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Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Complementary Work Force Program

Mission Forward; Mission Minded

News and Updates

Volume 12, April 2010

In This Edition:

State Coordinators Report

By Susan Alger, CWF Program State Coordinator

Susan Alger, circa 1993, photo taken while serving as Vice President of the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association.

Well folks, there is no easy way for me to say this. This will be my last newsletter report as CWF State Coordinator. After 30 years of service, I am retiring from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. My last regular work day will be April 22nd and my "official" date is May 9th.

It has been quite a journey, starting out at the tender young age of 21 as one of two women who were the first female game wardens ever hired in Virginia, wrapping up my final years as a seasoned veteran, and "woman of a certain age," with a wildly successful new volunteer program for the agency. What a ride! I am honored to have worked with some of the most dedicated professionals and volunteers in the field of wildlife, fisheries, and boating resource management, education, and enforcement. I have the deepest respect for the work being done by VDGIF personnel, from the banks of the Eastern Shore, to the offices in Richmond, to the mountains of Southwest, to the suburbs of Northern Virginia. That respect is borne of the passion our folks show for the work they do, and it is what drove my desire to develop a volunteer program that would assist in our mission. You, our volunteers, are the fruit of that effort, and in three short years, you have exceeded my wildest dreams in becoming an integral part of the VDGIF family. I am so proud of you!

I cherish not just your efforts for the agency, but also your acquaintance and friendship. I am blessed to have come to know so many of you personally, and to call you friends. I will miss you. So much, in fact, that I may just have to volunteer now and then!

While I may be ready to wrap up my career at VDGIF, I am certainly not ready to be put to pasture, or end a life-long commitment to community service. That is why I will be starting a new career as the Community Resources Coordinator at a local social services non-profit organization. It promises to be a fast-paced, ever-changing environment, with lots of opportunities to interact with volunteers, as we work together to help those most in need in our community. So, while the venue may change, I'll still be working with folks who have a passion for what they do, and who express a desire I've heard from so many of you in explaining why you volunteer. We are all grateful for what we have, and want to give something back to the resource and to our communities.

As always, I thank you for all you do. It has been my great privilege to know you!

Region 1 Report

By Jim Battle, CWF Region I Coordinator

Region I Work Force Activities/Events: Answering the Call

In this edition's region report, I'd like to highlight the many recent instances where our CWF volunteers have answered the call for assistance. This demonstrates the many and varied ways that our volunteers are providing service to VDGIF.

VDGIF Executive Director, Bob Duncan, joins CWF Volunteers James Lam, Sally Stockslager and Len Ziegler as they work to sign up folks for the Outdoor Report at the 2010 Fishing Expo in Richmond.

Region I volunteers began the 3rd quarter supporting the Richmond Fishing Expo at the Richmond Raceway Complex in Henrico County. Twenty three CWF volunteers participated in this event, with 19 coming from Region I and four from Region V. Outstanding participation and a job well done!

The next volunteer opportunity came by request from the Dispatch Office, Richmond HQ. We had five volunteers respond to the call, and we met in Richmond on January 12 for orientation and training. CWF volunteers are now providing valuable service in the Dispatch office and are enjoying the experience. Thanks to the volunteers, Ms. Lorraine Bass, Becky Perdue, Jim Croft and her staff for taking part in the training!

The Wildlife Division in Region I (Phil West & Todd Engelmeyer) began their end-of-the-season deer jaw bone data collection from specimens brought in by hunt clubs participating in DMAP. Dean Miller, Robert Covington, and Sonia Snodgrass answered the call on February 22nd; they completed in one day what would have taken the Biologist a week to complete working alone (see photo insert).

Aaron Proctor (Wildlife Biologist) staged a Youth Goose Hunt at the Southampton County Correctional Farm. David Witt and Donald Miller were on hand to assist. Great work was accomplished by these gentlemen.

On February 27, the VA State NASP (National Archery in the Schools Program) championship was held in Fishersville at the Expoland complex. Three CWF volunteers (and myself) from Region I participated in the event. Volunteers from Regions IV and V participated as well and we all had a long but thoroughly rewarding day. Warwick High School (Newport News) was the state championship team in the high school division.

March 6 was a big day in Region I. We held our annual new volunteer orientation and training in crop damage inspection/kill permit issuance. We trained 15 new volunteers for participation in crop damage inspections. Hank Grizzard served as chef extraordinaire for the event.

