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Local master naturalist program founders recognized

By Staff | Feb 1, 2016

To mark the beginning of the Potomac Valley Master Naturalist Program’s tenth year of operations, three of the Program’s founding members were recognized recently for their leadership in getting the Program started in 2006 and 2007.

Certificates of appreciation were presented to Clark and Ora Dixon, of Ranson, and Cheryl Jennings, of Harpers Ferry, during a Master Naturalist Open House in Kearneysville on Jan. 13.

The program was organized in the fall and winter of 2006 under the auspices of the Potomac Valley Audubon Society. It began offering classes in the spring of 2007, and it was officially recognized as a chapter of the State of West Virginia’s Master Naturalist Program later that year.

The two Dixons and Jennings played central roles in organizing the program, and in its initial operations. Clark Dixon and Jennings were its first co-coordinators, and Ora Dixon was graphics coordinator. They have continued to be active in the Program since that time.

Master Naturalist programs are patterned after Master Gardener programs. They train individuals in the fundamentals of natural history and nature interpretation as a way of promoting responsible stewardship of natural resources.

Graduates 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 eight hours of training and participate in 16 hours of volunteer activity annually.

The Potomac Valley Master Naturalist Program offers weekend classes monthly at various locations in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle from March through October each year.

Enrollment is limited to about 20 persons each year, and those who wish to participate must apply before the end of January.

More information is available on the Potomac Valley Audubon web page at www.potomacaudubon.org.