MG Updates


The disease has been found in several landscapes in Virginia this fall. Further detail is provided in the attached alert. Growers, landscapers and homeowners should be made aware of the need for increased vigilance when handling or purchasing boxwood plants or greenery. The attached alert will be posted, along with other alerts, at the Plant Clinic web site for future reference

A Virginia Tech publication on boxwood blight:



The U.S. Forest Service, in collaboration with Ravenwood Media Production, recently produced a short (13 minute) video that the agency is using in its education with the public. This video now is being made available for others to use to heighten public awareness on the issue.  I found it to be informative, accurate, and actually somewhat optimistic, given all the doom and gloom that seems to have dominated the discussion of late.

I am happy to provide this link to this resource for those of you who may find an opportunity to use it in your programming:    Battle For Bats: Surviving White Nose Syndrome  ( )

James A. Parkhurst, Ph.D.  Associate Professor of Wildlife Science and Extension Wildlife Specialist - Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation (0321) - 144 Cheatham Hall, Virginia Tech  310 West Campus Drive  Blacksburg, VA  24061


The Piedmont Environmental Council is pleased to release the inaugural edition of our “Go Native Go Local” Guide (link below)

The purpose of this guide is to provide landowners of the Virginia Piedmont with a central listing of businesses, most of them local, that offer products and services which promote our native biodiversity. Go Native Go Local aims to strengthen the local economy and is a sister publication to PEC’s Buy Fresh Buy Local guide.

I would welcome your feedback on the 1st edition of this resource. I can also provide printed copies for distribution — let me know if you would like copies.

James Barnes
Sustainable Habitat Program Manager
Piedmont Environmental Council
45 Horner St.
Warrenton, VA 20186
540-347-2334 (office)
802-881-6267 (cell)



The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is pleased to announce a new Virginia Wildlife Conflict Helpline, a resource for resolving human-wildlife conflicts. The helpline is a collaborative effort between the VDGIF and the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Wildlife Services (WS) to address human-wildlife interactions by sharing science-based wildlife information.  The helpline is available toll-free at (855) 571-9003, 8:00AM-4:30PM, Monday through Friday.

Techniques recommended to the public are environmentally sound, safe, and selective and meet wildlife professionals’ standards. Individuals are helped with “do-it-yourself” instructions and are provided with the necessary information and literature, referred to websites when appropriate, or directed to other sources of assistance.  In those instances where more specific technical assistance is needed, callers are linked up with subject matter experts.

Helpline activities are conducted in cooperation with VDGIF in accordance with WS Policy Guidelines and federal, state, and county laws, regulations and policies.  The Farm Bureau of Virginia, Virginia State University and Virginia Tech Extension are partners assisting in the development of outreach and educational materials from information and data gathered from the helpline.

The development of the helpline resulted from the expansion of suburban development into rural Virginia, and significant human population growth topping 28 percent over the past 20 years. These trends have created more interactions between humans and wildlife; many, leading to negative consequences. Concerned citizens seeking information and assistance related to human-wildlife interactions now have to go no further than their telephone for technical information and assistance.



We’d love to hear from you about your plans for Farm to School week.  We’ll be sending a Press Release statewide and media will be looking to follow up on grass roots stories in their own localities so share your photos, menus and tips so we can help spread the word.  Send to or call 804.225.3663.

Nationwide Census on Farm to School Activities Identifies Over 38,000 Schools with 21 Million Students Serving Over $350 Million in Local Food

WASHINGTON, October 22, 2013 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today highlighted important strides made in offering healthy, local food to millions of school children through USDA’s Farm to School program, and emphasized the program’s role in creating economic opportunity for America’s farmers and ranchers. According to USDA’s first-ever Farm to School Census, in school year 2011-2012, schools participating in farm to school activities purchased and served over $350 million in local food, with more than half of participating schools planning to purchase even more local foods in future school years.

“An investment in the health of America’s students through farm to school activities is also an investment in the health of local economies,” said Vilsack. “We know that when students have experiences such as tending a school garden or visiting a farm they’ll be more likely to make healthy choices in the cafeteria. We also know that when schools invest their food dollars in their local communities, all of agriculture benefits, including local farmers, ranchers, fishermen, food processors and manufacturers.”

Census results can be accessed online, at School districts that missed the opportunity earlier in the year to respond can submit information regarding farm to school practices through November 30, 2013.

