The development of the West Virginia Master Naturalist Program began in 2003 and grew out of a partnership among the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (including the Wildlife Resources Section’s Wildlife Diversity Program and the Parks and Recreation Section), West Virginia University Cooperative Extension Service, Canaan Valley Institute, and Davis and Elkins College. The Canaan Valley Institute was unable to continue its support and withdrew in 2006. These programs somewhat resemble the Master Gardener Programs that have been so popular across the United States. The first West Virginia Master Naturalist training session was held over the weekend of April 30 – May 2, 2004 at Hawks Nest State Park in Fayette County, with a class of 20 students and continued quarterly at different WV state parks.
These quarterly weekend events were discontinued in 2006 due to the expense to the individual students and the limited number of positions available for this training. The program was moved to local chapters providing accessibility to many more individuals, decreasing the individual expense, and connecting MN volunteers with local projects.
The goals of the Master Naturalist State Advisory Committee (MNSAC) were to develop a program tailored to the unique circumstances of West Virginia and to plan the annual MN educational conference.
West Virginia Master Naturalist Advisory Committee
This website is owned and maintained by the West Virginia Master Naturalist Advisory Committee (WVMNAC) as a service to the West Virginia Master Naturalist community. This is NOT the official website of the West Virginia Master Naturalist Program, which is sponsored by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section and several cooperating partners. The OFFICIAL West Virginia Master Naturalist website can be found at
The Advisory Committee consists of a representative from each of West Virginia’s eight currently active Master Naturalist Chapters and one representative from each of the sponsoring partner agencies. There are also two at-large members elected from the state Master Naturalist membership. The Committee advises the Wildlife Resources Section of the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources on matters pertaining to the West Virginia Master Naturalist Program.
Cooperating partners of the West Virginia Master Naturalist Program include:
Several Cooperating institutions or agencies also support local chapters. These include:
- The Good Zoo/Oglebay Park (Ohio Valley Chapter)
- Friends of the 500th (Canaan Valley Chapter)
- Potomac Valley Audubon Society (Potomac Valley Chapter)
Advisory Committee Members
Chapter or Agency – Representative
- Canaan Valley Chapter (Tucker County) – Andy Dalton (Chair)
- Kanawha Valley Chapter (Charleston) – Becky Linger (Secretary)
- Monongahela Chapter (Morgantown) – Mike Vernon
- New River Gorge Chapter (Fayetteville) – Keith Richardson
- Ohio Valley Chapter (Oglebay) – Vickie Markey
- Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter (Parkersburg) – Emily Grafton
- Potomac Valley Chapter (Shepherdstown) – Clark Dixon (Vice-chair)
- Tygart Valley Chapter (Elkins) – Tommy Zeitz
- WV DNR Wildlife Resources – Jim Fregonara (304) 637-0245
- West Virginia University Extension – Sheldon Owen (304) 293-2990
- At Large representative – Steve Swank
- At Large representative – Sue Flowers
- Treasurer – Carol Nix
- Web Master – John Bocan
*Red and bold names and contact people are clickable and will open the Chapter’s website or email contact point.
Copyright 2021 by Master Naturalists of west Virginia. All rights reserved.