The Virginia Master Naturalist Program is designed to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Virginia Museum of Natural History is one of the seven sponsoring agencies of the Virginia Master Naturalist program, along with the Virginia Cooperative Extension (College of Natural Resources and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (State Parks), Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the Virginia Department of Forestry, and the Center for Coastal Resources Management.
Chapters are running and in development across Virginia. While VMNH sponsors the program state-wide, it is closely involved with three specific chapters--the Southwestern Piedmont, Rivanna, Central Virginia, and Peninsula chapters. To locate a chapter in other areas of the state and to learn the requirements for getting Master Naturalist certification, go to www.virginiamasternaturalist.org.
Southwestern Piedmont Chapter
The Southwestern Piedmont Chapter represents Master Naturalists of Martinsville, Henry County, and the surrounding areas. This chapter began its first training session for volunteers in August of 2007. Typically, the Chapter’s offers a Basic Training Course annually beginning in August and ending in December. Each class meets on Tuesday night from 6 - 8 PM with three or four Saturday local field trips. Classes are held in the education center at the Virginia Museum of Natural History and in various locations in the field.
Basic Training Class Schedule
*Most classes are on Tuesday evenings from 6-8 PM,at the Virginia Museum of Natural History, Martinsville. Field trips are held at various times and locations in Patrick and Henry countries. For more information about basic training, please send an inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org
Master Naturalist Certification
The process for becoming a certified Virginia Master Naturalist typically takes 6 to 12 months and requires the following:
- 40 hours of basic training, including classroom sessions and field trips
- 8 hours of advanced training
- 40 hours of volunteer service
Visit www.virginiamasternaturalist.org/index.html for more information about the state program.
The membership year follows the calendar--January 1 to December 31. Anyone who has been a member of the Southwestern Piedmont chapter at any time may renew their membership online or by sending a check for $10 payable to "Southwestern Piedmont Master Naturalists" and addressed to Southwestern Piedmont Virginia Master Naturalist, Virginia Museum of Natural History, 21 Starling Avenue, Martinsville, VA 24112.
Virginia Master Naturalist programs and employment are open to all, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.
Some Examples of Our Volunteer Service Projects
- Provide interpretation and tours at VMNH for visiting groups
- Volunteer with the VMNH Education Department
- Lead an interpretive hike
- Develop and deliver presentations about Nature and Natural Science
Citizen Science Projects
- Volunteer with the VMNH Research and Collections Department
- Monitor and report on breeding birds
- Monitor and report on Water Quality
- Monitor and report on insects
- Volunteer with the Southside Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
- Develop or maintain hiking trails
- Facilitiate the development of wildlife habitats
- Assist in cleaning up our parks and waterways
Sponsors, Partners and Donations
Local Partners (Source- Annual Report):
- Blue Ridge Foothills Chapter
- Blue Ridge Ski and Outing Club
- City of Martinsville
- Dan River Basin Association
- Danville Parks and Recreation
- Fairy Stone State Park
- Ferrum College
- Friends of Philpott
- Friends of Wilson Park
- Gateway Streetscape Foundation
- Henry County
- Henry County Parks and Recreation
- Henry County Schools
- Martinsville City Schools
- Martinsville Parks and Recreation
- MHC Office of Tourism
- Philpott Lake
- Piedmont Arts Association
- Reynolds Homestead
- Rivers and Trails
- Roanoke College
- University of Virginia
- Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
- Virginia Department of Forestry
- Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
- Virginia Herpetological Society
- Virginia Museum of Natural History
- Virginia Save Our Streams
- Virginia Tech
A special thank you to chapter donors!
- Tiffany Haworth
- Lynn Regan - "Monarch" Level