Excited and curious about the natural world? Enjoy being outside? Want to play an ACTIVE role in the management and conservation of Virginia’s natural resources? If so…the Virginia Master Naturalist program is for you!

As members of a community-based natural resources program, Virginia Master Naturalists are volunteer educators, citizen scientists, and stewards helping Virginians conserve and manage natural resources and public lands.

Ways you can help:

  • Education – Teach adults and youth about nature!
  • Citizen Science – Collect data on wildlife and plant populations, water quality, and more!
  • Stewardship – Restore wildlife habitat, clean up a local stream, or build a trail!

Interested Virginians become Master Naturalists through training and volunteer service. Click here to learn more.

For more information and to be added to the mailing list for the next available class, email Middle Peninsula Master Naturalists on our Contact page.


Master Naturalists in Action:


Middle Peninsula Master Naturalist volunteers Pat Anderson, Luann Johnson and Mike Grose recently worked on a new activity: Adopt-A-Spot at the Deltaville Maritime Museum & Holly Point Nature Park. They plan to maintain and beautify their adopted location by using native plants to help preserve habitat for indigenous flora and fauna.


September 27, 2022 – George Washington’s Birthplace NABA Butterfly Count

The Fall count took place on Tuesday, September 27. Participants in Sector E in upper Essex County reported 22 Species identified and 158 Total butterflies counted.


August 27, 2022 – Middle Peninsula NABA Butterfly Count

On Saturday August 27, 2022 the Middle Peninsula Master Naturalist Chapter sponsored a North American Butterfly Association (NABA) butterfly count. Forty-six volunteers from five Virginia Master Naturalist chapters, and others from the region, participated in the second annual Middle Peninsula NABA count. Parts of Gloucester, Mathews, Middlesex, and King and Queen counties were covered in the one-day census. During the eight-hour count, a total of 1,427 butterflies was counted in the four-county area with 47 different species of butterflies identified. The volunteers visited public parks and over 60 private properties and businesses to count the butterflies. 

According to the Butterfly Society of Virginia, many of the species identified in the area have not been documented and these sightings will help to verify the records. During this year’s count, two butterflies were observed in Gloucester County that may be the first official sightings of these species: the White M Hairstreak Butterfly and the Harvester Butterfly (pictured below).

The data from the count was submitted to NABA and will contribute to the long-term scientific monitoring of butterfly populations and geographical distribution.


August 13, 2022 – Gloucester Sector, Williamsburg NABA Butterfly Count

Nine Middle Peninsula Master Naturalists participated in the Williamsburg Butterfly Count on Saturday, August 13. They counted a total of 212 butterflies and identified 29 different species in the Gloucester Sector of the count which extended from Clay Bank to the Poropotank River west of Rt. 614.

Group MPMN picture - Gloucester Sector - Williamsburg NABA August 13, 2022
Pictured in a garden on Ark Road, from left to right: Kammie Lee, Sherry Rollins, Susan Walton, Edith Bradbury, Susan Crockett, Rebecca Reed, Carol Kauffman, Jack Kauffman, Colleen Sweet, Randy Sweet. Photo by Barbara Lewis

Press release

The Middle Peninsula Master Naturalist Chapter will be sponsoring a North American Butterfly Association (NABA) butterfly count on Saturday August 27, 2022. The NABA Butterfly Count Program has been held annually since 1975; this will be the second count to be held on the Middle Peninsula including parts of Gloucester, Mathews, Middlesex, and King and Queen counties. This year there are 424 butterfly counts organized throughout Canada and the United States during the spring, summer, and fall. Forty volunteers from five regional Virginia Master Naturalist Chapters will conduct a one-day census of all butterflies observed within a 15 mile diameter circle. The data collected will contribute to the nation-wide NABA program that conducts long-term scientific monitoring of butterfly populations and geographical distribution. Susan Crockett of Gloucester has organized the local count and will serve as the compiler of the data collected in the four county area. For more information visit www.naba.org.

common buckeye - tom crockett
Common Buckeye; photo by Tom Crockett from first Middle Peninsula Butterfly Count – August 28, 2021 

June 21, 2022 – Essex Butterfly Counters

This was taken in Essex County during the George Washington’s Birthplace NABA Butterfly Count on Tuesday, June 21 with the Rappahannock River in the background. We counted for Sector E and found 17 species of butterflies with a total of 147 butterflies counted.



