Friday, April 20, 2007

VIMS Art Show and Auction

VIMS Art Show and Auction
Saturday, April 28, 2007
VIMS' annual Art Show and Auction for 2007 will feature the works of nationally known illustrator, photographer, and digital artist Guy Crittenden, a native of Tidewater Virginia who has been capturing images of North American wildlife and nature for more than 20 years. This gala fund-raiser gives participants an opportunity to bid on selected works by Crittenden, as well as trips, jewelry, boats, and other items. All proceeds from the auction benefit research and education programs at VIMS. Stay tuned for details.

Land Conservation

Bluebells sprout at Merrimac Farm as future of land is discussed
It's beautiful.

No one in the Saturday afternoon tour group walking along the sometimes muddy, sometimes grassy paths at Merrimac Farm disputed that claim as they trudged through the landscape in search of the season's blossoming bluebell flowers.

Any given bluebell stem had up to two dozen pink buds. As they grow and sprout, they turn from violet sprouts into blue bulbs.

"The thinking is that bluebells want to make sure the flowers are out when the pollinators come by," Prince William Conservation Alliance president Charlie Grymes said.

About half a mile into the 300-acre nature preserve, right along the banks of Cedar Run creek, the bulbs shine bright.

On Saturday, they dressed the rain-soaked ground in shades of lavender-blue and forest-green, as there are leaves protruding from the stems that shade the ground below the bulbs.

Tourists walked through brown puddles, broken branches and over coyote droppings to take photographs and absorb an ever-enchanting view.

Click Here!
The tour guides had something else on their agendas, though.

Grymes told the group of about 25 people that if the land were to be turned into 30 10-acre housing lots, the area's ecosystem could suffer a dramatic setback.

"It's in my self-interest to have good, clean drinking water," he said.

Grymes noted the creek - which resembles a river more than a little water path - eventually connects to larger bodies of water where drinking water is pumped for Prince William County citizens.

The president of the Prince William Conservation Alliance brought this up because several years back, developers had tried to acquire the land.

When Merrimac Farm owner Marine Col. Dean McDowell died in February 2001, the property was left to members of his family, including his children.

The 2004 death of Ralph McDowell, the last remaining family member to live at the farm, triggered the land sale by the four surviving family members who own the property, including Gail McDowell, who was at the farm on April 14.

McDowell said her father had always intended for the land to be saved for preservation purposes as he had always been an avid hunter and conservationist.

Though the family and the Conservation Alliance have been managing the land, the fact that no one resides there full-time is a problem.

"There needs to be a guardian," McDowell said of the property, which has been valued at more than $3 million.

Quantico is just across Cedar Run, land owned by the federal government and used as a Marine Corps base.

According to Grymes, the Marines have an interest in the land not being taken over by developers because a land conservation farm would provide a buffer between their base, where training exercises occur, and civilian homes.

John Rohm, Steve Living and John Odenkirk from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries also served as tour guides last weekend.

If the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation approves a bond on June 13 for the state to purchase the land, then the DGIF moves one step closer to becoming the new owner.

The foundation's governing board rejected a proposal from the Conservation Alliance in 2005 that would have given the group a $2 million grant for purchasing purposes because the land was being taken out of an agricultural-zoning district and put into a development district.

Grymes explained that this time around, the Conservation Alliance is acting as a catalyst of sorts. The nonprofit, nonpartisan group is doing what it can to get the title to go from the McDowells to escrow, where it will then be purchased by the state government.

The Conservation Alliance will not pay anything or have any ownership rights to Merrimac Farm; it will be completely run by the state.

The federal government would pitch in with possible land management as well. Quantico would then own development rights of the property, thus securing it away from developers. The state would manage the 300-acre plot through the DGFI, creating a federal and state alliance.

According to Grymes and McDowell, this creates a win-win-win-win situation.

The property owners will be compensated for the land, which is home to a cemetery, wetlands and countless plant and wildlife species.

Locally, the county will have 300 acres of protected land that it doesn't have to pay for and doesn't have to manage because the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will be handling it.

For the state, the 300 acres would add additional hunting and fishing property to a Northern Virginia county experiencing rapid growth and development.

Currently, hunters need to obtain permission from the Merrimac Farm owners to use the land.

At the federal level, the Quantico Marine Corps Base would have its requested buffer from civilians.

While the county will have no say in the transaction, Supervisor Mike May (R-Occoquan) is in favor of the deal and believes the other members of the Board of County Supervisors are too. He is also a member of the Prince William Conservation Alliance.

He said he thinks of the farm situation as an opportunity for the state and federal government to work together to secure open land.

"I think any time we have the opportunity to preserve property in such pristine condition and really just get a glimpse into what Virginia looked like...we ought to take a serious look into it."

May appeared briefly at the start of the afternoon tour Saturday but did not walk the paths, though he did earlier this year.

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I think anyone who goes out there would be delighted with what they see," May said.

©Times Community Newspapers 2007

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Friends of Dragon


Our next general meeting will be on Thursday, April 26 at Rappahannock Community College, Glenns campus.

The speaker will be Gerald H. Johnson, professor emeritus of geology at the College of William and Mary.

Dr. Johnson has extensively studied Virginia’s coastal plain, including the development of Jamestown Island, and the origin of a Sussex County archaeological site containing the oldest recognized human occupation site in North America.