CWF also provided exhibit staffing at the VA Living Museum in Newport News on March 6. This event hosted Girl Scout troops from the Tidewater Region, and volunteers Teresa Crocker and Millicent Dill were the CWF VDGIF representatives. They did a great job showcasing the capabilities of CWF volunteers and providing the girls with excellent female role models active in natural resources management.

Volunteers recently stepped in to provide office assistance at the Region I office during the time the office manager was out on sick leave. A big help, thanks to all. The Region I office played host to the formation meeting for the "Friends of the Chickahominy WMA on March 16th (see related article) and many current CWF volunteers were in attendance.

Region 4 Report

Submitted By Wanda Wilson CWF Region 4 Coordinator

Happy Spring Everyone! I hope you are enjoying the changing seasons and the opportunity to get outside. I've asked two of our newer volunteers, Lance and Jill Morrow to provide the following report on their unique volunteer experience with VDGIF. I hope you enjoy hearing about their work.

Lance Morrow holding adult golden eagle. Photo by Jill Morrow.

Signing onto the Virginia Inland Eagle Project

By Lance & Dr. Jill Morrow

About 14 years ago we sold everything we had in Virginia and moved to Wyoming. We had plans to live in Wyoming for only a year because we wanted to see four complete seasons of life there. One year in Wyoming suddenly became six years. The state was truly a wonderland for us as biologists and bird banders. We studied mountain bluebirds (Sialia currucoides), gray-crowned rosy finches (Leucosticte tephrocotis), cliff swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota), shrikes and birds of prey. Of all these birds, the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) was our favorite. We monitored 35 nest locations in Wyoming and banded all the young golden eagles produced by these nests each year. Also, during the winter months we captured and banded as many golden eagles as possible.

What dimmed this wild wonderland for us was an ever-worsening, seven-year drought that began the year after we moved to Wyoming. Toward the end of this drought all our golden eagle pairs had stopped breeding in the sites we monitored there. This lack of raptors to study broke our hearts and we moved back to Virginia.

Five years later, in late 2009, the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries initiated The Virginia Inland Eagle Project, and we were recruited to work on it because of our extensive eagle research experience. We have never looked back. The Virginia Inland Eagle Project is aimed at observing and capturing eagles that are wintering in Virginia to document usage of various habitats. When we catch an eagle the team marks the bird with leg bands, wing tags, and telemetry to follow its movements. In addition, we assess each eagle's health, take measurements, note age and gender, and collect samples to monitor lead and mercury levels. This information will help Virginia to better protect these large raptors by understanding their habitat requirements in winter and where they travel throughout the year.

In October we started making eagle traps and associated gear as well as updating the Department's existing electronic trapping gear. In November we picked up depredation deer carcasses that had been harvested by USDA to protect an airport. Then we began making contact with landowners who we thought would be a valuable asset to the eagle project. We chose people who would protect the eagles once we'd lured them in with a deer carcass and who could also keep a diary of their eagle observations. We were shocked to find out that by the second day virtually all deer carcasses we set out had between one and ten eagles feeding on them! Our landowner/observers were delighted and stunned as they had been given this rare chance to see these magnificent eagles up close on their own property.

We coordinate closely with the landowners to choose a day for trapping their eagles. Once we catch eagles on these landowners' properties we take the birds up to them for photographs and show & tell. It's a dual role we are playing as volunteers for the Department: scientific eagle research and public education. Both are equally rewarding.

Region 5 Report

By Thomas Goldston, CWF Region 5 Coordinator

A "Bill" of Exceptional Knowledge, Character, and Personality!

Bill Hutchinson is a hands-on kind of guy.  Here is has one of many construction projects well underway.  Photo by Thomas Goldston.

What do you get when you cross a West Virginia bloodline, with 24 years in the Navy, 34 years as a Communication Tech, and 15 years as an Auxiliary Police Officer?

You get, John William (Bill) Hutchinson, Region 5, Complementary Work Force Volunteer. As self-described, Bill is the person that treats you like a lifelong friend from the first meeting. A firm handshake establishes right off that this is a man of character and grit, a storyteller with lots of real life experiences that enable a speaker narrative that could go on and on. To his credit, Bill does pause on occasion to allow questions or commentary.

Bill relates: "As a child growing up in the coal camps of West Virginia, we did not have any organized outdoor activities outside of school. This free time gave me opportunities to roam the hills, forest, and streams around my house. My interest was sparked in all things related to the outdoors. With the help and understanding of my wife, Ethel, and family, I have been able to further these interests with my involvement via the VDGIF Complementary Work Force Program".

