Potomac Valley Master Naturalist Program
Our Potomac Valley Master Naturalist Program has proven to be one of our most popular adult programs.
Our 2014 class will begin in March.
Weed Warriors Invasive Removal at Yankauer Preserve:
Next volunteer project to be announced.
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.
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 2014 classes, and find volunteer projects by clicking on the blue link (to be updated soon!) 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.
Although these dates are from 2013, they can give you an idea of the complete schedule. All class days are generally 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 2014 dates are coming soon!
March 16 and March 17: Cacapon State Park, Berkeley Springs WV
April 20: CraftWorks, Jefferson County WV
May 18: CraftWorks, Jefferson County WV
June 22: National Conservation Training Center (NCTC), Shepherdstown WV
July 20: Cacapon State Park, Berkeley Springs WV
August 17: Shepherd University and NCTC, Shepherdstown WV
September 21-22: NCTC, Shepherdstown WV
October 19: Extra Instruction Day (if needed)
November 2: Annual Meeting, Shepherdstown WV
Download a PDF copy of the schedule here.
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.
In 2014, applications are due (postmarked) by January 14.
- Download Master Naturalist Program Information here.
- Download Master Naturalist Application here.
- Download Master Naturalist Scholarship application here.
For more information about the program, or to request notification when applications are available, contact Krista Hawley at AdultPrograms@PotomacAudubon.org or call 304-876-8471.