Much like the first spring birds in our backyards bring promises of good things to come, so does the posting of the 2019 Class Schedule of the Canaan Valley Chapter of Master Naturalists of West Virginia!
Those observing the birds might be the same people who would (or already do) enjoy the Master Naturalists Program. To become Certified Master Naturalists, candidates take classes on such subjects as birds, insects, wildflowers, and trees, along with many other important inhabitants and components of the natural world. And like the birds, these classes are in our own backyards. They are taught in Canaan Valley, Blackwater Falls, and surroundings areas.
Many of us are already naturalists, having spent our lives observing, studying, and living around wildlife and the world of nature, and many of us would like to increase our knowledge. Joining a Master Naturalists chapter and completing the program give us an opportunity to acquire a credential that reflects our interests and expertise as well as an avenue to ongoing lifelong learning.
There is a modest one-time fee, which varies slightly from chapter to chapter. Candidates complete 62 hours of classwork and 30 hours of volunteer work, both of which they may extend over the course of four years. Certification may be kept indefinitely by completing a small amount of coursework and volunteer hours each year.
Classes are on weekends. Because some candidates come from distant places, Canaan Valley Chapter holds four weekend sessions per year with classes beginning on Friday evenings and ending on Sundays at noon. This year’s classes are April 26-28, May 17-19, July 12-14, and August 23-25. It is possible for candidates who participate fully in Canaan Valley classes to complete the entire program in one summer. Other chapters, such as our neighboring Tygart Valley Chapter, offer different scheduling choices.
The subject matter of the classes is of significant interest to students of nature. Instructors are highly qualified experts in their fields and are from our region. Classes almost always include some hands-on activities or excursions outdoors so that students can apply their knowledge. Participation in the program offers an opportunity to meet other like-minded individuals and to make a positive contribution to understanding and preserving our rich and varied natural world.
On Thursday, March 14, 2019, 6:00 P.M., at the DNR Elkins Operational Center, after the informational meeting of the WV Scenic Trails Association, the Tygart Valley and Canaan Valley Master Naturalists chapters will offer a short introduction to the WV Master Naturalists program followed with a question and answer session. The event is open to the public and is free of charge.
For more information on Master Naturalists of WV and to view the Canaan Valley Chapter schedule online, go to mnofwv.org, >Local Chapters, >Master Naturalist Class Schedules, and >Canaan Valley Chapter. Interested persons may also contact Andy Dalton, Coordinator of Canaan Valley Chapter, at ADalton2000@yahoo.com or 304-866-7037.