Registration update: As of Monday, July 30, we still have space for at least 25 more attendees. By our count, 14 of 36 total sessions are filled. There are sessions in every time block on Saturday and Sunday that still have open slots, including 4 field trips. If you have not yet registered, there is still space for you, especially if you are willing to try a session that wasn't your first choice.
Regarding lodging, the very small number of hotel-style rooms on site are filled, but there are plenty of dorm-style rooms left and there are also a small number of rooms left in our off-site hotel room block.
Each year, one of our local VMN chapters serves as the host chapter for the conference, helping to choose programming that showcases their local natural areas, presenters, and style. The programming includes both on-site sessions and off-site field trips to visit natural resource highlights of the area. We emphasize hands-on learning and skill-building, trying to choose sessions that relate to the education, citizen science, and stewardship volunteer work that VMN volunteers do.
In 2019, our VMN-Headwaters Chapter welcomes VMN volunteers from across Virginia to the Shenandoah Valley. We will be based at the Massanetta Springs Camp & Conference Center, five miles from downtown Harrisonburg. From there, it is a short trip to terrific field trip sites, including Shenandoah National Park, George Washington National Forest, several DCR Natural Area Preserves, the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, and more.
This year's conference has more than 35 sessions, including field trips to Shenandoah National Park, George Washington National Forest, a DCR Natural Area Preserve, the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, the Virginia Department of Forestry's August Forestry Center, the Shenandoah Valley Agricultural Research and Experiment Station, and the Wildlife Center of Virginia. On-site sessions include topics such as owls, aquatic habitats, black bears, American woodcock, pollinator habitats, bats, and more. There will even be a session on Chronic Wasting Disease with dissection of a white-tailed deer for those who are not too squeamish!
Due to the nature and limited space of our VMN conference, only certified VMNs, VMN members, VMN trainees, and partners from our state agency sponsors (including chapter advisors) may attend. We anticipate more than 200 attendees this year. We would love to have representation from all of our local chapters, so register now!