Master Naturalists in Action

2022 Gloucester Holiday Parade

The Bee City USA – Gloucester County Committee, which includes members of Gloucester Extension Master Gardeners and Middle Peninsula Master Naturalists, participated in the Gloucester Holiday Parade on Saturday, December 3.



Middle Peninsula Master Naturalist volunteers Pat Anderson, Luann Johnson and Mike Grose recently worked on a new activity: Adopt-A-Spot at the Deltaville Maritime Museum & Holly Point Nature Park. They plan to maintain and beautify their adopted location by using native plants to help preserve habitat for indigenous flora and fauna.


September 27, 2022 – George Washington’s Birthplace NABA Butterfly Count

The Fall count took place on Tuesday, September 27. Participants in Sector E in upper Essex County reported 22 Species identified and 158 Total butterflies counted.

August 27, 2022 – Middle Peninsula NABA Butterfly Count

On Saturday August 27, 2022 the Middle Peninsula Master Naturalist Chapter sponsored a North American Butterfly Association (NABA) butterfly count. Forty-six volunteers from five Virginia Master Naturalist chapters, and others from the region, participated in the second annual Middle Peninsula NABA count. Parts of Gloucester, Mathews, Middlesex, and King and Queen counties were covered in the one-day census. During the eight-hour count, a total of 1,427 butterflies was counted in the four-county area with 47 different species of butterflies identified. The volunteers visited public parks and over 60 private properties and businesses to count the butterflies. 

According to the Butterfly Society of Virginia, many of the species identified in the area have not been documented and these sightings will help to verify the records. During this year’s count, two butterflies were observed in Gloucester County that may be the first official sightings of these species: the White M Hairstreak Butterfly and the Harvester Butterfly (pictured below).

The data from the count was submitted to NABA and will contribute to the long-term scientific monitoring of butterfly populations and geographical distribution.


August 13, 2022 – Gloucester Sector, Williamsburg NABA Butterfly Count

Nine Middle Peninsula Master Naturalists participated in the Williamsburg Butterfly Count on Saturday, August 13. They counted a total of 212 butterflies and identified 29 different species in the Gloucester Sector of the count which extended from Clay Bank to the Poropotank River west of Rt. 614.

Group MPMN picture - Gloucester Sector - Williamsburg NABA August 13, 2022
Pictured in a garden on Ark Road, from left to right: Kammie Lee, Sherry Rollins, Susan Walton, Edith Bradbury, Susan Crockett, Rebecca Reed, Carol Kauffman, Jack Kauffman, Colleen Sweet, Randy Sweet. Photo by Barbara Lewis


Press release

The Middle Peninsula Master Naturalist Chapter will be sponsoring a North American Butterfly Association (NABA) butterfly count on Saturday August 27, 2022. The NABA Butterfly Count Program has been held annually since 1975; this will be the second count to be held on the Middle Peninsula including parts of Gloucester, Mathews, Middlesex, and King and Queen counties. This year there are 424 butterfly counts organized throughout Canada and the United States during the spring, summer, and fall. Forty volunteers from five regional Virginia Master Naturalist Chapters will conduct a one-day census of all butterflies observed within a 15 mile diameter circle. The data collected will contribute to the nation-wide NABA program that conducts long-term scientific monitoring of butterfly populations and geographical distribution. Susan Crockett of Gloucester has organized the local count and will serve as the compiler of the data collected in the four county area. For more information visit

common buckeye - tom crockett
Common Buckeye; photo by Tom Crockett from first Middle Peninsula Butterfly Count – August 28, 2021

June 21, 2022 – Essex Butterfly Counters

This was taken in Essex County during the George Washington’s Birthplace NABA Butterfly Count on Tuesday, June 21 with the Rappahannock River in the background. We counted for Sector E and found 17 species of butterflies with a total of 147 butterflies counted.

Essex County Butterfly Count
From left to right: Christine Corbin, Edith Bradbury, Susan Crockett, Ken Carroll (Peninsula Master Naturalist Chapter), Jan Towne, Shawn Towne   Photo by Tom Crockett


June 4, 2022 – Black Birder’s Week

Black Birder’s Week Birdwatching event at Beaverdam Park on Saturday, June 4, 2022. Sponsored by the Gloucester NAACP Branch, the Middle Peninsula Master Naturalist Chapter, and the Middle Peninsula Bird Club. Three NAACP branches were represented: Gloucester, Mathews, and Middlesex. The group saw 26 species of birds at Beaverdam Park with the highlight being an Orchard Oriole and a Prothonotary Warbler.

Black Birder's Week


May 15, 2022 – Rosewell Bird Count

On Sunday May 15, 2022 nine participants counted birds for the Williamsburg Audubon Spring Bird Count in the Rosewell Sector of Gloucester. The count started at 8 am in the fog at Rosewell Plantation and continued to the Middle Peninsula State Park, Aberdeen Creek Road area and Clay Bank Wharf area, ending at 2:30 pm. 71 different species of birds were seen with a total of 589 birds counted. The birders are members of the Middle Peninsula Bird Club and the Middle Peninsula Master Naturalist Chapter. 

