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 Conservation
  • Ornithology
  • Botany
  • Taxonomy
  • Using Field Guides and Dichotomous Keys
  • Biogeography
  • Geology
  • Soils
  • Fossils
  • Ichthyology
  • Mammalogy
  • Herpetology
  • Mycology
  • Wetlands Ecology and Management
  • Estuarine and Coastal Ecology and Management
  • Noted Naturalists

Class size is limited to 20 participants.

For more information and to apply for the upcoming training, email Middle Peninsula Master Naturalists on our Contact page. Applications will be accepted from March to May 31.

cohort 2 york river yacht club IMG_6563
2021 Cohort 2 Basic Training Course: Trainees learn about Water Quality Testing during the Shoreline Restoration and Coastal Ecology field trip to Ware River Yacht Club.
2021 fodr jack carol doug bob susan
Middle Peninsula Master Naturalist members from Cohorts 0, 1, and 2 enjoy a paddle on Dragon Run for a hands-on lesson about its unique ecosystem. From left, Jack Kauffman, Carol Kauffman, Doug Dwoyer, Bob Diaz, and Susan Crockett.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law.