Be sure to put this great program on your calendar!

Come at 7 p.m. for refreshments. A short business meeting and the program will follow.

Friends of Dragon Run

New from the Weather Channel

Fishing Forecast!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Save the Honeybee

"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years left of life. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."

„Wenn die Biene von der Erde verschwindet“, so Albert Einstein, „dann hat der Mensch nur noch vier Jahre zu leben; keine Bienen mehr, keine Bestäubung mehr, keine Pflanzen mehr, keine Tiere mehr, keine Menschen mehr.“

Albert Einstein

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Check this Blog out!

I really like getting feedback from others of like passions.

Here is another great blog

Please stop by and check him out. Lot's more great info on the passion!

Thanks for the kind words and link Kevin.

I equate blogging to HAM radio. In the old days you had to be a radio geek to participate, now with blogs folks of like interest can connect and share stories. What a great new world!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Learn about one of Virginia's unique treasures

RTD Guidebook

Richmond Times-Dispatch
Friday, April 6, 2007

Try this

Fishing and wildlife lovers are gearing up for another celebration of the aquatic life that fills the waters in Richmond.

As in years past, the 14th Street Fish Festival will be held at the south end of the 14th Street Bridge and along the adjacent floodwall. The festival is scheduled for April 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

An array of groups, including the city of Richmond, several state agencies, Maymont Park, the Richmond Audubon Society and Virginia Commonwealth University, will provide activities ranging from hands-on fishing to wildlife displays.

The latter will be the focus of an exhibit by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. "We'll emphasize our watchable wildlife program, which this is a great example of, for people who are interested in wildlife," said Lou Verner of VDGIF. "It's not just for anglers but for everybody."

Representatives of the state Department of Environmental Quality will collect various species through electrofishing and display them in a flooded canoe. City officials will host two bus trips to Bosher's Dam so participants can see the fishway. Fly fishermen will demonstrate casting and other elements of their sport, and birding aficionados will lead guided trips.

Youngsters in a city program will stage an interpretive dance symbolizing the springtime run of shad and other anadromous species. A VCU educator will help children release larval shad into the river, and area guides will coordinate some actual fishing.

The festival is being held in conjunction with Earth Day activities, including the Mayor's Walk and Roll. For details about the festival, call (804) 646-8911. For details about Earth Day, go to Calendar

April 14: The Big Cat Quest catfish tournament and Jack Randolph River Fest will be held out of Hopewell City Marina. For details, call (804) 541-2353 or go to www.kenfreemanoutdoorpromotio

April 21-22: The seventh annual Virginia Fly Fishing Festival will be held in Waynesboro with programs beginning at 8:30 a.m. both days. Seminars, vendor displays, wine-tasting and live music are planned. For details, call (540) 836-9367 or go to

April 22: The Poor Farm Spring Cup Mountain Bike Race will be held at Poor Farm Park in Hanover County. Divisions range from hard-core enduro racers to juniors and beginners. Events include a 5-K trail run and a mountain bike excursion for children 6 to 11 years old. For details or to register, call Richmond Multisports at (804) 303-4833 or go to

April 28: A freshwater fishing workshop for beginners will be held at Oak Grove Lake Park in Chesapeake from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The cost is $15, and participants must be at least 8 years old. For details, call (804) 367-6778 or e-mail

May 2: A sporting clays tournament to benefit Log a Load for Kids and the Children's Miracle Network will be held at Sussex Shooting Sports in Waverly. Registration begins at 9 a.m. with competition at 10 a.m. Smurfit Stone and four other companies are sponsors. Fees range from $80 for individuals to $1,000 for a host sponsorship. Deadline for entries is April 19. For details, call (434) 736-8505 or (804) 843-5250.

May 9: The Downing Ruritan Club will hold its annual David H. Horne Memorial Hunters for the Hungry Golf Tournament. The captain's choice tournament will be held at Birkdale Golf Course in Chesterfield County. Registration is at 11 a.m.; the shotgun start is at 1 p.m. The cost is $70 per player or $280 per foursome. For details or to sign up, contact Braxton Bell at (804) 739-3010 or at


Tomorrow: Virginia Trout Heritage Day will be held on 16 lakes and rivers in the state. Fishing begins at 9 a.m. Waters are closed today for stocking.

Tomorrow: Youth Turkey Day statewide for hunters 15 and younger. One-half hour before sunrise to noon.

- Lee Graves

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Save the Bay

Rain barrels

From Friends of the Rappahanock

Add an underground water storage tank to be used for non-potable use such as flushing toilets etc. like they do in Bermuda, and save water and money.

This should be required code in the Bay watershed.

Bermuda link


Rainwater Harvesting

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Marriage part 1

Husband says, I want dinner to be on table unless I tell you that I won't be home for dinner. I'll go hunting, fishing, boozing and card-playing when I want with my old buddies and don't you give me a hard time about it.

Those are my rules. Any comments?

His new bride said, "No, that's fine with me. Just understand that there will be sex here at seven o'clock every night... whether you're here or not."

Foxworthy named honorary chairman for National Hunting and Fishing Day

Foxworthy named honorary chairman for National Hunting and Fishing Day - Munster,IN,USA
In his new volunteer position, Foxworthy will spend the coming months communicating the message that hunting and fishing are vital conservation tools, ...
See all stories on this topic