Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Complementary Work Force Program

Mission Forward; Mission Minded

News and Updates

Volume 11, January 2010

In This Edition:

State Coordinators Report

By Susan Alger, CWF Program State Coordinator

Cold and Cloudy, With Some Rays of Sunshine

Hello Everyone!

I hope you all enjoyed the fall and the holiday seasons and are now off to a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year. I'd like to wish the same for the National and State economy, but while there are some bright spots on the horizon, it looks like we are still in for a period of gloomy financial weather. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is no exception. We wait, along with other state agencies, to see how great an impact the current and expected fiscal situation will have on our operations and services. The role our volunteers can play looms large in our planning to do more with the people and resources we have available. Your efforts are invaluable to us. You are our rays of sunshine, and certainly our treasures at the end of the rainbow. Our agency is lucky to have so many dedicated people willing to share their time and talents with us. With your help, we will weather the storm.

I am delighted to announce that as of this newsletter edition, we have 4 volunteers who have exceeded 600 hours of service to the Department. This in 2 years or less as active members! Congratulations gentlemen. Well done!

Region 4
Frank Showalter—636 hours
Bob Stover—606 hours

Region 5
John Hutchinson—635 hours
Tim Hall—608 hours

In this issue, we return to reports from our Region Coordinators spotlighting people and recent activities in each region. We also share some of the personal experiences, articles, and photos sent in by our staff and volunteers, and encourage YOU to write to us with any stories or pictures you'd like to share about your VDGIF volunteer experience.

While we all hunker down and wait for the winter deep freeze to thaw, read on to learn about just some of the ways your fellow volunteers have been involved.

I'll end my report with a few photos of some young folks whose lives our volunteers have touched.

As always, thank you for all you do. It's an honor working with each of you.

Important Update

Chronic Wasting Disease Confirmed in Sample from Test Site in Frederick County, Virginia

Region 1 Report

By Jim Battle, CWF Region I Coordinator

The Dynamo Twins

Henry (Hank) Grizzard and Robert (Bob) Clark came into the Complementary Work Force program in the spring of 2008. Suffice it to say, they hit the ground running. Both of these gentlemen, whom I affectionately refer to as "road dogs", are retirees and have a history of volunteer service. They both have military and civil service experience and bring a wealth of knowledge and skills to the program. They live within holl'in distance of each other in Prince George county and typically work together as CWF volunteers.

Hank and Bob are not shy about getting involved. They will and have signed on to a variety of volunteer and training opportunities. They take on projects from exhibit staffing across the board to crop damage inspections and managed hunts. Their major impact has been public facilities maintenance. They volunteer on a regular basis at the Chickahominy, Princess Ann, and Hog Island WMA's. The public facilities management staff can not praise them enough. Hank recently participated in building a new porch for the Fisheries house at Airfield Lake in Southampton County. In addition to their zest to serve and give back, they both have infectious personalities. They have a wealth of knowledge and background about south side Virginia and can talk for hours about what has transpired through the years. They know the biggest and oldest trees in the county to the history of the rivers that run through eastern south side Virginia. When you engage them, be prepared to spend a while, as you get captivated by their stories and experiences.

The Complementary Work Force program, without a doubt, is better because of Hank and Bob. Volunteers in the mode of these gentlemen have enabled CWF to become a force in VDGIF in a short period of time. We appreciate their dedication to the program and their willingness to make a difference. Hank and Bob are the consummate CWF prototype and when they say they want to give back and make a difference, THEY DO.


Region 4 Report

By Wanda Wilson CWF Region 4 Coordinator

Coursey Springs Dedication Features the Fab Five!

On December 17th, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries hosted a dedication ceremony for completion of the Coursey Springs Trout Cultural Station in Bath County. This facility, the largest trout production facility in the state, has been closed for two years for construction of a new state-of-the-art trout rearing station. The project is the largest capital outlay project ever undertaken by the Department.

Present for the dedication were high level Department staff from Richmond, representatives of the Governor's office, past facility managers, Department employees involved in the operation of Coursey Springs, as well as many local residents.

Coursey Springs provides one of their largest volunteer opportunities for our Region IV CWF volunteers, in the form of trout stocking assistance. As usual, they were in the thick of things at the dedication. Frank Showalter, of Rockingham County, agreed to provide the buffet luncheon for the event and had as his assistant chefs, fellow volunteers Bob Stover, Garland Kinzie, Charlie Grady and French Simmons, or the "Fab Five," as they jokingly refer to themselves. So, on one of the coldest days of the year, with the threat of a "major snow event" on the way, these volunteers loaded up the trucks and headed out to Bath County. As always, they persevered and came through for the Department! They did a "fab"ulous job. The crowd was treated to a delicious buffet luncheon consisting of BBQ, coleslaw, broccoli salad, a delicious bean dish and a variety of homemade pies. No one went away hungry! The approximate 90 attendees had nothing but great comments.

I was on hand, along with Karen Austin, Administrative Assistant for Region IV Wildlife/Fisheries, to assist with the operation. Everyone worked hard and had lots of fun while getting the job done.

