Chief Ranger Katie Shepard receiving her
Certified VA Master Naturalist Certificate
Photo by Jeff Wright
The Virginia Master Naturalists
NNNMN members pose with the ocean-washed remains of a tree at Paramore Island Natural Area Preserve during the 2017 field trip to Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Photo by Nature Conservancy Staff
The “Virginia Master Naturalist” Program is a statewide corps of volunteers. Virginia Master Naturalists are volunteer environmental educators, citizen scientists, and stewards helping Virginia conserve and manage its natural resources and public lands.
The Northern Neck Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalist program is a community-based natural resources volunteer program focused on the lands and waters of the Northern Neck and the counties of the Middle Peninsula along the Rappahannock River and the Chesapeake Bay. Last year we provided more than 5000 volunteer hours to support the Northern Neck’s natural resources programs.
Becoming a Virginia Master Naturalist in the Northern Neck Chapter
Stratford Hall beach,Westmoreland County, during 2017 Basic Training by Kyle Langford
Interested Virginians become Master Naturalists through training and volunteer service. The process (i.e., to become a “Certified” Virginia Master Naturalist) typically takes 6 to 12 months as follows:
o Complete the 40-hour Basic Training Course
o Within a year of completing the Basic Training Course, provide 40 hours of volunteer service and complete 8 hours of Continuing Education Credit.
o Service can be in any of four key areas: citizen science, stewardship, environmental education, or chapter administration (examples are listed below).
o Continuing Education Credit (CECs) are available via webinar and various seminars organized and advertised by many Virginia natural/marine resources organizations
To maintain the certification, you must complete 40 hours of volunteer service and 8 hours of continuing education each year.
Virginia Master Naturalist Service: What You’ll Do
Identifying plants at 2017 Basic Training Class by Kyle Langford
Bird, butterfly, frog and toad counts. Wildlife and native plant mapping and surveys. Camera trapping. Stream and beach monitoring. Citizen scientists all over the country follow consistent protocols to collect data that supply scientists and policy-makers with the information they need to make informed management and policy decisions. These data describe the lives, habits, and responsiveness to change of plant and animal species or communities.
Plant trees. Protect streams. Protect our rivers and the bay. Restore and maintain wildlife habitat, improving water quality. Build park trails and maintain them. Stewardship brings volunteers outside, gets them dirty, and shows them tangible results of their work.
If you enjoy teaching, public speaking, or working with youth, you may participate in education-related service projects, such as leading programs in a nearby state park or natural area preserve.
Become involved in guiding/administering the activities of your local chapter.
The Northern Neck Master Naturalist chapter was established to support a century’s long tradition of appreciation and utilization of the natural resources of the Northern Neck of Virginia. The mission of the Northern Neck Master Naturalist Chapter is to provide leadership, knowledge, volunteers and assistance to the professionals who serve as stewards of our natural heritage.
For more information, email the Northern Neck Master Naturalist chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org .