Reports is in the works. In the meantime, we are rolling out a new Excel format that should be easier for you to complete (either in Excel (XLS) or in hard copy (PDF).) Please let us have your feedback on this ITR form and instructions (PDF), too!

Sign Up for the Outdoor Report

Many of you learned about the Complementary Work Force Program through your subscription to our agency's online publication "The Outdoor Report". If this is the first you've heard of it, well, let me tell you, you are missing out on a great resource! The Outdoor Report is a FREE online newsletter that comes out twice a month. It features information about DGIF, upcoming events, news releases, research projects, people and partners in the news, tips and tricks, and much more. It's a great way to stay current on all the hot topics related to wildlife and fisheries management, conservation law enforcement efforts, upcoming classes and programs, boating safety information, and MORE. We invite you to sign up now!

Profile of a CWF Volunteer

Teresa Crocker is a native of Hampton, VA. She is married to Will and together they have one daughter, Krystal. Teresa holds a B.S. Degree in Health Administration from Leo University. She serves as Vice President of Campaign and Resource Development for United Way of the Virginia Peninsula where she has worked for the past 21 years. Teresa, Will, and Krystal are all animal lovers and there are 2 dogs, 2 cats, 1 ferret, 2 cockatiels, 1 hamster, and 5 guinea hens making up the household. WOW…

Teresa became interested in the Complementary Work Force Program through her participation in the DGIF sponsored Mother-Daughter Weekend held each year in Farmville. Teresa and her 17 year old daughter, Krystal, have participated in the event for the past 5 years. She is an active member of the CWF Program and has been involved in several volunteer activities. She is currently providing valuable volunteer service in the Crop Damage Inspection/Kill Permit program in the county of Isle of Wight in Region I. She is not afraid to go into the field and has been a valuable asset to the program since she was certified as a volunteer.

In addition to her work in the DGIF-CWF program, Teresa volunteers with the SPCA. She enjoys traveling, dog training, bowling, counted cross-stitch, and quilting. As anyone can see, she is active and involved. She is a role model for her daughter and other young persons in her community and across the state. The CWF program is growing by leaps and bounds because of volunteers like Teresa and we appreciate the contribution she is making. Teresa is making a difference. We say thank you and WOW again.

Jim Battle
Region I CWF Coordinator

Volunteer Program Is Making a Positive Impact

What is a Volunteer to do?

The short answer is, volunteers do just about any and everything asked. In Region 5, the Complementary Work Force (CWF) volunteers are actively engaged providing support and assistance for DGIF Law Enforcement, Biology, Wildlife, and, Information and Education Divisions. For the months of April, May, June, and July the volunteers are on track to surpass 600 hours of service.

By far, volunteers are having a very real impact as they work with Region 5 CPO's to complete crop damage inspections and issue deer kill permits. CWF members completed 125 site inspections for deer kill permits for the months of April, May, and June of this year. The assumption of responsibility for crop damage and kill permit issuing is a clear example of how the work of the CWFP volunteers is freeing up CPO hours for other law enforcement issues. If you, conservatively, assign one hour for each inspection CPO's have appreciated a gain of 125 hours in opportunity to address other key hunting and boating safety and law enforcement issues during the April, May and June of this year.

Other work projects and locations include, trash clean up at Phelps Wildlife Management Area, goose banding in Louisa and Orange Counties, creel sampling in Prince William County, trout stocking in Clarke County, trout sampling in Albemarle, Green, and Madison Counties, and work with the Prince William Conservation Alliance to get the Merrimac Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Stone House, cleaned and spruced up for it's opening to the general public.

North to South from Loudoun to Powhatan, East to West from Henrico to Greene, the region 5, CWF volunteers are saying, "We do." As CWFP Coordinator for Region 5, I am thrilled to be working with so many eager and talented individuals.

