Take Our Basic Training to Become a Master Naturalist

ARMN’s Basic Training Course provides an overview of the natural world of Virginia, from its geography to the migratory birds that pass over it, with subject matter taught  by experts in their fields.

The Basic Training Course typically lasts 14 weeks and includes online classes on weekday evenings and occasional field trips on weekends. At least 25 percent of course time is spent in the field. 

Among other things, the Basic Training Course covers:

  • The significance of naturalists and natural history
  • The geography of Virginia and its distinctive zones
  • Basic concepts of geology and soils
  • Principles of weather and climate
  • Resource management principles
  • Recognizing native plants and non-native invasives
  • Identification of local trees
  • The role of insects and amphibians in our local environment
  • Citizen science and research skills
  • Basic education and interpretation skills

By the end of the course, a Virginia Master Naturalist will have learned how to:

  • Use a key to identify organisms
  • Use a field guide
  • Share knowledge with others 
  • Make and record observations in nature
  • Know how and where to find information from people, books, or other reliable resources 

Trainees should not miss more than two classes, and all missed classes or field trips must be made up. Field trips involve walking on woodland trails and may include some hills and uneven surfaces. Alternate field training can be arranged to accommodate individuals with disabilities.

As Master Naturalists, graduates commit to providing at least 40 hours per year of volunteer service in citizen science, outreach and education, and/or stewardship projects, such as habitat restoration.

Are you ready to become a Master Naturalist? Learn how to apply here.