Several members of the Blue Ridge Foothills and Lakes (BRFAL) Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalist Program recently installed new interpretive signs along the Oak Hickory Trail at Fairy Stone State Park. Guided by Park Ranger Sam Jensen, the sign installation was the culmination of a long-term project for the group. After hours of planning, writing copy, collecting pictures, and gathering all necessary approvals, the signs had finally been printed and placed on signposts.
With some last minute instruction from Ranger Jensen on proper use of the post-hole digger, the group of 13 divided into small teams to tackle the installation. As the saying goes, “many hands make light work”, and soon the signs were in place. Several group members commented that the job went faster than they thought it would.
The Oak Hickory Trail winds through the forest for a moderate 1.1-mile hike. The new signs describe various aspects of the ecosystem, including trees, streams, and animals, as well as the relationship of the forest to humans. Now visitors can learn more about the nature all around them on th trail.
The Virginia Master Naturalist Program is a statewide volunteer training program that benefits natural resource education and conservation across Virginia. The program’s mission is to develop and support a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Interested Virginians become Master Naturalists through training and volunteer service.
The trail signage is just one of many interesting projects of the BRFAL Chapter. To learn more about BRFAL, visit their website at www.brfal.org, or you may contact them by phone, 540-365-4613 or mail: Virginia Master Naturalist, Blue Ridge Foothills and Lakes Chapter, P.O. Box 1151, Rocky Mount, VA 24151. They are currently accepting applications for their next class beginning March 11, 2010.
Located a short driver from the Blue Ridge Parkway, Fairy Stone State Park is open year-round, offering camping (seasonally), cabins, and miles of trails. For more information or to make reservations, call 800-933-PARK (7275) or visit www.virginiastateparks.gov.