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Virginia Master Naturalist Brochure


465-300 (CNRE-171NP)

Authors as Published

Michelle Prysby, Virginia Master Naturalist Program Director, Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

Make a Difference

Feel that sense of satisfaction when you make an impact through volunteer service! Examples of Virginia Master Naturalist volunteer activities:

  • Monitor bat populations using acoustic detection equipment
  • Document wildlife observations at Virginia Bird and Wildlife Trail sites
  • Lead nature walks at Virginia State Parks
  • Install pollinator gardens
  • Plant trees to protect waterways from runoff
  • Organize community cleanups of local parks and streams
  • Provide advice to homeowners for improving wildlife habitat on their properties
  • Engage youth in environmental education…and hundreds more activities to benefit natural resource education and conservation

Learn, contribute, and have fun with the team of volunteers helping Virginia’s communities conserve natural resources and public lands through education, science, and stewardship

Virginia Master Naturalists is for everyone who is curious about nature and who wants to be in a supportive group working together on natural resource conservation. We seek to build a diverse and inclusive volunteer corps that is accessible to all.

Join the Virginia Master Naturalists

Virginia Master Naturalists are a statewide corps of volunteers providing natural resource education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities.

Becoming a Certified Virginia Master Naturalist:

  • Starts with completing a 40-hour volunteer training course offered by a local chapter of the program
  • Includes an additional 8 hours of continuing education
  • Requires 40 hours of volunteer service
  • Typically takes 6-12 months

Visit to find current chapter locations and contacts

Impact Your Community

Virginia Master Naturalists make a difference through approved volunteer service in their communities.

  • Education – Guide adults and youth in learning about nature
  • Science – Collect data on wildlife and plant populations, water quality, and more
  • Stewardship – Restore wildlife habitat, clean up a local stream, or build a trail
  • Program Leadership – Help coordinate your local VMN chapter

The basic volunteer training course prepares participants for their service and fosters connections with people, places, and projects. No prior knowledge is required, only a desire to learn and volunteer. Engage your passions as you dive into a host of fascinating topics, including:

  • Biology and identification of plants and animals
  • Management and conservation of ecological systems such as forests and streams
  • Teaching and interpretive skills
  • Naturalist skills, such as observation and data collection

Every course includes outdoor field time to explore local natural areas, see natural resource management firsthand, and practice skills.

For more information:
Virginia Master Naturalist Program State Office
Phone: 540-231-0790

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law

Publication Date

June 7, 2023