Master Naturalist Program

Calling All Nature Lovers

Area nature lovers, 16 years of age and older, can now be trained and certified as Master Naturalists. The new program was developed by the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, and the Good Zoo at Oglebay has been chosen as a training site. The cooperative program, led by the WV Division of Natural Resources with assistance from Davis and Elkins College, Canaan Valley Institute and the WV Cooperative Extension Service, has selected the Good Zoo at Oglebay as a training site. Good Zoo educators will be teaching the classes, along with the Schrader Environmental Education Center staff, the West Virginia Department of Natural Resource’s biologists, and university experts.

“Anyone who enjoys the outdoors will love these classes,” said Vickie Markey-Tekely, Education Curator of the Good Zoo. “We have husbands and wives signing up together, some teens with their parents, and lots of individuals.”

Teens through seniors will take 48 hours of core classes about mammals, birds, wildflowers, trees, habitats, nature interpretation, and much more. In addition, participants will have 16 hours of electives. Participants will have a choice of 16 hours of electives on astronomy, tracking, nature illustration, geology, nature photography and much more.

Those in the program have up to four years to complete the training, which will usually take place over a weekend offered Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. In addition to course work, Master Naturalist candidates must complete 30 hours of approved volunteer activity to become certified and must provide 16 hours of volunteer activity annually to retain certification.

Once certified, the Master Naturalists are expected to volunteer a minimum of 16 hours a year in a West Virginia State Park, at the Good Zoo, at the Schrader Environmental Center, visiting area schools, or on other projects, such as assisting with future Master Naturalist classes.

The Master Naturalist program is similar to the Master Gardener’s program.

For more information call Vicky Markey at 304-243-4068 or e-mail

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