Basic Training


The first step to become a Virginia Master Naturalist is the successful completion of a 40-hour training course with your area chapter that includes both classroom and field experience. The training course is designed as a broad based survey course that provides volunteers with a background knowledge of the area in which they will pursue their service projects. This course is required only once in the life of a Virginia Master Naturalist. More on what to expect from your basic training.

The Rivanna Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists is pleased to announce that the 2014 Basic Training will begin February 10 at the Ivy Creek Natural Area. This year’s class will be on Tuesday evenings with some Saturday field trips scheduled.  Download the tentative schedule (subject to change): RMN_draftschedule_2015.  The application and reference forms are posted below and are due January 12. For more information, email RMN Chapter President, Marilyn Smith dgmlsmith [at] mac [dot] com or rivannamn [dot] info [at] gmail [dot] com.

Download the following two forms and save them to your computer in order to complete them:
2015 Rivanna Master Naturalist Volunteer Application and Enrollment Form: RMN_Student_Application_2015

2015 Rivanna Master Naturalist Volunteer Reference Form:

The Virginia Master Naturalists is a corps of volunteers dedicated to conserving our natural heritage.  We work with our sponsoring state agencies and with local partnering groups such as schools, parks, and environmental groups. We educate, gather scientific data, maintain trails, and engage in other environmental endeavors. We have a broad range of age, interests and backgrounds, and we are looking for like minded people to join our mission.

We strongly encourage you attend an information session to meet some of the Chapter members as well as better understand the program and the volunteer requirements. Three different sessions will be held at Ivy Creek Natural Area Education Building at 1780 Earlysville Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903. They are December 16 at 7 PM, January 6 at 7 pm and January 11 at 2 PM.

The Virginia Master Naturalist Program is open to all regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status.

Please note, there is a class fee of $150 to cover materials and chapter operation costs. Enrolled participants will receive a Rivanna Master Naturalist notebook with the required curriculum materials, Peterson’s Eastern Forests field guide, as well as various other field guides and books on local natural history topics.

Advanced Training

RabbitIn addition to the one-time 40-hour training course, Virginia Master Naturalists are required to attend eight hours of advanced training in their area of volunteer interest. Advanced training is intended to provide volunteers with the background knowledge and skills needed to effectively perform the volunteer service of their choice. Advanced training may be one eight hour workshop or several smaller programs. Advanced training is required annually for re-certification.

Volunteer Service

To attain the status of certified Virginia Master Naturalist, members must contribute at least 40 hours of volunteer service in their local community each year. Volunteer service must be in a project approved by the chapter. For a list of RMN approved projects, visit the volunteer page.

Thirty hours of administrative service to the chapter can be used toward the volunteer requirement. Volunteer service is required each year for re-certification.

If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact the interim Chapter Advisor, Alycia Crall, at the Virginia Cooperative Extension Albemarle/Charlottesville Office at 434-872-4580  (TDD number 1-800-828-1120) during business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations.  Please call at least a week in advance.


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