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Master Naturalist applications available

By Staff | Nov 18, 2011

The Potomac Valley Master Naturalist Program is now accepting applications for its 2012 classes.

Instruction will begin in March 2012 and continue monthly through October.

Applications must be postmarked by Jan. 14, 2012. Candidates will be notified of their selection by Feb. 1. Enrollment is strictly limited to 20 persons each year.

Established in 2007, the Potomac Valley Master Naturalist Program is sponsored by the Potomac Valley Audubon Society and is a chapter of the State of West Virginia Master Naturalist Program.

Its classes are open to anyone who wants to be certified as a Master Naturalist by the state of West Virginia.

Most who enroll come from Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan Counties. Interested persons who live outside this area are welcome to apply, but they must commit to completing all their volunteer work in West Virginia.

In all, 64 hours of classroom time and 30 hours of volunteer work are required to complete the certification cycle.

Classes are held at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, Cacapon State Park in Berkeley Springs, Yankauer Nature Preserve in northeastern Berkeley County and Cool Spring Farm in southern Jefferson County.

Tuition is $300 per person for the full course of instruction. A limited number of scholarships will be available.

Application forms and more details are available at www.potomacaudubon.org. Scholarship applications are also available there. For more information email Melanie Snyder at little owl48@hotmail.com.

The Master Naturalist program is patterned after the long-established Master Gardener program.

It trains individuals in the fundamentals of natural history and nature interpretation as a way of promoting responsible stewardship of natural resources.

Graduates of the program become part of a corps of highly qualified volunteers who assist government agencies, schools and non-government organizations with research, outdoor recreation development and environmental education and protection.

To remain certified they must take 8 hours of training and participate in 16 hours of volunteer activity annually.