Every adversity is an opportunity, and Longleaf Ridge Master Naturalists are using the COVID-19 crisis to learn how to use new tech savvy tools while we shelter-in-place. The April chapter meeting was held on Zoom, thanks to the coordination efforts of Danielle “Doc” Horton, who is an experienced user. She was able to schedule the meeting, provide everyone with instructions, and be on hand to assist during our first experiment with a board meeting held April 2, and then the regular monthly meeting joined by over a dozen participants.
The regular “potluck” time was spent getting everyone on board and figuring out the mechanics, but then President Sharon Lamoreaux was able to make announcements and even share the presentation on Dragonflies that she had prepared for the occasion. We were able to view her screen on ours, while she explained the differences between dragonflies and damselflies, walked us through the reproductive stages, played a short video, and finally presented examples of the various types of dragonflies that we are likely to find in “our neck of the woods.” For her first time doing this, and our first time learning to watch this type of live, online presentation, things went pretty smoothly!
The State Texas Master Naturalist website provides opportunities for Advanced Training. For instance, there is a Virtual Birding Seminar coming up April 16th and 17th. Check out the details for this and other events at the State’s Event Calendar.
We need to stay in touch during this time, and writing articles for our website or Facebook page can help us do that. Don’t worry if you’re not a good writer! Danielle “Doc” Horton has offered to ghost write for anyone who wants to share the details of an article, and there may be others willing to do the same. Just let us know! And don’t worry about spelling and grammar. We have editors that can fix that for you. Need article ideas? You can do research for a future presentation, or just tell everyone what you’ve been doing as a naturalist during the stay-at-home order. Get creative! Submit articles to Laura Clark. Don’t like to write? How about doing phone outreach to talk to other members. Find out what they’re interested in, encourage them, and put them in contact with someone who can help them get their ideas off the ground. If you’re interested in this type of position, contact Sharon Lamoreaux.
Computer work has always been a part of what we do in volunteering. Service hours that we enter have to be approved, new opportunities have to be added, reports must be run to determine who has certified and achieved milestone achievements. Anyone who is already certified and would like to help out with these tasks can volunteer to help by contacting Laura Clark for details. Other computer work available is assisting with the website. There is much opportunity for expansion there to make the site more useful and user friendly, and this is the perfect time to explore and take advantage of those options. Interested? Contact Laura Clark to discuss.
Even though our State Parks have been officially closed, Martin Dies Jr. State Park has worked with us to provide an opportunity to those who just have to get outside and get their hands dirty. They have scheduled service projects and work days with proper social distancing for selective removal of shoreline vegetation in campsites, painting and installation of park signs, construction of a pay station kiosk at the Tidelands boat ramp. Work days are April 15, 16, 22 and 23 and park staff will be on hand for guidance. Contact Sharon Lamoreaux for more details on how to volunteer.
Our next meeting on May 12th will happen, whether we can have it in person or need to Zoom again. Lauren Turner will be doing a presentation on Clouds. Meanwhile, everyone stay in touch! Check the website, use social media, call somebody, send an email, take and share some pictures, tell everyone what you are doing during this time. Be brave and figure out a new way to do things. And stay safe! We will get through this and look back on what we learned.