Aside from the three careers, Bill is a husband of 37 years with two children. He calls Gordonsville Virginia home, though quick to remind all that his roots are in West Virginia.

Bill is a whiz with just about anything mechanical, and he is an avid angler and outdoor enthusiast. The number of stories he has to tell only exceeds his knowledge of great fishing spots.

Bill is not one to let the grass grow under his feet. From the hills and hallows of West Virginia, to the backcountry of Central Virginia, more than likely Bill has been there. There are few states that he has not visited. Other countries? Vietnam, Cambodia, Italy, Great Britain, Japan, yep, he has been there, too.

As a CWF worker, Bill's is ever building his professional career resume. Captain Joe Pajic, Region 5 Manager refers to the Retired Senior Master Chief as, "a go-to guy." "Just tell him what needs to be taken care of and he gets it done." This volunteer, like so many other CWF members, is recognized for excellence, dependability, and multi-tasking. Bill is one of four volunteers who recently exceeded 600 hours of service in the program. Whether helping assemble evidence cages in the Region 5 Warehouse, building shelves using discarded lumber, repairing generators, shredding old records, stocking trout, ferrying vehicles to Richmond for radio updates, or responding to requests for deer kill permits, Bill does it all and does it all well.

Thanks Bill. We really do like having you around!

A Growing Gallery of Volunteers Surpasses 600 Hours of Service in CWF

Frank Showalter, Region 4, Photo by Jason Hallacher. Bob Stover, Region 4, Photo by Jason Hallacher.

Bill Hutchinson, Region 5, Photo by Thomas Goldston. Tim Hall, Region 5, Photo by Susan Alger.

Roger Brown, Region 5.  Its not easy finding a picture of CWFs stalwart photographer and trout stocker, so we went back to the source!  Photo self portrait by Roger Brown.

CWF Volunteer Awards and Recognition Events

Please join us for your Region Volunteer Awards and Recognition Event. It's our small way of saying thank you for the valuable service you perform for us. Contact your Region Coordinator for more details.

  • Region 5—May 1, 2010, Fredericksburg, Ryan's Family Restaurant
  • Region 1—May 15, 2010, Williamsburg, Golden Corral Restaurant
  • Region 4—May 19, 2010, Verona, DGIF Verona Office

Friends of the Chickahominy Wildlife Management Area Program Started

By John Copeland, District Fisheries Biologist

Current CWF Volunteers and other interested members of the 
community gather with DGIF staff to discuss the formation of the Friends of the Chickahominy Wildlife Management Area. 
Photo by Glen Askins.

Virginia is one of the fastest growing states in the nation, with an increasing urban landscape. In the face of these changes, Virginia's wildlife management areas are a critical link in the task of conserving and protecting our wildlife resources for future generations. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) maintains 38 wildlife management areas totaling over 200,000 acres statewide. Because VDGIF wildlife management area staff in many regions is below full employment levels, managing these areas for the benefit of our constituents is a challenging task.

On Tuesday, March 16th, a group of 27 interested volunteers met with VDGIF staff to discuss developing a "Friends of the Chickahominy Wildlife Management Area" (WMA) program to address the maintenance and wildlife habitat needs of this popular WMA in Charles City County. Several of the interested volunteers at this organizational meeting are already CWF volunteers. The Friends of the Chickahominy WMA group will encourage local support and citizen involvement in management activities at this WMA. If the effort is successful, it will be expanded to other WMA's across the state and CWF volunteers can facilitate expanding the program to other regions of Virginia. CWF volunteers in the Tidewater Area are encouraged to join the Friends of the Chickahominy WMA program to help meet the identified needs at this WMA.

The "Friends of Wildlife Management Areas" program is the brainchild of VDGIF Board member F. Scott Reed. Mr. Reed suggested the Department develop this program based on his experience observing the important work "Friends" groups do for Virginia's state parks. VDGIF staff is building on the successful "Friends" group model developed by Virginia state parks in designing a similar program for VDGIF wildlife management areas. VDGIF personnel designing this program are enrolled in the VDGIF's Leadership Development Program initiated by Director Bob Duncan in February 2009.

Susan Alger and Hugh Nix at the VOWA Meeting.  Not pictured is Volunteer John Gibbons.  Photo By Jim Crosby.

