What is a Master Naturalist?

Mission Statement

The mission of the West Virginia Master Naturalist Program is to train interested people in the fundamentals of natural history, 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 highly qualified volunteers to assist government agencies, schools, and non-government organizations with research, outdoor recreation development, and environmental education and protection.


Click on link to see a copy of the by-laws as approved August 21, 2021.

Standards of Conduct and Ethics

  • Maintain high standards of integrity, conduct, service, and performance.
  • Know and follow established program guidelines and policies.
  • Be courteous and respectful of others and their views.
  • Promote a spirit of cooperation in all activities.
  • Act as trustworthy and ethical stewards of the environment.
  • Encourage the use of sound biological information in education and in management decisions.
  • Avoid use of the West Virginia Master Naturalist title or logo for personal profit or t advocate, lobby or promote political agendas or business or personal endeavors under  Master Naturalist auspices.

Some Questions and Answers

Question: What must I do to become certified as a West Virginia Master Naturalist?

To achieve certification, a candidate must complete 62 hours of formal class and field work. The classes are usually offered through the local Master Naturalist Chapters. A candidate must additionally complete 30 hours of approved volunteer service to satisfy the requirements for certification.

Question: How long does it take to complete the Master Naturalist training?

Since most students cannot make it to every class that is offered, it usually takes about two years to get in all the necessary coursework and volunteer service. However, after beginning the program, a student has up to four years to complete the requirements.

Question: Do I need to have a college degree or any other specialized training to be accepted into the Master Naturalist program?

No. The Master Naturalist program has no educational requirements. All you need is an interest in nature and a willingness to learn.

Question: If I am a member of one chapter, can I take classes offered by another chapter?

Generally yes, if there is space available in the class. Members of the chapter offering the class have priority of course.

Question: How much does it cost to become certified as a Master Naturalist?

The cost actually varies somewhat from Chapter to Chapter. Some Chapters charge a nominal fee for each class, generally in the $5 to $10 range. Some chapters charge a set fee which covers the cost of all of the coursework required for certification. Some chapters charge annual dues.

All beginning students must pay a one-time payment for administrative costs which generally varies from $45 to $60, depending on the chapter. This charge includes the cost of the Master Naturalist Training Manual.  

Question: How do I apply to the Program?

You may use the form on the “Contact Us” page of this website, or you may use our email info@mnofwv.org  to request additional information. You may also contact Andrea Dalton, the WVMNAC Chairman, at (304) 704-2476 or by email at  AndreaDalton64@gmail.com

Question: Are there other Master Naturalist programs around the country?

There are actually quite a few. Nearly three-quarters of the states are now sponsoring Master Naturalist training programs. These are often run through the state Agricultural Extension Service. There are even a few municipalities that offer Master Naturalist training. Texas and Florida were among the earliest states to offer such program.

Do you have questions that were not addressed here?  Please write us at: info@mnofwv.org