Become a Master Naturalist

People who are curious about nature, enjoy the outdoors, and want to be a part of natural resource management and conservation in Virginia are perfect candidates to become Virginia Master Naturalists.

To become a Virginia Master Naturalist, you must complete a basic training course (a minimum of 40 hours of both field and classroom experiences). To become a Certified Virginia Master Naturalist, you must complete 40 hours of volunteer service and 8 additional hours of continuing education within one year following completion of basic training. To maintain certification, you must complete 40 additional hours of service and participate in 8 hours of continuing education annually.

You can complete your service in four key areas: Citizen Science, Stewardship, Education/Outreach, and Chapter Administration – more details can be found on our Projects page. Monthly webinars and chapter programs support continuing education opportunities.

Basic training covers the background knowledge and skills that every naturalist needs to have. The Middle Peninsula chapter’s course is tailored to fit our local environment and community, and includes material on the following topics:

  • Introduction to Virginia Master Naturalist Program
  • Risk Management
  • Citizen Science and Research Tools
  • Journals and Field Notes
  • Climate and Weather
  • Ecological Concepts
  • Dendrology
  • Entomology
  • Aquatic Ecology and Management
  • Forest Ecology and Management
  • Ornithology
  • Botany
  • Taxonomy
  • Using Field Guides and Dichotomous Keys
  • Biogeography
  • Geology
  • Soils
  • Fossils
  • Ichthyology
  • Mammalogy
  • Herpetology
  • Wetlands Ecology and Management
  • Estuarine and Coastal Ecology and Management
  • Noted Naturalists

Class size is limited to 20 participants.

Applications for the Middle Peninsula chapter’s Basic Training class February – May, 2021 are closed. 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.

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.