If you are interested in learning more about or participating in upcoming volunteer activities of the "Friends of the Chickahominy Wildlife Management Area" program, contact Glen Askins in the Region 1 Office at (804) 829-6580. You can also contact one of the other members of the VDGIF Leadership Development Program Peer Group 1 (John Copeland, Fisheries Biologist, Blacksburg Office; Sgt. David Dodson, Virginia Hunter Education Program Coordinator, Fredericksburg Office; Carol Heiser, Education Program Coordinator, Richmond Office; or Sgt. Steve Sutphin, Region 3 - District 34 Law Enforcement Supervisor, Marion Office).

CWF Volunteers Exhibit at the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association Annual Meeting

By Marika Byrd, Region 1 Volunteer

Region 5 Volunteers John Gibbons and Hugh Nix, joined Susan Alger, State Coordinator, to set up and man the VDGIF Complementary Work Force exhibit at the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association annual meeting at the DoubleTree Hotel, in Charlottesville recently. The event included a keynote address by the Honorable Douglas Domenech, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources. Bob Duncan, VDGIF Executive Director, also addressed the gathering and introduced Secretary Domenech. Frank Mundy, retired Game Warden, author, and VOWA Board Member, gave an entertaining and informative presentation about publishing and marketing your own book—his latest is "Game Warden Entertainment: The Movie." Recognition was given to six young persons for excellence in writing and the Excellence in Craft awards to members. For more information, log on to www.vowa.org after April 20th to learn more about the association and their work.

Marika Byrd, Region 1 Volunteer, Photo By Lee Walker.

CWF's Own Marika Byrd Is New VDGIF Representative to The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association

By Lee Walker, VDGIF Information and Education

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is pleased to announce that Marika Byrd, a past VDGIF Information and Education Administrative staff member and current Conservation Work Force volunteer, will be continuing her support of the agency by serving as the new VDGIF representative on the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) board. She is currently the VOWA secretary and treasurer. Marika has worked extensively over the years with the agency promoting Virginia's wildlife and natural resources. Congratulations Marika!

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

Our Own Bob Vila...

Thomas,

As the Renaissance man of the CWF volunteers, my time sheet must be an adventure to read. My January time sheet has several things to explain on it. Beside my Sportsman show duties and my sighting in range clean ups, plus my eight-hour correction for December of 2008, I made my mark on the Ron Hughes wish list by taking on the horse shed project at Merrimac Farms WMA. (As far as I can tell it's within Prince William County by about two miles.)

The shed on the south end of the property contain six horse stalls and a great area down the middle. The object was to open the area up to possibly be used as a display area. The project involved salvaging 600 board feet of 2" X 6" rough-cut milled lumber. It also involved removing six gates.

The process was simple. Drive a masonry chisel between the partitions with a 3 lb hammer to create a ¼ inch gap between the support pillar and the partition wood. When you did this for the six to eight partition boards for each stall side you could then remove each board by cutting the support nails. I took my handy-dandy reciprocating saw and proceeded to cut the boards via the ¼ inch gap I had made with my hammer and chisel. This process usually took less than a minute. The other end was next to the wall and had to be cut loose one board at a time. Because of the nature of the partition, the lumber would always fall away from the worker. By cutting the nails this way there were no protruding nail to snag you. The now loose boards could be taken to the salvage area and sorted by length.

Each gate took as much time to remove as the lumber surrounding the same stall. Most of the screws used to install the hinge could not be extracted by a drill. So the hammer and chisel process had to be used and then the saw could get in cut the screws off. The wood construction of the gate was not dismantled. I used the gates to pile the salvaged lumber up on.

After six hours of work I had dismantled 90 percent of the stalls.

The last partition was built over an area which had a water drainage problem. The space was dry but there were little tunnels underneath the dirt floor probably caused by water drainage erosion or a big critter digging a condo. I decided to mention this to the powers-that-be and await instructions from the adult supervision whether to proceed, or not.

Besides the minor flooring problem, I had run out of battery power. My seven 18 volt batteries had given their all to the cold and the nails. My thoughts of returning on Saturday to finish up dwindled when I woke up to an inch of snow and more in the forecast. It was time to put away my saw, charge my batteries, and drag out my snow blower.

My time sheet and mileage forms are in the mail.

Take care and stay warm!

Roger Brown

(Editor's note: Roger, a Region 5 volunteer is a regular contributor to the newsletter, both in writings and photographs. He is also the team leader of the Region 5 trout stocking crew. What he barely touches on in his email is the fact that the temperatures were in the TEENS when he undertook this demolition project for six hours. He also deserves thanks and credit for extricating the State Coordinator and her state vehicle from the back-to-back blizzards this winter, using his trusty snow blower. Thank you, Roger!)