Farm to School Tweet UP! Scheduled for Wednesday, October 23rd at 3 pm ET

@USDANutrition will host Farm to School National Director Deborah Kane on Wednesday, October 23rd at 3 pm ET for a twitter chat on farm to school. Kane will answer questions about the Census, talk farm to school strategies, and hear from schools across the country just starting out or actively engaged in farm to school programming. What’s growing in your school garden right now? Who’s your school’s favorite farmer? Tell us Wednesday, October 23rd at 3 pm ET by using #USDAF2S or #healthiernextgen.



Good Morning,   Register Today – Early Registration closes on Monday, Nov. 4.

Please Join the Northern Virginia Urban Forestry Roundtable and Trees Virginia for our next biennial conference.

Planning for Climate Resiliency In the Urban Forest

NOVA Urban Forest Round Table 2013 Conference

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Algonkian Regional Park , 47001 Fairway Dr

Sterling, VA 20165-6480

Putting the Right Tree in the Right Place in an Uncertain World

A wide range of evidence indicates that the earth has been warming over the past century, causing glaciers and sea ice to melt in many parts of the world, sea levels to rise, and patterns of precipitation to change. Most scientists agree that these trends are likely to continue and to accelerate due to increasing levels of carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse” gases in the atmosphere. Likely changes in temperatures, precipitation and the distribution of tree pests and disease will affect the management of urban forest resources.

Go to for Registration

Barbara White

Urban & Community Forestry Partnership Coordinator

900 Natural Resources Dr, Suite 800

Charlottesville, VA  22903

W 434-220-9041

C 434.906.0412

All VDOF offices are closed on Fridays



SAVE THE DATE – SATURDAY, MARCH 8, 2014  Presented by Lexington Horticultural Symposiums at the VMI Center for Leadership and Ethics, Lexington, Virginia

Dr. Michael Dirr is to plants what Bill Gates is to technology. Every horticulturist, landscape architect, landscape designer, reputable plant nursery, and serious tree geek has a copy of Michael Dirr’s Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, considered the standard handbook for trees and shrubs.  He is the author of numerous other books and was a revered horticulture professor at the University of Georgia for many years.  And – he is actually coming to Lexington!  Dr. Dirr will be the keynote speaker for a new horticultural symposium, Grow 2014: A Celebration of Trees.  He’ll be joined by Vince Dooley, retired coach of the University of Georgia Bulldogs and an avid gardener (and friend of Dr. Dirr) who will talk about the horticultural journey of a football coach and Nancy Ross Hugo, co-author of the Remarkable Trees of Virginia who will discuss the rewards of looking closely at ten common trees of North America as featured in her recent book, Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Trees. Seating is limited, so sign up now via the symposium’s website,

Continuing education hours will be offered for the day, in addition to book signings and book sales. The $75 fee includes lunch.  Visitors arriving on Friday have the opportunity of a free tour of historic Lexington with a trained guide.



Save The Date: March 8, 2014, Germanna Community College, Daniel Technology Center, 18121 Technology Dr, Culpeper, VA

Guest Speakers:

Cole Burell – a designer, award winning author, photographer, naturalist and educator. Mr. Burrell has devoted a lifetime to studying native plants in the wild and in gardens, which lead to undergraduate degrees in Botany and Horticulture. He has an M.S. in Horticulture from University of Maryland and a MLA from the University of Minnesota.

Joe Murray - Joe has a Master of Science in Plant Pathology (Virginia Tech), Masters in Teaching (University of Richmond), and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology (Radford University). Joe is a certified arborist, certified utility arborist and a certified tree worker/climber specialist. Joe belongs to numerous regional, national, and international arboricultural professional societies.

Contact Margaret Hutcheson or 540-543-2220



Sunday, April 27, 2014DAelebrate Historic Garden Week in Virginia at

Join gardening expert P. Allen Smith and experience Garden Day at Stratford Hall.

Enjoy a special presentation and book signing with Mr. Smith when you sign up

for the Cabin Walk Tour.

Cabin Walk Tour 10am–4pm. Includes Great House (self-guided), Private Directors Cabins, Cheek and Astor Guest Houses, Gristmill, Historic Garden Restoration presentation by Will Rieley, Gourmet Box Lunch, Presentation, Q & A, and book signing by P. Allen Smith.

Advance Tickets required.  Space is limited, sign up early.  For questions, please email  To purchase tickets and for more information, visit



Registration Closes September 30, 2013


Touring the Biltmore House and Estate Gardens is an experience that will stay with you forever. Travel back in time and relive the splendor and en-chantment of the turn-of-the-20th century. Learn how the Vanderbilts lived and entertained in Richard Morris Hunt’s architectural masterpiece.