Region IV staff so appreciates all of the volunteers in Region IV for what they do to assist in the overall operation of the Region and the Department as a whole. Needless to say, the Region IV staff also appreciates the fun and smiles the volunteers bring to everyone along the way. What wonderful ambassadors they are for DGIF.

Region 5 Report

By Thomas Goldston, CWF Region 5 Coordinator

CWF Volunteers Collect Data for Big WMA and Range User Study

Volunteers with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries - Complementary Work Force are engaged in a yearlong data-gathering project. The Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and Range User Survey project is collecting information related to: frequency of visits, activities pursued on the WMA's, user suggestions for improving service and access, and user feedback on current management techniques and overall land resource management objectives.

This project entails collecting information from 10 WMA and range sites throughout the State. 460 surveys were recorded on the dove opening day on September 5, 2009 and 375 for the archery opening day on October 3, 2009. The on-site interviews will continue through the end of August 2010. Data collected is used for planning and resource management for the respective WMA's and ranges.

Here in Region 5, volunteers Kyla Knudson, John McMann, Tim Hall, Richard Leach, Dick Elliott, and James Worden have been doing yeoman's duty as survey clerks for the project. Volunteer, Kyla Knudson reports, "I had a blast at the WMA Phelps Survey on Saturday." Kyla worked Phelps for the Dove Opening on October 3rd. Volunteer Rich Leach says, "I think the best thing about doing the surveys is just talking to all the folks out there. I've talked to hunters, fisherman, bikers, joggers, and hikers. The thing I find funny is the question that people have the hardest time with, 'What's your age?' People pause for 30 seconds to stop and think about it."

WMA User Survey Coordinator, Amy Carrozzino, states, "To add my own take on things- we have had several volunteers,..., who have been "repeat" helpers on our opening days this fall. I have received nothing but rave reviews from DGIF staff and the Virginia Tech technicians working with them about their dedication and professionalism while working on the project. It's clear that such a huge effort as this could not have been achieved this fall without CWF help."

This ongoing project is always looking for additional "boots on the ground". If you have some time and really want to hear from folks that are out and about hunting, fishing, hiking, birding, and enjoying nature on the Wildlife Management Areas, contact your Region Coordinator to learn more about upcoming opportunities to help.


All In A Day's Work For Our Volunteers... From Our Email

CWF Volunteers Battle Litter Bugs On South River

By Jason Hallacher, Senior Fisheries Technician

September 11th, a day that will live in infamy within all of us. Although this day will always be a somber one, I was happy to lead eight of our extremely dedicated volunteers in the first annual South River Cleanup. Organized by our Regional Fisheries Biologist Paul Bugas, the day was planned not only to put a dent in the accumulation of trash in the river, but also to partake in President Obama's National Day of Service and Remembrance. Although I was pleased to see a great turnout of CWF members, we were not alone. Forty three other volunteers came out to support our efforts including other state agencies, universities, nature conservancies, local municipalities, and area residents.

The morning started with a hardy breakfast and a plan. To cover twenty two miles of river we would have two prongs of attack. The first involved a ground assault on all the public parks within the city limits. The second involved seven teams in canoes, floating specified reaches of South River. Folks on foot would concentrate on the river banks and then assist with trash removal. Volunteers in canoes had the tedious job of filling their vessels with garbage without overloading and tipping. Since CWF is such a diverse group we split up our guys into a land based crew and a stream team.

I had the pleasure of working with Steve Demma and Fred Keeling on the river. Both were very skilled at steering canoes solo. As soon as we put on the water we immediately started making an impact. It is incredible how many plastic bottles and aluminum cans can accumulate on the river bottom and inside log snags. It quickly became a contest to see who could find the most outlandish object. Among the most memorable were numerous tires, a plastic raft, a computer monitor, lawn chairs, and some type of large mowing blade. Within approximately two hours our canoes were filled to the brim and we finally had to call it quits. Slowly and carefully we rowed our new found treasure to the take out. After another two hours of paddling through low water conditions and dragging our canoes through shallow riffles, we finally made it to our destination. Dry land never felt so good. As we topped off the dump truck with our numerous bags of trash and watched it glide across the scale at the landfill, a sense of pride filled us all. We had just removed 2 tons of trash from one of the most beautiful rivers in the Commonwealth. What a way to spend the day and what a difference we made!

I continue to be inspired by the CWF "can do" work ethic. Thanks to all that came out to volunteer with us and I can't wait until round two next year. Thanks for all that you do, and keep up the good work.

An October Scouting Weekend in Fluvanna

By Marika Byrd, Volunteer Region 1

No dampened spirits were found at Pleasant Grove Park in Fluvanna County where more than 1,000 Scouts participated in an activities-filled weekend. Jeff Gieser, Activities Chair for the Monticello District, Stonewall Jackson Area Council Boy Scouts of America, noted that several hundred Cub Scouts, with extended families, came prepared to brave the wet ground, breezy, overcast weather, and dropping temperatures, on Saturday, October 17, for an adventurous field day event.