Thomas Goldston, Region 5 Coordinator
DGIF Complementary Work Force Program

The Complementary Work Force: A Success Story in Region 4

As an environmental steward, volunteering has always been a part of my life. It is well known that if you choose to become a professional in the environmental field, you will need to get as much experience as possible by any means necessary. My volunteer experience includes working with endangered squirrels on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, feeding exotic cats at a preserve in Pennsylvania, and trapping geese, deer, and raccoons with the PA Game Commission. All of this effort was put forth to achieve my career goals. Now that I finally have the opportunity to call myself a professional, I was pretty excited when the Complementary Work Force (CWF) was created and brought to my attention. Here was an opportunity for me to help other students get the experience they needed for the future. Another great component of the CWF program is that it not only caters to students, but to all members of the Commonwealth. In our work area we actually have more retired CWF members than we do student members. Before I describe the success we have had with this program, a little background of Region 4 is needed.

As a Senior Fisheries Technician much of my job from October to June, involves stocking trout. Fish stocking takes a considerable amount of manpower and communication between the three divisions of our agency Fisheries, Wildlife, and Law Enforcement. Because of time constraints on each division, we were starting to see a loss of support at each stocking location. This is where CWF came in. The plan was to have CWF members assist the hatchery staff stock the fish, effectively filling in the gaps where manpower was lacking. At first I was a little apprehensive. Stocking, as many of you well know, is a very hush - hush operation. How could we be sure that these "volunteers" weren't out for their own gain? How committed could a group of retired citizens and students be to the agency's mission? The more I learned about the extensive background checks and application process, the more I started to think positively about the CWF members stocking. The real selling point for me, personally, was when I finally sat down with each individual member, and learned how dedicated they were to the resources of the Commonwealth. They further proved their dedication in the field. It didn't matter if it was sunny, raining, sleeting, or snowing, the Region 4 CWF members were up for the task. They were the definition of the "can do" generation, soon to be nicknamed the "Fabulous Five". As more members joined and obtained experience, we soon realized that our presence at all the stockings was no longer needed. Personally, I had double the time to sample in the field, make equipment repairs, plan research projects, and educate the public.

By December, the CWF members ran like a well oiled machine. Not only did they work well together, but we started to see some friendships develop from them spending so much time together. Some of the members stocked trout up to 4 times a week! Thanks to Frank "The Meat Man" Showalter, we also had delicious lunches provided on many occasions. It's always a good idea to befriend an owner of a slaughter house. I also started hearing fishing stories from the group going on afternoon outings after volunteering. You can't always believe the stories, but that doesn't make them any less memorable. The program was slowly turning into much more than just an opportunity to volunteer.

Once we saw how successful the members were at stocking fish we tried to challenge them with new opportunities. Lake Shenandoah was their first challenge. This urban lake gets a tremendous amount of recreational pressure from the city of Harrisonburg, and unfortunately has a fair amount of litter in and around the perimeter of the reservoir. So, in an effort to make the lake a little more presentable we decided to host a cleanup day starring CWF. I was hoping to get one or two members to "take the bait" and pick up a few garbage bags of trash. After a few days I was convinced that they would tire of it and be ready for some more trout stocking. I was wrong. Every member available signed up and helped remove 1.5 tons of trash around the entire perimeter of the lake! Every piece of litter was bagged and trucked to the landfill. We saw everything from bottles and bags to piles of old tires and lawn chairs, it didn't matter everything had to go. I was blown away by their dedication. From then on we included the members in a variety of jobs involving fisheries research, distributing kill permits, and assisting the office staff.

In closing, I would like to thank all the members of CWF in Region 4 and across the Commonwealth. Your commitment to this agency and the natural resources we manage are unprecedented. With your continued support I am confident that we can accomplish many great things in the near future. I continue to admire the dedication of all the members in Region 4 and look forward to opportunities to work with our CWF members in the near future. Thanks again.

Jason Hallacher
Senior Fisheries Technician
CWF Volunteer Assistant

Available Assignments

Here are just a few of the assignments we are trying to fill, including some you may have already seen at the website. Contact the highlighted Region Coordinator to participate!

Urgent Need in Region 4!