Our arrival is timed to capture the magic of the Festival of Flowers, with Biltmore’s gardens, de-signed by Frederick Law Olmsted, that are alive with color. Enjoy special events and the beauty of tulips, azaleas and countless other flowers during this spring time season.


The Inn on Biltmore Estate ~ Rated Four Diamonds by AAA and Four Stars by Mobil. The Inn offers spectacular views, gracious amenities, fine dining and attention to detail to make your visit a truly luxurious experience. Your room will be complete with all the modern conveniences, yet reflective of the Vanderbilt tradition of total comfort.


April 22, 2014 8:00am ~ Depart Blandy by Motor Coach for Asheville, NC.

Lunch stopover ~ lunch on your own.

4:00pm ~ Arrive at The Inn on Biltmore Estate. Receive room assignments at check-in.

Have dinner on your own at the Inn or at one of the other restaurants on Biltmore Estates.

Take some time to explore the Winery just a short stroll away.

April 23, 2014 7:00am ~ Breakfast at the Inn Dining Room.

10:00am ~ Guided Historical Garden Tour.

12:30pm ~ Lunch at Deer Park.

1:30pm ~ Legacy of the land tour.

3:00pm ~ Self-guided tour of the Biltmore House. (with Audio)

6:30pm ~ Dinner at the Inn on Biltmore. (coat & tie preferred)

April 24, 2014 7:00am ~ Breakfast at the Inn Dining Room

9:00am ~ Meet in the Lobby after you check out and board our motor coach to North Carolina’s State Arboretum

11:00am ~Depart NC State Arboretum for Blandy.

Lunch stopover ~ lunch on your own.

9:00pm ~Arrive at Blandy.

Package Includes:

Motor Coach to Asheville and return – Two night stay at The Inn on Biltmore Estate – Breakfast (2) – Historical Garden Tour

Lunch at Deer Park – Legacy of Land Tour – Self Guided Tour of the Biltmore House – Dinner at the Inn on Biltmore – NC State Arboretum

Cost Per Person: $650.00 FOSA Member ~ $700.00 Non Member (based on double room occupancy)

Cost for Single: $1034.00 FOSA Member ~ $1084.00 Non Member 


Room Request    ______FOSA Member _________Non FOSA Member


Guest 1 ~ Legal First & Last Name:

Home Address (no P.O. Boxes please) Street, City, State, Zip Code Home Telephone

Email Address (required for group updates ) Work or Cell Telephone

Special Medical Conditions or Requirements

Guest 2 ~ Legal First & Last Name:

Home Address (no P.O. Boxes please) Street, City, State, Zip Code Home Telephone

Email Address (required for group updates Work or Cell Telephone

Special Medical Conditions or Requirements

Double Occupancy $ 650.00 or non-member $700.00 X 2 = $

Single Occupancy $1034.00 or non-member $1084.00 $

Payment & Deposit Information

Credit Card: [ ]Visa [ ] Master Card [ ] Amex [ ] Discover

Credit Card #______________________________________________

Exp Date._______________



[ ] Check to Authorize payment per schedule listed below if paying by credit card:

[ ] Initial Deposit: $250.00 per person (non refundable) Due 9/30/13 [ ] Final payment due: 2/7/14

(Checks Payable to: FOSA) Amount:$_____________________________

You may also pay/register online at:

~ You may contact your insurance agent for travel insurance ~

For questions contact: Mail or fax your reservation form to: Ali Robbins

Blandy Experimental Farm      400 Blandy Farm Lane, Boyce VA 22620

Phone: 540-837-1758– Ext 224    Fax: 540-837-1523



Effective September 1, it will be illegal to feed deer statewide in Virginia. The annual prohibition runs through the first Saturday in January. In addition, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ (VDGIF) Board has made the following amendments to the deer feeding prohibition.

New this year:

  • It is illegal to feed deer and elk in Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise counties at any time.
  • It is illegal to feed deer or elk in any county, city, or town during any deer or elk hunting season.
  • All feed must be removed from any deer feeding site prior to September 1st.
  • A regulation has been established that makes any area where deer feed has been distributed a “baited” area for 10 days following the complete removal of the food.

It is also illegal to feed deer year-round in Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren counties and in the City of Winchester as part of the Department’s chronic wasting disease (CWD) management actions.

