Learn more about RareQuest through this 6 minute video, funded by the Virginia Native Plant Society and produced by Priya Jaishanker, Extension Media Assistant, Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation. This video won the runner-up award at the Richmond Environmental Film Festival's local environmental film contest in February 2017!
Project Overview and Purpose
Project RareQuest was a project to involve trained Virginia Master Naturalist volunteers in monitoring occurrences of rare species of plants and animals, many of which have not been seen in many years. It is a partnership with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Natural Heritage Program, and the pilot version of the program was funded in part by the Virginia Native Plant Society.
VDCR has a database of more than 9,000 occurrences of rare species across the Commonwealth. They are called EOs (element occurrences) and include plants as well as animals. These EOs need to be monitored on a regular basis to check on their status. With so many sites and occurrences, VDCR can really use the help of talented Virginia Master Naturalists to get the job done.
How To Get Involved
We recruited more than 100 Virginia Master Naturalists from across the state in 2015 to participate in RareQuest during the 2016 field season. For the 2017 season, we have condensed to about 17 regional teams, each with a leader or co-leaders who will recruit assistance from other Virginia Master Naturalists as needed. If you are interested in participating, contact the team leader for your region. If you do not already have the team leader's contact information, please ask Michelle Prysby (VMN Program Director) for it. Any enrolled Virginia Master Naturalist volunteer is welcome to participate in this project. We recommend that volunteers who are new to the project read the materials on this page and watch the training videos.
2017 RareQuest Teams and Leaders
Thank you to all of these volunteers who have agreed to lead or co-lead RareQuest teams!
How To Report Your Hours
Virginia Master Naturalist volunteers who are signed up for RareQuest and have been assigned to a team should report any hours they spend on the RareQuest project to the statewide project called "VMN-RareQuest" that appears in the dropdown menu of the Volunteer Management System. This project is a statewide, approved project.
Project RareQuest Contacts
Michelle Prysby, Virginia Master Naturalist Program Director, 434-872-4571
Chris Ludwig, Chief Biologist, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, , 804-371-6206
Danielle Kulas, Data Management Specialist, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, 804-786-6289
RareQuest Google Group - This closed email group includes all registered RareQuest volunteers and all three project organizers. If you want to share questions or ideas with the whole RareQuest group, please use this address. If you need to communicate solely with your team, then please email those individuals directly and do not use this group.
Original Volunteer Training Webinar for RareQuest
Recorded: October 28, 2015
Stream Part 1 Recording Online (about the Division of Natural Heritage)
Stream Part 2 Recording Online (about RareQuest)
Stream Part 3 Recording Online (about the Collector app)
ArcGis Collector App Refresher Training Webinar
with Danielle Kulas from Natural Heritage
Recorded: March 7, 2017
*Note: If you are looking for a particular part of the training, here is the timing:
00:00:00-00:13:30 - How to access your Collector account, how to access and use Collector via a web browser on your computer
00:13:30-00:51:41 - Using the Collector app on an iOS device
00:51:41-1:27:00 - Using the Collector app on an Android device
Stream Recording Online
|Introduction to RareQuest Poster (displayed at Virginia Native Plant Society meeting March 2016)|
|File Size:||6930 kb|