The Virginia Master Naturalist program is a statewide corps of volunteers providing education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities. Interested Virginians become Master Naturalists through training and volunteer service.
The process for becoming a certified Virginia Master Naturalist typically takes 6 to 12 months. One starts by completing a 40-hour basic training course that includes both required in-class instruction and field work offered by a local chapter of the program. An additional 8 hours of advanced training are also required. An important part of the certification process is the required 40 hours of volunteer service.
The Holston Rivers Chapter is based in Southwest Virginia, around the Holston Rivers watershed. It includes the North, Middle, and South Forks of the Holston River, which flows through Bland, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, and Wythe counties in Virginia. Residents of this area are encouraged to join the Holston Rivers Chapter, but membership is not restricted to residents of only this area. Members live as far away as Lee County, Wise County, Dickenson Country, and Buchanan County, and some join us from the Kingsport and Johnson City, Tennessee areas.
The Virginia Master Naturalist Program is jointly sponsored by:
- Virginia Cooperative Extension
- Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
- Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
- Virginia Department of Forestry
- Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
- Virginia Museum of Natural History
It is based in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation within the College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech.