Become a Virginia Master Naturalist



Learning about wetlands. Photo by Jennifer Trevino.

People who are curious about nature, enjoy the outdoors, and want to be a part of natural resource management and conservation in Virginia are perfect candidates to become Virginia Master Naturalists.

The 2017 Cohort XII class has been filled. Thank you for your interest.

The first step to becoming a Historic Rivers Master Naturalist is to apply for basic training, which typically takes place from early September to mid-March. The Volunteer Information and Enrollment Application package is typically available in early June. Completed application packages are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration fees (which cover the cost of all training materials) must accompany the application.


Identifying frogs and toads by their calls.

Basic training is limited to 20 adult participants; adult participant is defined as an applicant who is at least 18 years of age by the start date of the Basic Training session and is accepted into the Basic Training Program.


Polyphemus Moth. Photo by Mike Powell.

Historic Rivers Chapter Basic Training

Basic training covers the background knowledge and skills that every naturalist needs to have. We tailor our course to fit our local environment and community.

The Historic Rivers Chapter Virginia Master Naturalist’s training includes:

  • Introduction to Virginia Master Naturalist Program
  • Nature of Naming
  • Risk Management
  • Building Master Naturalist Skills
  • Biology Basics
  • Evolution
  • Geology
  • Habitats
  • Ecology Concepts
  • Climate & Weather
  • Forest Conservation
  • Dendrology
  • Plant Biology and Native Plants
  • Wetlands Ecology
  • Entomology
  • Freshwater Ecology and Macroinvertebrates
  • Butterflies
  • Ichthyology
  • Herpetology
  • Ornithology
  • Mammalogy
  • Naturalist Biography

Application Information

The 2017 Cohort XII class has been filled. 


Io Moth Caterpillar. Photo by Susan Powell.

Most training classes will be held on Tuesday nights, 6 – 9 p.m. at Williamsburg Community Chapel, 3899 John Tyler Hwy, Williamsburg. Several classes and all field trips are held during the day on weekends at various locations. See the schedule on page 4 of the Information and Instructions document. Dates are subject to change. Note: The Chapel is our facility host only; it is not a sponsor and the Master Naturalist program is not affiliated with WCC ministries.