Jack Bellamy and Marika Byrd, VDGIF Complementary Work Force Program volunteers, were part of the activities. Bellamy demonstrated archery and turkey calling to excited Cubs; some tried using the callers, as squeals abounded. He provided an exhibit of a fanned wild turkey tail, two beards, and several pairs of legs and feet, about a dozen sets of white-tailed deer antlers along with a big, mounted stag head, which delighted the small groups as they rotated through the stations.

Byrd showed and talked about the barn owl, northern river otter, tiny white-tailed fawn, and black bear cub mounts. After the scouts attentively listened and observed the mounts, they eagerly went for the hands-on exhibit as family members photographed the "antlered dancing cubs."

The Virginia State Police were there with their armored vehicle and the turret open. The scouts enjoyed climbing inside and surveying the terrain from the vehicle top. Buster, the bomb sniffing dog, gave a demonstration for the whole group. No one dared to go forward and reward Buster for a hard, well-done job, according to Gieser.

Each pack set up games, which tested balance, agility, and dexterity skills; the troops gained knowledge for and about themselves as they rotated among the various stations.

Gieser reports that, "Parents spoke highly of the VDGIF volunteers. The boys loved it."

A Bigger Target

By John McMann, Volunteer, Region 5

I have been working at the Phelps WMA and the shooting range on a regular basis for over a year. So far I have participated in 2 survey days at the range and am looking forward to several more. When I greet someone coming to the WMA I always ask them if they will give me a few minutes before they leave to complete the user survey. I make a point of telling them there are no wrong or right answers and there are no grades given. We just want to know their likes and dislikes to help serve them better. This has worked well for me as folks want to help.

It is amazing the diversity of users we have. All nationalities, all backgrounds and ages from 8 to 80 enjoy the range. It is equally amazing that complete strangers using the range usually end up sharing their knowledge, goals and interests with everyone there. I have seen many unusual friendships develop and made some of those myself. It is great fun to watch and sometimes help an entire family enjoy themselves, and I get to watch future generations who will love the outdoors and wildlife and are being well taught. Hope to see YOU there soon!

Two Great Resources for Agency Information

The Outdoor Report

The Outdoor Report is a wonderful FREE online publication produced by DGIF and Editor David Coffman (A long-time supporter of CWF volunteers). The report is a great way to learn more about what's happening around the state regarding outdoor news, upcoming events, and subjects of interest to outdoor enthusiasts. Subscribe here.

The Trapline

The Trapline is DGIF Director Bob Duncan's periodic e-newsletter sent to all agency staff and Board members. Click here to read the latest edition of this very informative newsletter describing the current efforts of our staff and volunteers as they strive to meet the mission of our Department. There are highlights from the work of our conservation police officers, biologists, educators, volunteers and others, making this a must-read for everyone who cares about what we do!

Available Assignments

(Click on the Coordinator's name to volunteer or learn more)

Regular or Seasonal Needs

  • Office Assistants in Richmond HQ and Charles City Offices—ongoing (Battle).
  • Dispatch Aides in Richmond HQ—assist in our radio communications office with administrative tasks in support of our agency dispatchers (Battle).
  • Shooting Range Attendants needed at Amelia Wildlife Management Area—provide onsite presence at the range, perform range and grounds maintenance, repair or replace wooden target frames, greet the public, be mindful of public safety (Battle).
  • Trout Stocking, Regions 4 and 5, monthly assignments through April of 2010 (Wilson)(Goldston).
  • Pettigrew WMA Assistants, Caroline County—Volunteers to assist with maintenance and clean up efforts. Set your own hours. Work solo or with a crew. Duties may include sign construction and repair, building nest boxes, trail and boundary marking, mowing, planting, stocking kiosks, picking up trash, and more (Goldston).
  • Ragged Island WMA, Monthly Clean Up Events, beginning April 2010. Dates will be based on volunteer availability (Battle).
  • WMA crews on C. F. Phelps, Rapidan, G. Richard Thompson, Weston, and Merrimac Farm in Region 5. Additional volunteers needed for these crews. Click to see the CWF Region 5 WMA program task list.

Short-term Needs and Upcoming Events

  • Wood Duck Boxes on Region 5 WMA's. Woodworkers are needed for immediate construction and placement of 40+ boxes. If you would like to learn more or volunteer for this project contact: Joe Ferdinandsen, WMA Supervisor, or Tommy Willingham, Wildlife Technician, directly. They can be reached via email or at the Phelps WMA Work Center, 540-439-8506—January to March, 2010 (Goldston).
  • WMA and WMA Range User Surveys—All Regions, (Monthly dates through the end of August 2010) (Battle)(Goldston)(Wilson).
  • National Archery in the Schools Championship, Expoland, Augusta County, February 27, 2010 (Battle).
  • Managed Youth Goose Hunt, Southhampton County, February 2010 (Battle).
  • Kids' Fishing Day—Occoquan Nat'l Wildlife Refuge—May 15, 2010 (Goldston).
  • Region 1 New Volunteer Orientation and Wildlife Damage Inspection Training, Charles City—March 6, 2010 (Battle).

Contact Us

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

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

Wanda Wilson
Region 4 Coordinator
P.O. Box 996 ~ Verona, VA 24482
(540) 248-9360

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