of West Virginia
Candidates for Master Naturalist certification must complete 30 hours of approved volunteer service, and they must also perform an additional 16 hours of volunteer service each year to maintain their certification. In considering the appropriateness of a volunteer project for satisfying the Master Naturalist certification requirements one should consider the mission statement of the West Virginia Master Naturalist Program:
The Mission of the West Virginia Master Naturalist Program is to train interested people in the fundamentals of natural history and nature interpretation and teaching, and to instill in them an appreciation of the importance of responsible environmental stewardship. The program will also provide a corps of well-qualified volunteers to assist government agencies, schools, and non-governmental education and protection.
In principle, any activity that would address some aspect of the mission statement would qualify as an appropriate volunteer activity. The following are some categories of volunteer activities that would be appropriate.
Education/Interpretation, Public Information etc.
Information booths at meetings
Workshops for children
Guided naturalist walk
Garden guide for native plant collections
Children/youth outdoor classroom naturalist
Scouting, Explorer or 4-H Club Naturalist
Native plant collections
Birds and wildlife census
Maintaining volunteer data
Clerical work (mail outs etc.)
Coordinating a county based program
Other Examples of Volunteer Service Might Include:
Habitat Restoration such as removing exotic invasive vegetation, planting native vegetation, or creating wetlands or water sources for wildlife;
Creation of natural areas for the purpose of education, i.e., schoolyard habitats, nature trails, or wildscapes (all should include identification markers or guides);
Administration: serving on a chapter committee, database entry, hospitality etc.
Approval of Volunteer Projects:
All volunteer projects and advance training hours should be approved in advance by a Chapter Coordinator in order to earn/or retain West Virginia Master Naturalist (WVMN) Certification. Unapproved activities will not count towards certification or recertification.
Advance training and volunteer service must be in one of the designated (or closely related) naturalist fields:
Archeology-as it pertains to the historic use of natural resources
Botany- as it pertains to native plants
Climate and Weather
Conservation and Environmental Issues
Geology-as it relates to ecosystems
Habitat management and/or restoration
Soil-as it pertains to habitat or as a natural resource
Water-as it pertains to habitat or as a natural resource
Projects must either involve interacting with the public in an educational capacity or providing enrichment of West Virginia's natural resources in one of the designated (or closely related) fields noted above in the list of Naturalist Fields.
Only members scheduled to give a presentation may include preparation time as part of volunteer service hours.
Members may not claim volunteer service hours for any project for which they are compensated, or if it is required by the terms of their employment.
Travel time can be counted if you are 30 minutes away or more as part of volunteer service but not part of advanced training.
The Advanced training required for recertification may involve some combination of coursework and volunteer experiences. The purpose of advanced training is to gain knowledge and/or experience that augments the training received in the West Virginia Master Naturalist classes. Advanced training should not cover the same basic information on a subject covered in the initial Master Naturalist training classes. However, an advanced training opportunity that covers the subject more in-depth or from a different perspective would meet the criteria.
Unless otherwise approved, watching an educational TV program, movie or video on a naturalist subject does not count as advanced training except when viewed during the course of an approved lecture or training program. Travel time to an advanced training event will not count towards hours. Members may not claim advanced training for any training for which they are compensated, or which is required by the terms of their employment.