New Member Certification
Virginia Master Naturalists channel their curiosity and passion for the natural world into volunteer service through the state certification process. Certification through the Shenandoah Chapter requires:
40+ Hours of Basic Training
Classroom and field experiences in natural history, conservation, resource management, interpretation, and research led by local experts. Completion is based on satisfactory attendance and test completion. Offered every Spring.
8 Hours of Advanced Training
Lectures or workshops in personally-chosen specialized topics that build on basic training. Completion based on Volunteer Opportunities Committee approval and online documentation of specific advanced training workshop. Offered throughout the year. Required annually for re-certification.
40 Hours of Volunteer Service
Volunteer projects in education, citizen science, or stewardship that take place throughout the region. Completion based on Volunteer Opportunities Committee approval and online documentation of hours. Offered throughout the year. Required annually for re-certification.
Each established Virginia Master Naturalist member must fulfill the 8 hours of Advanced Training and 40 hours of Volunteer Service each year to be re-certified for the next year. However, the first certification of a new Master Naturalist lasts a bit longer based on the scheduling of the Basic Training course.
Rebecca, a Master-Naturalist-In-Training, finishes the Basic Training Course on May 21, 2022. That means she has from May 21, 2022 until May 21, 2023 to fulfill her first-year certification requirements.
First Year Certification
Rebecca completes her requirements on December 31st, 2022. Because we don't want to penalize her for finishing early, she is certified not only through 2023, but also through the end of 2024. Any of her classmates that finish their first-year requirements later than her (but before May 21, 2023) are also certified through the end of 2024.
Any hours Rebecca volunteers after May 21, 2023 are considered extra and don't count toward certification or re-certification. In order to be an active Virginia Master Naturalist for 2015 , Rebecca must work toward her re-certification requirements between January 2024 and December 2024. She follows a yearly re-certification timeline the rest of her time as a VMN.
Record your Certification or Re-Certification Hours
Virginia Master Naturalist Chapters use the Better Impact volunteer management system to log volunteer and advanced training hours*, view chapter calendars, and send communications to the entire chapter.
*Please remember: VMN volunteers may count time spent on travel to conduct volunteer service towards the certification and milestone achievements, but travel time to and from Basic Training or Advanced Training hours does not count. Please log your travel time separately under the project labeled "Travel Time."