Welcome to the Backyard Naturalist Program

Children exploring natureThe Potomac Valley Audubon Society’s (PVAS) Adult Services Committee is preparing a Backyard Naturalist Program for members of PVAS, as well as the public, to help them further enjoy the birds and ecosystems in their own backyards.  The Backyard Naturalist Program will be an addition to the birding and nature programs presently available through PVAS.  The backyard provides an ideal laboratory to introduce a whole new segment of the public to nature, birds, other flora and fauna, habitat needs, citizen science, and the importance of conservation of our natural resources.

The Backyard Naturalist Program will attempt to be comprehensive by introducing the backyard as an ecosystem that includes flora and fauna, habitat and cover, clean water and food.  This will be done by using a variety of instructional tools and techniques including in-person presentations and hands-on material, as well as on-line instruction that includes slide programs of animal images and sounds, video clips, quizzes and other interactive techniques.

Participants that attend the in-person presentations and/or review the on-line content could have PVAS certify their backyards as a “Certified Backyard Habitat” once pre-established criteria are met.  In addition, individuals or families can be certified as “Backyard Naturalists.”  The PVAS Birding Committee also wants to provide Citizen Science training for teachers, home school parents, etc. through the Backyard Naturalist Program.

Our Goals:

  • To introduce nature to a new segment of PVAS and the public in the PVAS coverage area by using their backyards as a laboratory of study.
  • To educate local residents about how best to attract wildlife to their backyards.
  • To help residents appreciate the wildlife in their backyards by becoming familiar with local flora and fauna.
  • To promote habitat improvements in backyards both for wildlife and for human enjoyment.
  • To increase citizen engagement in wildlife watching and citizen science.

Our aim is to reach families both in-person and on-line, bringing nature to light with high quality images, sounds, hands-on materials, and instructional sessions and through training teachers in the PVAS service area.

Using the Modules

Click on the module's button or text from the list below. Once the modules loads, press the play button in the center of the screen. You should let the module progress at its own speed. Jumping forward or backward repeatedly, in the slide sequence, can have unpredictable effects. There is a quiz at the end of the modules. To use the quiz, select your answer, click on “Submit” and you will be told if you were correct. You may try again. After you exhaust the attempts to answer the question, or once you are correct, click “Next” to advance to the next question. If there is audio still playing after you click on “Submit,” click “Next” twice to advance to the next question. Otherwise, you will have to listen to the entire audio clip.

There is a short video linked at the bottom of the of the module list that describes how to use the modules.

The Modules


Birds of Early Spring

 Click here for the Birds of Early Spring Module

Birds of Summer Module (different narrator)

The modules require one of the following internet browsers: Safari 5.1 or later, Google Chrome 17 or later, or Internet Explorer 9 or later.

For an instructional video on how to use the Backyard Naturalist Modules, please click here.

           © 2016 Potomac Valley Audubon Society

              P.O. Box 578 • Shepherdstown, West Virginia 25443
              phone // 304-676-3397

Yankauer Nature Preserve (Berkeley County)
Eidolon Nature Preserve (Morgan County)
Stauffer's Marsh (Berkeley County)
Cool Spring Nature Preserve (Jefferson County)

Kristin Alexander, Executive Director //   304-676-3397 

Kimberly Baldwin, Program Director //

Katelyn "KC" Walters, Conservation and Land Manager // 304-283-7319

Krista Hawley, Adult Program Coordinator
// 703-303-1026

Amy Moore, Cool Spring Preserve Manager and Naturalist // 240-818-4714
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