Problems with Feeding Deer

Problems with feeding deer include: unnaturally increasing population numbers that damage natural habitats; increasing the likelihood for disease transmission; increasing human-deer conflicts such as deer/vehicle collisions, and diminishing the wild nature of deer.

In addition, feeding deer has law enforcement implications. Deer hunting over bait is illegal in Virginia. Prior to the deer feeding prohibition, distinguishing between who was feeding deer and who was hunting over bait often caused law enforcement problems for the Department’s conservation police officers. For questions on the impacts of feeding deer or VDGIF’s deer management programs contact Deer Project Coordinators: Matt Knox (434) 525-7654; Nelson Lafon (540) 569-0023.

Please Don’t Feed Deer

It is clear that the negative consequences of feeding deer outweigh the benefits. If you are not feeding deer, you should not start. If you are currently feeding deer, you should now stop. Feeding deer is against the law between September 1 and the first Saturday in January. If anyone sees or suspects someone of illegally feeding deer during this time period, or observes any wildlife violations, please report it to DGIF’s Wildlife Crime Line at 1-800-237-5712. To learn more about Virginia wildlife regulations visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.


WASHINGTON – In an ongoing effort to protect bees and other pollinators, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed new pesticide labels that prohibit use of some neonicotinoid pesticide products where bees are present.

“Multiple factors play a role in bee colony declines, including pesticides. The Environmental Protection Agency is taking action to protect bees from pesticide exposure and these label changes will further our efforts,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

The new labels will have a bee advisory box and icon with information on routes of exposure and spray drift precautions. Today’s announcement affects products containing the neonicotinoids imidacloprid, dinotefuran, clothianidin and thiamethoxam. The EPA will work with pesticide manufacturers to change labels so that they will meet the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) safety standard.

In May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and EPA released a comprehensive scientific report on honey bee health, showing scientific consensus that there are a complex set of stressors associated with honey bee declines, including loss of habitat, parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition and pesticide exposure.

The agency continues to work with beekeepers, growers, pesticide applicators, pesticide and seed companies, and federal and state agencies to reduce pesticide drift dust and advance best management practices. The EPA recently released new enforcement guidance to federal, state and tribal enforcement officials to enhance investigations of beekill incidents.

More on the EPA’s label changes and pollinator protection efforts:
View the infographic on EPA’s new bee advisory box:


                      Win an iPad 4 with Retina Displaywith Your Consumer Horticulture Extension Publication

For the last few years, Dave Close and Joyce Latimer have been working with Extension MG Volunteers and VCE agents to build the VCE publication base to meet the needs of our clientele. Last year’s contest was a great success and we are preparing to release the iBook that won last year. Also, there were several other fantastic submissions. We are in the process of getting those published online as well. Stay tuned!

Between now and November 27th, 2013, we will be accepting manuscripts for consideration as VCE Extension Publications. After November 27th we will select the best publication to publish as an iBook for the iPad and give the primary author an iPad 4 for their winning submission.

Publication guidelines are attached. Manuscripts for the iPad 4 Contest will be judged on educational content, creativity, use of multi-media resources, and the quality of illustrations.

All submissions must be related to consumer horticulture and intended for publication on the VCE website. You know what resources are currently missing in your local programming. You know what most of your local constituents are requesting. Many of you have already written material for your programs. It is very likely your local materials have statewide application. If you are willing to share, please consider submitting an entry for VCE publication. Dress them up with some appropriate illustrations and you could win an iPad 4 and have your own published iBook!

NOTE: Although VCE agents are encouraged to work with their MG volunteers in developing these publications, agents are NOT eligible to win the iPad 4. Similarly, any past winners of the contest are welcome to submit an entry, but they will not be eligible to win the iPad.

Note: Only active Virginia Extension Master Gardeners eligible for iPad 4 contest.

Submission Guidelines for Consumer Horticulture Extension Publications
If you wish to edit an existing VCE numbered publication, contact Dave first to coordinate with any other authors. And, before you spend a significant amount of time on a new publication, send Dave a short description of your project to make sure that it doesn’t duplicate an existing pub or one that is already in process by someone else. To keep things manageable, here are the guidelines:

1. The publication should provide research-based information applicable to consumer horticulture.
2. The manuscript must be properly researched with proper citations.