20220515 Rosewell Bird Count
From left to right: David Yeager, Tom Crockett, Edith Bradbury, Gee Brownley, Harry Colestock, Sherry Rollins, Mary Dennis, Bill Blair (sector leader); photo by Susan Crockett


May 14, 2022 – Basic Training Course 3 Field Day 

Cold, rainy weather could not dampen the spirits of the members of Cohort 3 as they joined their instructors for a hands-on lesson in Forest Ecology, Dendrology, and Plant Ecology at Hickory Hollow Natural Area Preserve in Lancaster County.


Pre-Earth Day cleanup

Middle Peninsula Master Naturalists participated in Pre-Earth Day shoreline cleanup events held at Machicomoco State Park on March 29, April 9, April 12, and April 19. The chapter worked with the Park and VIMS to organize the cleanup. Volunteers started near the outlet of Timberneck Creek and worked their way towards Cedarbush Creek over the four events. Volunteers also had the opportunity to conduct Citizen Science during this Stewardship activity by recording data using the Marine Debris Tracker app in advance of the cleanup team.

Middle Peninsula Master Naturalists taking part in the shoreline cleanup event on April 9, from left: Amy Baker, Leslie Hervey, Sharon Walker, Dave Harlan, Anne Wilber, Roger Dick, Hurricane Thompson

Middle Peninsula Master Naturalists at Brent and Becky’s Bulbs

On Tuesday April 5, 2022 twelve Middle Peninsula Master Naturalists and eight other members of the Middle Peninsula Bird Club conducted the inaugural bird and wildlife survey at Brent and Becky’s Bulbs in Ware Neck for the Department of Wildlife Resources Gloucester Loop of the Virginia Bird and Wildlife Trail system. 24 species of birds were seen or heard on this Spring survey including a large flock of 225 Cedar Waxwings that were roosting in a nearby oak tree.

Brent and Becky’s Bulbs and Machicomoco State Park have been recently added to the Gloucester Loop that has seven other sites where people can visit to enjoy bird and wildlife viewing. The Coastal Region has 13 Trail Loops including nearby Mathews and Mattaponi Loops.   

Middle Peninsula Master Naturalists will be surveying the Gloucester, Mathews, and Mattaponi sites for birds and other wildlife four times a year on a seasonal basis. The data obtained will be entered into the database and used for research purposes.

20220405 bird and wildlife survey B&B's
Middle Peninsula Master Naturalists, from left to right: Edith Bradbury, Denise Hutchins with Brent and Becky’s Bulbs, Ed Pels, Roger Dick, Ginny Miller, Susan Walton, Sherry Rollins, Bill Corbin, Anne Wilber, Tomoko Hamada, Susan Crockett, Doug Dwoyer, Terry Skinner

Getting ready for new residents at Holly Point Nature Park at the Deltaville Maritime Museum February 12, 2022

Ten bluebird nest boxes were installed at the Deltaville Maritime Museum at Holly Point Nature Park. On February 12, volunteers with Virginia Master Naturalists – Middle Peninsula Chapter placed poles in the ground and mounted baffles and nest boxes to each.  The population of bluebirds dropped as much as 90% decades ago due to habitat loss. Citizens everywhere have been putting up boxes to help their numbers bounce back.

Materials for some of the boxes were donated by Roland Anderson and the Deltaville Maritime Museum Boat Shop. Others were donated by Ed Pels along with much of the hardware needed. Participants were Pat Anderson (project captain), Luann Johnson, Mike Grose, Chris Conley, Miles Wong, and Patty Campbell.

The nest boxes on the trail will be monitored by trained members of the Master Naturalists through the spring and summer. We ask that visitors watch from a wide distance and give the new families some peace. The babies may be sleeping.

Master Naturalists from left: Mike Grose, Patty Campbell, Luann Johnson, Pat Anderson, and Chris Conley. Photo by Miles Wong


NABA Summer Butterfly Count June 24, 2021

Essex County, Sector E of the George Washington’s Birthplace count:


Northumberland-Lancaster Butterfly Count May 25, 2021

Bill Blair in a field of Small’s Ragwort where we found many Little Wood Satyr butterflies – Lancaster County.


Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Monitoring Training May 10, 2021

On Monday May 10 three new Water Quality Monitoring teams were added to our chapter’s existing six teams. Sophie Stern, RiverTrends coordinator for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, presented the 3-hour training.

From left, Sophie Stern, Michelle Brown, Kathy Gierlak, Jeannie Miller, Chris Conley, Kay Williamson


Clean Gloucester Weekend September 18-20, 2020


Northumberland-Lancaster Butterfly Count May 26, 2020

northumberland-lancaster butterfly count may 26 2020



Bluebird house maintenance at Brent and Becky’s August 14, 2019

From left, John Ericson, Ed Pels


Moth Night at Beaverdam Park July 26, 2019


Bethel Beach cleanup by kayak April 22, 2019

Bethel Beach cleanup by kayak


Gloucester Schoolyard Habitat Pollinator Partnership


Vernal Pool Monitoring


Water Quality Testing