A Bigger Target

By John McMann, CWF Volunteer, Region 5

The sighting in range at Phelps WMA, in Fauquier County, draws folks in from far and wide.

Today I met Olivia. She is eight years old, in 4th grade, and came to the Phelps sighting range with her dad and a couple of his friends. Olivia had never seen bullets before and decided she would like to collect them. Her dad kept his eye on her, but I guess I looked pretty grandfatherly, so he let her talk with me and help me with my chores. She likes to sweep outdoors, but not indoors, so she can see the dust clouds. The range is perfect for that. She really was a help! She was also intrigued with the tool that I use to help pick up trash and fired cartridges. I encouraged her go full steam on this chore as well. She was not at all upset with the noise (she had on ear protection as well as shooting glasses) and was interested in what was happening at all of the shooting stations. I'm glad her dad brought her, and I hope he will bring her back. Perhaps someday he will let her join in the sport of shooting and hunting. We should all hope so.

Today, as well, I met a father and son originally from England. They wanted to know how much it cost to use the range. When I told them it was free, they were amazed. I don't think there are free public ranges in England. Aren't we fortunate!

Another encounter today was a young French couple. I could not understand everything they said, but they were having a great time. He brought a 1903 Enfield rifle to shoot, which is big, heavy and powerful. I coached the woman a little on her shooting as it was her first time and she was somewhat fearful of the rifle (understandably, I might add). She was not a quitter though and shot the rifle repeatedly. I told the fellow he was going to have to give her a shoulder massage tonight. She agreed!

It was another great day at the range. Come join me anytime and see how enjoyable it can be!

CORRECTION! CORRECTION!

My apologies to Aaron Proctor! In the last edition, I mistakenly labeled the credit for his picture as Alan Proctor. Mea culpa Aaron, and thanks again for the shot!

Two Great Resources for Agency Information

The Outdoor Report

The Outdoor Report is a wonderful, FREE, online publication produced by VDGIF 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 VDGIF Director Bob Duncan's periodic e-newsletter sent to all agency staff and Board members. Click here to read the latest editions 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).
  • 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.
  • Volunteer Assistance King & Queen Fish Hatchery (Battle).
  • Crop Damage Inspections/Kill Permit Issuance (Battle)(Goldston)(Wilson).
  • Region 5 Warehouse/yard workers in Region 5 Office, Fredericksburg—Ongoing need for additional volunteers to assist with miscellaneous duties including: supply inventory, organization of warehouse storage, supply stocking and storage, uniform sorting, transporting supplies and materials, grounds landscaping project, and routine maintenance on vehicles, watercraft and other equipment (Goldston).

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, Joseph.Ferdinandsen@dgif.virginia.gov or Tommy Willingham, Wildlife Technician, Tommy.Willingham@dgif.virginia.gov directly. They can be reached via email or at the Phelps WMA Work Center, 540-439-8506—January to March, 2010 (Goldston).
  • Kids' Fishing Day—April 24, 2010, at Dorey Park Lake, Richmond. Sponsored by the Sport Anglers' Club of Richmond (Battle).
  • WMA and WMA Range User Surveys—All Regions, (Monthly dates through the end of August 2010) (Battle)(Goldston)(Wilson).
  • Smokey Bear Day, First Landing State Park May 8, (two volunteers for exhibit staffing) (Battle).
  • Kids' Fishing Day—Occoquan Nat'l Wildlife Refuge—May 15, 2010 (Goldston).
  • 2010 Boy Scout Jamboree—Fort A.P. Hill, Caroline County--July 24-25, 2010, (Set up exhibit site and stations)—AND--Jamboree: July 26 through August 4, 2010, (Assist in staffing exhibits for visiting scouts) Requires all-day commitment due to parking logistics (Goldston).
  • 2010 Girl Scout - Burke Lake Adventure Camp—Fairfax County - July 26-30th. Talk about different equipment and its uses, fishing rules and regulations, differences between salt and freshwater fish, and the different parts of a fish(including eyes, mouth, skin, scales, gills. Help them identify 3 local fish. (Goldston)

Contact Us

Susan Alger***
State Coordinator
P.O. Box 481 ~ Herndon, VA 20172
Susan.Alger@dgif.virginia.gov
(703) 481-2102
(***until April 22, 2010)

Major Mike Clark
CWF Program Manager
P.O. Box 11104 ~ Richmond, VA 23230
Mike.Clark@dgif.virginia.gov
(Major Clark will be assuming State Coordinator responsibilities in addition, until a replacement Coordinator is named)

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

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

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