3. There should be no fewer than one photographic image for every 500 words of text. Please keep in mind that these publications are intended for viewing on an iPad or some other form of tablet technology, therefore the more photos or illustrations, the better. The manuscript should be visually appealing as well as informative. All photographs and figures should be your own or include written permission from the owner for their use. All photos or images should include a caption that is limited to two concise sentences at most. Especially for epubs and the iBook, all photos and videos must be clear, sharp, and in-focus. Photographic images should be no less than 300 dpi resolution. Do not compress photos. Submit short, high quality mp4 videos with clear audio or with no audio. Use a tripod if possible. All photographs or videos including non-Virginia Tech people must include a media release form for each person (see website for details and forms:
3. Prior to submission, the manuscript must be reviewed by two of your peers.
4. The revised manuscript must be submitted to your local ANR agent (or the VCE agent who assists with your MG unit) for review. If your agent does not feel qualified to review the manuscript or you do not have an agent, you may submit the revised manuscript directly to Dave Close and copy it to your Unit Coordinator. Dave will not consider a manuscript that has not been reviewed by or copied to an agent in the local unit.
5. The final manuscript must be submitted to Dave by email as a Word document. The illustrations must be submitted in a file(s) separate from the Word document. Also include a Word file which provides the captions and photo credits for the photos and/or figures. Please note in your manuscript where you would like to have the illustrations placed. (For epub or iBook submissions with a larger number of photo or movie files, mail a USB stick to Dave at 401-C Saunders Hall, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061—0327.) Dave will review the manuscript, or have it reviewed by an appropriate specialist, and his office will do the formatting necessary for publishing to the web. In the event of major edits, Dave will correspond with the submitting author.

6. Please submit your manuscript with an email or cover page containing the following information:

Title of publication


Author contact info (email and phone)

MG Unit Affiliation

Peer Reviewers

Agent Reviewer

VCE agents: Of course, agents are always encouraged to submit publications — you do not need to have a specialist co-author for publication. Please use the same procedure — reviewed by two of your peers before you submit it to Dave. Thanks for your support on this effort to enhance our consumer horticulture resources!!

Note: Only active Virginia Extension Master Gardeners eligible for iPad 4 contest.­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­


National Heritage Data Explorer

A few clicks of a mouse is now all it takes to reveal a wealth of information about Virginia’s natural assets.

The new Virginia Natural Heritage Data Explorer at provides public access to maps and data about protected lands, ecologically significant areas, wetlands and more. With a few more clicks, users can create customized maps.

Natural Heritage Data Explorer merges three previously used web tools into a single powerful tool. It was developed for DCR by the nonprofit conservation organization NatureServe. NatureServe is working on similar platforms for other states, but Virginia’s is the first to launch.

The tool provides access to 20 map layers showing the status of all protected lands, conservation priority lands, boundaries and reference information such as streams and roads. Layers can be viewed on one of eight base maps, such as a street map or topographic map. Users can search backend data with text queries or by clicking a point on the map; details are displayed instantaneously. Users even have the capability to share and print customized maps.

A detailed user guide is available at the site.


A new food safety publication has been released.  It is “Food Safety for School and Community Gardens”  available at:



I’m sending this to you in hopes you will alert our Master Gardeners and friends to take a look at the plight of the Monarch and need to create milkweed and butterfly friendly habitat in our gardens, schools, etc.  Perhaps there will be interest out there.  Although evidently the Mid-West is the main migratory area – our area is frequented by Monarchs as well and could benefit from our stewardship. Marie Majorov does just that and is quite knowledgeable

Subject: Monarch Butterflies
From Marie Majarov

I wanted to get some monarch information to you that I think is critical for Master Naturalists to know. Laure, in particular I was thinking about the students you have in our training this spring. I have CC Denise and Tom on this so they could also pass along this info to our whole membership.  The monarchs had truly awful winter numbers this year and are facing terrible conditions as the few that there are return into Texas.  This year surveys of the wintering population in Mexico indicate the lowest number of overwintering monarch since records have been kept.  59% lower than last year. Our friend Dr. Lincoln Brower describes it as “ALARMING!!!!”

Here are some info links:

Monarch Butterfly Survey Points to Lowest Numbers in 20 Years:

Monarch Population Status, Dr. Chip Taylor Monarch Watch:

Terrific Q&A with Chip on the monarch decline and beyond at this link:

Also a great 11 minute audio interview with Chip that should be required listening for every citizen – esp. for the GMO discussion

This email was sent from the Master Naturalist Volunteer Management System.