Current and pending volunteers in Region 4 are sought who are willing to assist in the collection of deer heads from hunters at two locations in Frederick and Shenandoah Counties (Graden's Supermarket and Gore Grocery) on Nov. 1st, 15th, 17th, and/or Jan. 3rd. This is part of a mandatory effort to collect specimens for Chronic Wasting Disease testing, in proximity to the latest case just over the line in West Virginia. While the disease has not been found in the Virginia deer herd, this latest West Virginia find has activated Virginia's aggressive CWD Action Plan. Volunteers should be willing to participate in the actual removal of specimen heads and preservation of heads for transport and testing. Additional collections of specimens from hunt clubs, landowners, and road kills may also be scheduled if these dates do not yield the targeted specimen numbers. Equipment and instruction will be provided. Contact Susan Alger, State Coordinator ASAP, for more information, to volunteer, or to request that your application be fast-tracked for this priority need.

Regular or Seasonal Needs

  • Range Attendants for Wildlife Management Area firearms ranges in Regions 1, 2 and 5, starting early this fall. Chester Phelps WMA in Fauquier County (Goldston), Amelia WMA in Amelia County (Battle)
  • Conservation Police Officer Academy Office Assistant in Richmond Headquarters (Battle)
  • Wildlife Damage Inspectors are still a priority need in Albemarle County in Region 5 (Goldston), and on the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck for Lancaster, King George, and Northumberland Counties (Battle).
  • Labor for Powhatan Lakes pier and walkway construction, trail building and more. (Battle)
  • Region Office Assistants for Region 1, Charles City Co. (Battle) and Region 5, Fredericksburg (Goldston)
  • Hunter Ed. Office Assistant, in Richmond Headquarters (Battle)
  • Boat and Vehicle Maintenance Volunteers in Charles City County and Chesapeake (Battle) and in Fredericksburg (Goldston)
  • Team Leader and Work Project volunteers on Merrimac Farms WMA, in Prince William County. (Goldston)
  • Chickahominy WMA, Attendants in Charles City County for upkeep and maintenance needs (Battle)
  • Hog Island Waterfowl Hunt Attendants - dates TBD w/ waterfowl seasons, Saturdays, from mid-Nov. through January. (Battle)

Short-term Needs and Upcoming Events

  • Public Dove Hunt Attendants, New Kent Forestry Center, September 1, 6, 13, 2008 (Battle)
  • NatureFest Exhibit, in Herndon—Sept. 21, 2008. (Goldston/Alger)
  • Ragged Island WMA clean up - Date to Be Announced. (Battle)
  • General Maintenance Volunteers - Region 5 office warehouse in Fredericksburg. Help move, assemble, and rearrange storage cabinets and bins and organize materials. Involves lifting, bending, standing. The total project will require 4-6 volunteers working weekdays, as scheduled, preferably between 8:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. until the work is completed. (Goldston)
  • VDOT SAFETY Day Exhibit - Sept. 11, 2008, in Colonial Heights (Battle)
  • Eastern Big Game Show Exhibit - Sept. 13 & 14, 2008 in town of Franklin (Battle)
  • Chickahominy Pow Wow - Sept. 27th set up, Sept. 29th event, in Charles City (Battle)

Contact Us

Susan Alger
State Coordinator
P.O. Box 481 ~ Herndon, VA 20172
Susan.Alger@dgif.virginia.gov
(703) 481-2102

Jim Battle
Region I Coordinator
3801 John Tyler Memorial Hwy. ~ Charles City, VA 23030
Jim.Battle@dgif.virginia.gov
(804) 829-6580

Thomas Goldston
Region 5 Coordinator
1320 Belman Rd. ~ Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Thomas.Goldston@dgif.virginia.gov
(540) 899-4169

Jason Hallacher
Region 4 Senior Fisheries Technician & CWF Volunteer Assistant
P.O. Box 996 ~ Verona, VA 24482
Jason.Hallacher@dgif.virginia.gov
(540) 248-9385