Northern Neck Master Naturalists
Trained & Certified Virgina Master Naturalists
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Basic Training

Basic Training

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus) near
Chilton Woods State Forest by Kyle Langford

The Basic Training course is the first step toward becoming a
Virginia Master Naturalist

Find out ABOUT US

  Photo by Arlene Crabbe at VIMS during 2017 Basic Training

Photo by Arlene Crabbe at VIMS during 2017 Basic Training

The next Northern Neck Master Naturalist Basic
Training course will be held
March - June 2019.

The Northern Neck chapter offers this course every 1-2 years.The course encompasses at least 40 hours of training which will take place week nights and Saturdays at various locations around the Northern Neck and at least once on one of our rivers and/or the Chesapeake Bay. Most of the classes involve or include field trips and/or field work.

The course is open to adults from Northumberland, Richmond, Westmoreland, King George, Lancaster, Essex, Middlesex, Gloucester, and Matthews Counties. (Youth 14-17 participating with a parent may be accepted under some circumstances.) The class is limited to 25 participants.

The application process for the 2019 class starts in September 1, 2018.

The process includes submission of an email/mail-in application, an interview, and a background check. As planning for the class continues, we will post more details here on how to apply.

For more information and an opportunity to ask questions about our program:

  • Plan to attend one of the Information Sessions that will be held during the Fall 2018. The schedule of Information Sessions will be posted here and/or on the NNMN home page by August 2018.
  • For questions about the Basic Training Course, the application process, or to be put on the mailing list, please contact the NN Master Naturalists at nnmnemail@gmail.com.
  Photo by Kyle Langford during 2017 Basic Training Water Quality Testing

Photo by Kyle Langford during 2017 Basic Training Water Quality Testing

 
  Gardening at Wilna Tract   during 2017 Basic Training by Arlene Crabbe

Gardening at Wilna Tract during 2017 Basic Training
by Arlene Crabbe

The Basic Training Class provides:

  • Both field and classroom experiences, with a minimum of 25% of the course time spent in the field
  • Information from unbiased, research-based sources
  • Material on the following topics:
    • American Naturalists & Basic Ecology
    • Virginia Biogeography & Geology
    • Education and Interpretation Skills
    • Citizen Science and Research Skills
    • Ecology and Management of the systems occurring in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula
    • Overview of vertebrates, invertebrates, trees and other plants (biology, ecology, identification, conservation and management)
    • The roles of Virginia state agencies in the management and conservation of natural resources
  • Creating, maintaining, and submitting a Field Journal
  • Completion of a final exam

Note: There is a $160 fee for course materials. Additional materials are provided via thumb drive, website, or email.

 

An example of a previous course outline is provided below.

Class 1

RCC Kilmarnock

 

Intro to the MN Program

Keeping a Field Journal; Citizen Science and Research Tools; Climate and Weather Risk Management; Dress for Field

Class 2

Heathsville Library

Aquatic Ecology & Management; Entomology

Class 3

Lancaster Library

Botany, Using Field Guides and Keying; Propagation

Class 4

VIMS, Gloucester

Ichthyology; Estuarine and Coastal Ecology and Management

Class 5

Belle Isle

Ecological Concepts; Fungi Volunteer Management System;

Class 6
Belle Isle

Ornithology; Interpretation and Speaking Skills

Class 7

Westmoreland State Park

VA Biogeography, Geology, Soils, Fossils

Class 8

Irvington

Wetlands Ecology and Management; Chesapeake Bay, Submerged Aquatic Vegetation; Water Testing

Class 9

Belle Isle

Forest Ecology & Management; Dendrology

Class 10

Shiloh School

Mammalogy; Herpetology; Coastal Systems

Class 11

Westmoreland

Urban and Developed Systems;  Living Shoreline Concepts; Wetlands Mitigation

Class 12

Heathsville Library

Review Exam and Journals; Class Presentations

Graduation

Graduation:  Award Presentation, Lunch

 
 
 Photo by a game camera during a 2017 Basic Training Class Project at Bush Mill Stream NAP

Photo by a game camera during a 2017 Basic Training Class Project at Bush Mill Stream NAP

Positive Comments

Recent Northern Neck Master Naturalist Basic Training graduates obviously enjoyed the class, learned a lot and were inspired to do more.  Just a few of the positive comments from the 2016 and 2017 class:

On fossils and field trip to Fossil Beach in Westmoreland State Park:
“Enjoyed Cindy's Presentation. Liked the fact she brought her fossils for us to view. Could tell she finds joy in finding, identifying her finds and sharing her knowledge with others.”

On Aquatic Ecology Class:
“The challenge to our rivers' health is still a large one today.  Is there hope for our children and grandchildren-At times I'm very discouraged .  Today's speaker lifted me out of this apathy.”

On Coastal Ecosystems Class at Virginia Institute of Marine Science:
“This is why I took this course! This presentation was so helpful and informative. Excellent job answering questions and explaining things so that everyone can understand.”

On Wetlands Ecology Class:
“Excellent and informative presentation with great visuals.  I know a great deal more about wetlands after today.”

In General:
“I liked all of the speakers and very much appreciated the opportunity to hear “their side” in terms of environmental protection and priorities.”

“All the field trips were fun and informative.  I would recommend them all again because they were all different in some to many ways.  And we were introduced to different things-good for understanding ecological perspectives, i.e. communities.”

“I liked the schedule.  It was rigorous with a massive amount of information, but the material was in our minds when we returned the next week for class.  Further, I think the friendships in the class were tighter being that we met every week, which really helped the class be more fun and interesting.”

“I especially liked the walk at Belle Isle with Teta Kain.  A beautiful day, the field was full of birds and lepidopterans and great plants, and learning and excitement were contagious!.  She was versatile enough to tackle all of those fields and her enthusiasm made learning exciting and fun!”

“The class project was a good mechanism to get us started on the 40 hours of service, also helps class pursue their interests with guidance, and helps class know each other better.”

“All of the speakers were knowledgeable and informative. Karen During, Michelle Prysby, Sarah Nuss, and Tim Christensen were terrific!  Bill Blair’s extensive knowledge is amazing."

Check out “Adventures with Arlene” in our Summer2016newsletter.pdf.  Arlene is a 2016 graduate who was able to use her observation skills and contacts from the Basic Training Class to identify dead wildlife and report it to the proper state agencies.  Through those contacts she discovered additional volunteer opportunities at her favorite natural area.

 

For more details about the Virginia’s Master Naturalist program and training, visit the state’s website:

Youth 14-17 participating with a parent may be accepted under some circumstances