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The Virginia Master Naturalist program is a statewide volunteer training program designed to enhance natural resource education and conservation across Virginia. The program’s mission is 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.

At the state level, the Virginia Master Naturalist program is sponsored jointly by Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and Virginia Museum of Natural History. Partnerships at the local level are a cornerstone of the program and may include other public agencies, as well as private organizations involved in conservation and education.

The Shenandoah chapter serves the northern Shenandoah Valley, including the Counties of Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah, and Warren, and the City of Winchester. The chapter was originally named Daughter of the Stars.

The program consists of a network of Virginia Master Naturalist chapters across the state. Each chapter is responsible for recruiting and training volunteers and for working with partners to create and coordinate volunteer service opportunities. The training consists of a minimum of 48 hours classroom and field time covering a core set of curriculum objectives. The objectives focus on ecology, natural resource management, basic natural history of the animals and plants of Virginia, and skills for teaching and field research. To become a certified Virginia Master Naturalist, each volunteer must also complete at least 40 hours of service. This service can be in the form of education (such as leading an interpretive program in a state park), citizen science (such as collecting data on wildlife populations), or stewardship (such as restoring a natural

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  • 57
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  • Jun 19, 2007
  • English

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