Become a Virginia Master Naturalist (Old page)

View Slide Show: Overview for potential Virginia Master Naturalist Volunteers (16 slides)

Download the Volunteer Information and Enrollment Application for Cohort XI.

The 2016-2017 Cohort XI Basic Training Program will begin September 6, 2016.  Instructions for completing and returning the basic training application are included in the Volunteer Information and Enrollment Application. A registration fee of $175.00 (2016-17) must accompany the application.  Basic training is limited to 20 participants. Applications/Registration are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Please contact Jennifer Trevino or Sharon Plocher if you have further questions.

Virginia Master Naturalist Volunteers are required to attend a minimum of 40 hours of classroom and field Training (the Historic Rivers Chapter classes are over 50 hours of training). At least 10 of those hours are spent in the field. Each Virginia Master Naturalist Chapter has developed a course of study that is applicable to the area served by the chapter. The after completion of the training course Volunteers must complete 40 hours of volunteer service to certify as a Virginia Master Naturalist.

There is a fee that must be paid to cover the cost of training, and a person considering applying for the Virginia Master Naturalist program must be willing to devote a considerable amount of time to the program. All required training courses must be completed and field trips taken, and the first years 40 hours of volunteer work must be completed to certify.

Historic River Master Naturalists can volunteer in many approved projects. The projects are generally divided into education/outreach, citizen science/monitoring, stewardship, or administrative activities.

The Historic Rivers Chapter has been able to obtain some of the very best instructors in the state to train our members. The courses are exciting and stimulating.

A Historic River Virginia Master Naturalist will learn:

  • All aspects of their role as a Virginia Master Naturalist, the mission and objectives of the program, and the guidelines for participation
  • What a naturalist is and does and the significance of naturalists and natural history
  • The biogeography of Virginia, including the physiographic regions and the geological and ecological aspects that make them distinct
  • Basic concepts of ecology
  • Basic concepts of geology
  • Basic resource management principles
  • Some native flora and fauna in the region
  • The general process of science
  • The roles of Virginia state agencies in the management and conservation of natural resources

A Historic River Virginia Master Naturalist will be able to…

  • use a Dichotomous Key to identify organisms
  • use a field guide
  • share knowledge with others (verbally and/or in writing)
  • make and record observations in nature
  • … And, most important of all, will know how to recognize when he or she does not know the answer to a question, but be able to seek out answers from people, books, or other reliable resources

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
  • Cultural Archeology
  • Entomology
  • Freshwater Ecology and Macroinvertebrates
  • Butterflies
  • Ichthyology
  • Herpetology
  • Ornithology
  • Mammalogy
  • Naturalist Biography

Most of the information above and a much more detailed description of the training guidelines can be found in the Virginia Master Naturalist Program Guidelines for Basic Training (pdf).

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