Mid-Ohio Valley Master Naturalists Come Back to Life in March | News, Sports, Jobs

PARKERSBURG — The Mid-Ohio Valley Master Naturalists will begin their 10th season on March 12.

Meeting monthly at the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge, North Bend State Park, and nature preserves in and around West Virginia, 64 hours of workshops will involve experts from the Division of Natural Resources of West Virginia, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and experts teaching about West Virginia’s plants, animals, and landscapes through field trips and classroom workshops.

Topics include mammals, geology, birds, nature sketches, trees, insects, fungi, fish and more.

All ages, 16+ and all levels of physical ability are welcome.

Among the experts will be Jason White, a local scientist and naturalist with years of internship and volunteering for the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge, who will lead a fish workshop.

Jim Fregonara, an instructor with the Division of Natural Resources, will teach a course on reptiles and amphibians with lots of hands-on material and living creatures.

Michael Schramm with the Wildlife Refuge and an amazing birder, will teach a unit on birds.

Among the popular events on the program is a day at the Jay and Cindy Burkhart farm on April 23. Participants will discover approximately 80 species of wildflowers and explore ponds and streams for aquatic life.

The mission of the program is to provide sufficiently in-depth exposure to the natural history of Appalachia that students have a basic knowledge of the ecology and wildlife of our region.

By the time a person has completed the program, they will be ready to lead nature walks and introductory classes for adults and children and can continue to learn each year by attending new workshops and any others they wish to see again.

Participants are required to complete 48 hours of core credit and 16 hours of electives. The cost is $125 and can be paid in five monthly installments.

Fees cover the Natural Resources Division manual, speakers’ allowances, and some administrative costs. Participation in the program can last indefinitely as many people take two years to complete the program.

In addition to course work, participants must complete 30 hours of volunteer work to obtain a certificate from the Division of Natural Resources. Volunteer opportunities include monitoring bluebird nest boxes, planting and maintaining pollinator gardens, and volunteering in environmental education programs.

For more information, contact Emily Grafton, [email protected] or 304-906-7846.

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