June 4, 2022 – Black Birder’s Week

Black Birder’s Week Birdwatching event at Beaverdam Park on Saturday, June 4, 2022. Sponsored by the Gloucester NAACP Branch, the Middle Peninsula Master Naturalist Chapter, and the Middle Peninsula Bird Club. Three NAACP branches were represented: Gloucester, Mathews, and Middlesex. The group saw 26 species of birds at Beaverdam Park with the highlight being an Orchard Oriole and a Prothonotary Warbler.

Black Birder's Week


May 15, 2022 – Rosewell Bird Count

On Sunday May 15, 2022 nine participants counted birds for the Williamsburg Audubon Spring Bird Count in the Rosewell Sector of Gloucester. The count started at 8 am in the fog at Rosewell Plantation and continued to the Middle Peninsula State Park, Aberdeen Creek Road area and Clay Bank Wharf area, ending at 2:30 pm. 71 different species of birds were seen with a total of 589 birds counted. The birders are members of the Middle Peninsula Bird Club and the Middle Peninsula Master Naturalist Chapter. 

From left to right: David Yeager, Tom Crockett, Edith Bradbury, Gee Brownley, Harry Colestock, Sherry Rollins, Mary Dennis, Bill Blair (sector leader); photo by Susan Crockett


May 14, 2022 – Basic Training Course 3 Field Day 

Cold, rainy weather could not dampen the spirits of the members of Cohort 3 as they joined their instructors for a hands-on lesson in Forest Ecology, Dendrology, and Plant Ecology at Hickory Hollow Natural Area Preserve in Lancaster County.

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VMN 2021 infographic Middle Peninsula


Pre-Earth Day cleanup

Middle Peninsula Master Naturalists participated in Pre-Earth Day shoreline cleanup events held at Machicomoco State Park on March 29, April 9, April 12, and April 19. The chapter worked with the Park and VIMS to organize the cleanup. Volunteers started near the outlet of Timberneck Creek and worked their way towards Cedarbush Creek over the four events. Volunteers also had the opportunity to conduct Citizen Science during this Stewardship activity by recording data using the Marine Debris Tracker app in advance of the cleanup team.

Middle Peninsula Master Naturalists taking part in the shoreline cleanup event on April 9, from left: Amy Baker, Leslie Hervey, Sharon Walker, Dave Harlan, Anne Wilber, Roger Dick, Hurricane Thompson


Middle Peninsula Master Naturalists at Brent and Becky’s Bulbs

On Tuesday April 5, 2022 twelve Middle Peninsula Master Naturalists and eight other members of the Middle Peninsula Bird Club conducted the inaugural bird and wildlife survey at Brent and Becky’s Bulbs in Ware Neck for the Department of Wildlife Resources Gloucester Loop of the Virginia Bird and Wildlife Trail system. 24 species of birds were seen or heard on this Spring survey including a large flock of 225 Cedar Waxwings that were roosting in a nearby oak tree.

Brent and Becky’s Bulbs and Machicomoco State Park have been recently added to the Gloucester Loop that has seven other sites where people can visit to enjoy bird and wildlife viewing. The Coastal Region has 13 Trail Loops including nearby Mathews and Mattaponi Loops. https://dwr.virginia.gov/vbwt/coastal-trail/   

Middle Peninsula Master Naturalists will be surveying the Gloucester, Mathews, and Mattaponi sites for birds and other wildlife four times a year on a seasonal basis. The data obtained will be entered into the CitSci.org database and used for research purposes.

20220405 bird and wildlife survey B&B's
Middle Peninsula Master Naturalists, from left to right: Edith Bradbury, Denise Hutchins with Brent and Becky’s Bulbs, Ed Pels, Roger Dick, Ginny Miller, Susan Walton, Sherry Rollins, Bill Corbin, Anne Wilber, Tomoko Hamada, Susan Crockett, Doug Dwoyer, Terry Skinner


The program is open to all adults regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.