The Virginia Master Naturalist ProgramLeaf

The Virginia Master Naturalist Program is a statewide corps of volunteers providing education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities. The VMN program is organized in chapters that represent geographic areas in Virginia and is overseen by statewide committees.


The Rivanna Master Naturalist ChapterStudying

Based in Charlottesville, the Rivanna Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists was chartered in June 2006 to serve the Central Piedmont of Virginia, particularly the Rivanna Watershed, including Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and Fluvanna County.  Since then, the Rivanna Master Naturalist Chapter has organized annual courses to train more than 200 individuals to become Virginia Master Naturalist volunteers, and our membership now totals more than 100 active members and trainees.  Since 2006, these volunteers have contributed more than 44,000 hours of service to natural resource education, citizen science, and stewardship projects in our community.  We are still growing and developing, and we invite you to read more about our activities on our blog, become a volunteer by applying to our next training course, to attend one of our public programs, or to partner with us to benefit natural resources in the Rivanna watershed.

Our chapter is led by a volunteer board and committees.

How to become a Certified Virginia Master NaturalistGroup photo of 17 members of 2013 Rivanna Master Naturalist class in front of the Ivy Creek Educational Building

The process for becoming a certified Virginia Master Naturalist typically takes 6 to 12 months. You can begin by identifying the chapter nearest you and enrolling in the 40-hour basic training course offered by that chapter. The Rivanna Chapter’s training course is held in the spring (February-May), with the application process starting in November or December. In addition to attending basic classroom and field trip training, prospective members must complete eight hours of advanced training and 40 hours of volunteer service for full certification.

The most important qualification for membership is a desire to protect and preserve the health of our local environment through volunteer service. Volunteerism is the foundation upon which this program was founded, and its purpose is to train and support an ever-expanding corps of skilled volunteers. All members of the Rivanna chapter, including officers, instructors, program leaders, and committee members, are volunteers. We recommend that you enroll in the Virginia Master Naturalist training only if you have the desire and time to fulfill the volunteer requirement.

Take a short quiz to see if this is the program for you.

The Virginia Master Naturalist program 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, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.


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