The process of becoming a Certified Virginia Master Naturalist begins with enrolling in and graduating from one of the basic training courses offered by our chapters. Eight additional hours of advanced training are required. The biggest focus for the program is the volunteer service (a minimum of 40 hours). Both the 8 hours of advanced training and the 40 hours of volunteer service must be completed annually to maintain certification.
Each chapter sets its own schedule and syllabus for the basic training course. The course is tailored to the local environment, local instructors, and local natural resources. Wherever you are in the state, however, there are some core objectives that are the same across all chapters:
We also expect that, no matter the chapter, Master Naturalists will have these core skills that they can apply to their volunteer service:
Tiger swallowtail and milkweed: Image courtesy of Henry Day
The basic training course is very broad and doesn’t have time to go very deep. Advanced training is an opportunity for volunteers to dig deeper into the subject matter and develop specific skills needed for their service projects. This type pf training builds on the core curriculum initially provided by promoting continued learning and development of naturalist skills. It also provides knowledge and skills necessary to work in local volunteer efforts.
Here are a few examples of advanced training topics:
Kayaking at Crow's Nest: Image courtesy of Jenna Veazy, Chapter member
Whether they prefer digging in the dirt, sharing the wonders of nature with youth, or collecting data to help monitor the health of our wildlife populations, Virginia Master Naturalists can find a volunteer project that fits their interests and skills. Virginia Master Naturalists volunteer for three types of projects: education, citizen science, and stewardship. All volunteer work must be performed under a chapter-approved project.
All projects must meet the following criteria:
If you have an idea for a volunteer effort, but Central Rapp does not have an approved project for it, don’t worry—you can create a new project whenever you’d like (with chapter approval)!
Image courtesy of Rikki Lucas, Chapter member
ADMINISTRATIVE: you can get volunteer hours by helping out in your chapter administration. Here are some examples:
EDUCATION: If you enjoy public speaking or perhaps working with youth, look for education-based projects such as:
CITIZEN SCIENCE: If you want to contribute to the scientific community. Consider a citizen science project! Examples are:
STEWARDSHIP: For volunteers who want to get their hands dirty!
Photo: John Wiltenmuth,Chapter member
Copyright © 2023 Central Rappahannock Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists - All Rights Reserved.
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