Training to Become a Master Naturalist


 We are happy to announce that we have completed our Basic Training Class this Fall, graduating 19 new Master Naturalist. Our next class will be held in the fall of 2022. Watch this page and other announcements on how to register for next years class, which will be posted early next summer.

The process for becoming a Certified Master Naturalist typically takes about a year.  Start by locating a Virginia Master Naturalist Chapter in the area.  If you live on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, you’ll need to complete a 40-hour Basic Training Class offered by our Chapter.  Then you are a chapter member.  To become a Certified Master Naturalist you’ll need to complete an additional 8 hours of advanced training and participate in 40 hours of volunteer service annually.

There is one basic training class a year.  Taking this class is the first step in joining this Chapter.  Classes usually start at 9:00 AM and end at 3:00 PM with field trips having day specific schedules.  The classroom programs have recently been held at the Historic Onancock School in Onancock, Virginia with field sessions at various locations on the Eastern Shore.  These sessions are conducted by Subject Matter Experts (SME’s).  The class is typically held over 10 weeks from September to November.  See Forms Page.

Basic Training consists of:

  • Ecological Principles.  The scientific study of the interactions between organisms and their environment.
  • Protected Lands.  Protected lands of the Eastern Shore and non-profit organizations responsible for them.
  • Barrier Island Processes.
  • Oyster Restoration.  Oyster reef restoration is rebuilding or restoring oyster reefs on the Eastern Shore. Over time, oysters have been negatively affected by the environment, population, etc.
  • Eastern Shore Forestry
  • Ornithology.  A look of Virginia’s bird life
  • Herps and Insects.  It’s not a typo–herps are snakes, toads, frogs, turtles
  • Botany.  The scientific study of plants
  • Coastal Geology.  Study the geology of Virginia and the Eastern Shore
  • Monarch Butterflies.  The Eastern Shore is a migratory route for the Monarch Butterfly.  Study the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly
  • Ichthyology.  The science of studying fishes, their habitats and population
  • Seagrass Ecology
  • Mammalogy.  The study of mammals can be exciting to everyone, and knowledge about mammals should be important to land managers and developers and others who often do not understand the importance of habitats and the species contained therein.  |Virginia Tech, 2013 Publication 165.314|
  • Invasive Species.  The impact of invasive species to the Eastern Shore.
  • Taxonomy.  Scientific classification, nomenclature and identification

Photos from a Basic Training Class

Niche (3)  53631 (19)

Photos from a Taxonomy Class

53631 (17)  53631 (13)

Photos from a Botany Class

53631 (24) - Copy  53631 (25) - Copy

Photos from a Soils Class at Mutton Hunk Fen NAP

Muttonhunk Sign  53631 (66)

Photos from a Coastal Ecology Class

53631 (46)  53631 (44)

Ornithology:  Did you know



If this sounds like something you’d like to do, enroll in our next class.