Potomac Valley Master Naturalist Program
Our Potomac Valley Master Naturalist Program has proven to be one of our most popular adult programs. Each year, twenty participants are trained in on a variety of natural history subjects including bird identification, soil science, general ecology, and aquatic studies. Once participants have completed coursework and volunteer service, they are “certified” to help with citizen science projects and educational programs across the state.
Potomac Valley Nature Photographers is a group within PVAS, composed of novice, intermediate and advanced photographers who love to capture nature’s beauty through photography, but the group is currently inactive.
In 2009, a group who loved nature, reading and writing got together to read, review and discuss books by prominent nature writers as well as participants’ own works. Although the group no longer meets, they happily share ideas for your own reading pleasure. You can become an Armchair Naturalist too!
PVAS has a very active Birding Committee that was formally established in 2011. The Committee organizes all of our birding field trips, sponsors an annual Birdathon, and is engaged in a variety of other projects and activities as well. For full information, go to the Birding section of our website.
PVAS regularly schedules a variety of field trips each month. Some trips are focused on birding; others involve exploration of sites and facilities of general natural history interest. Anyone who is interested is welcome to participate in any of our trips.
Birding 101 Course
Birding 101 – First held in 1986, Birding 101 is a course tailored for beginning birders that utilizes classroom sessions and field trips to teach everything from bird identification to field etiquette to birding techniques and resources. The course is taught by local birding experts using an impressive collection of images and recordings captured by the instructors.
PVAS offers regular evening programs at the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center outside Shepherdstown and occasional evening programs at various locations in Berkeley Springs. All programs feature presentations on natural history topics by expert speakers. All programs are free and everyone is welcome to attend.
Nature Photography Workshops
PVAS periodically offers Nature Photography Workshops intended for beginning and intermediate adult photographers who want to sharpen their nature photography skills. These workshops are taught by expert photographers and typically are held weekends, from Friday night through Sunday noon.
Natural History Workshops
Each year during the spring, summer and fall, PVAS offers a series of Natural History Workshops. The workshops consist of three or more hours of instruction on a specific natural history topic.
Race for the Birds
This beautiful trail run is held on the 538-acre campus of the National Conservation Training Center. The event includes two professionally timed trail races: one 4.9 miles in length and another that covers 7.7 miles. There is also a self-timed, 2-mile run/walk for families and a 1-mile fun run for children.
Music in the Cedars
In past years, these free concerts have been held on Tuesday evenings (rain or shine) in August and September from 6:30-7:30pm at the Yankauer Nature Preserve. Anyone is invited to enjoy the preserve trails, bring a picnic supper, and relax with some tunes performed by local musicians. We hope to bring the concerts back in the near future.