Potomac Valley Master Naturalist Program

Our Potomac Valley Master Naturalist Program has proven to be one of our most popular adult programs.

Master Naturalist Class in session        2011 Master Naturalist Class

What is the Master Naturalist Program?

Relatively new on the scene, Master Naturalist programs are patterned after the Master Gardener Program that has been offered in many states for many years by local extension agents. The basic approach for both programs is to combine education with public service.

West Virginia's Master Naturalist Program is one of the first in the nation. It was established in 2003 by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, and it is administered by that agency.

We partnered with WVDNR in 2006 to establish our Master Naturalist program, which is the official Master Naturalist Chapter for the Eastern Panhandle.

Learn more about our Potomac Valley Chapter, including dates and places for 2015 classes, and find volunteer projects by clicking on the blue links at the bottom of this page.   We're also on Facebook

How it works:

Those who complete our program are certified by the state as West Virginia Master Naturalists. This qualifies them to assist with natural resource activities in various ways, such as volunteering in state parks, assisting educators with instruction, participating in wildlife surveys, and other citizen science activities.

Enrollment is limited to 20 persons a year. Participants receive 64 hours of classroom and field instruction in a broad range of natural history and environmental education topics. Instructional sessions are held weekends from March through October in areas around the WV Eastern Panhandle, often at the National Conservation Training Center just outside Shepherdstown and Cacapon State Park near Berkeley Springs.

Program participants must also complete a minimum of 30 hours of volunteer service to become fully certified. To remain certified, they must participate in 8 hours of training and 16 hours of volunteer service every year.  Here is a list of citizen science projects (although there are many others!)

The cost to enroll is $300, which covers all classes and instruction for you to complete the program. Partial scholarships are available.

Try Out The Program!

If you've been thinking you might like to try out the Master Naturalist program without having to commit to the entire class, you can!  Classes are listed under the Events Calendar and you can sign up for ones that interest you on an individual basis.  Each class has a separate fee.  If you decide that you'd like to become an official Master Naturalist candidate, you can then do so and you'll have some of the classes already completed.

Upcoming Classes:

Our 2015 classes will begin in March.  Application forms for the class and for scholarships are found at the bottom of this page.  Click here to view the 2014 schedule as we are currently working on the 2015 schedule. Please note that the schedule is subject to change after being posted.

Volunteer Opportunities:

Be A Class Host:  Varying dates.  Host a Master Naturalist class by helping to set up the room, preparing materials, introducing the speaker, and handling questions concerning the day.  It's a great way to get to know the new students and review the course material.  Contact Melanie Snyder (littleowl48@hotmail.com) for more details.

Weed Warriors Invasive Removal at Yankauer Preserve:  Next volunteer project to be announced.

Class Dates

Dates and Locations of 2014 Master Naturalist classes:  We are currently working on the 2015 schedule! For a general idea of dates and types of classes, please see the 2014 schedule below. All day classes are generally held from 8:00 - 5:00.  

March 15 and March 16:  For The Love of Children (FLOC) Outdoor Education Center, Harpers Ferry

April 19: CraftWorks, Jefferson County WV

May 17: National Conservation Training Center (NCTC), Shepherdstown WV

June 21:  National Conservation Training Center (NCTC), Shepherdstown WV

July 19: Cacapon State Park, Berkeley Springs WV

August 16: NCTC, Shepherdstown WV

September 20-21: NCTC, Shepherdstown WV

October 18: Extra Instruction Day (if needed)

November 8:  Annual Meeting, Shepherdstown WV

Download a PDF copy of the schedule here.  (schedule is subject to change)

How to Apply:

PVAS typically makes program applications available on this website in late October or early November, and applications must be submitted by early to mid January. Applications are competitive. Those selected for enrollment are notified in early February.

For more information about the program, or to request notification when applications are available, contact Krista Hawley at AdultPrograms@PotomacAudubon.org or call 703-303-1026. 

Forms For Master Naturalists

Annual Recertification Form

Annual Volunteer Release For Master Naturalists (WVDNR)

Annual Liability Release For Master Naturalists (PVAS)



  
          © 2014 Potomac Valley Audubon Society

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

Kristin Alexander, Executive Director
phone // 304-676-3397 
Kristin@potomacaudubon.org

Ellen Murphy, Program Director
phone // 304-676-8739 
Ellen@potomacaudubon.org

Krista Hawley, Adult Program Coordinator
phone // 703-303-1026
AdultPrograms@PotomacAudubon.org
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