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Become an Eastern Shore Master Naturalist

The Virginia Master Naturalist volunteer program is designed to qualify informed individuals to carry out the various activities and projects that are central to our mission. Once qualified, you’ll be hands-on. You might monitor and maintain natural areas, collect data, work alongside researchers, engage in outreach, or in an educator role, for a few examples.

Virginia Master Naturalists are on the front lines of science-based environmental activity, putting in effort where it matters to protect and promote the natural resources of the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

The Eastern Shore Virginia Master Naturalist Class of 2023, on a field trip to Mutton Hunk Fen Natural Area Preserve. Photo by Victor Klein.
The Eastern Shore Virginia Master Naturalist Class of 2023, on a field trip to Mutton Hunk Fen Natural Area Preserve. Photo by Victor Klein.

We Are Now Accepting Applications for the Fall 2024 Basic Training Course!

All Day Thursdays from September 5 – November 7, 2024

Learn, contribute, and have fun helping Eastern Shore communities conserve natural resources and public lands through education, science, and stewardship

MISSION: Virginia Master Naturalists are volunteer educators, citizen scientists, and stewards helping Virginia conserve and manage natural resources and public lands. 

  • The Eastern Shore Chapter sponsors and supports dozens of projects, providing a wide range of volunteer service opportunities to its members throughout Accomack and Northampton counties. 
  • Members work with various groups in diverse settings such as wildlife refuges, parks, and nature preserves to carry out the VMN mission on the Eastern Shore.
  • The program is open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law.
  • If you are a person with a disability and desire an accommodation in the application process, please contact . TDD number is (800) 828-1120.  

MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS: You must complete the Eastern Shore Chapter Basic Training Course to become a Chapter member. All Chapter members are expected to perform volunteer service on the Eastern Shore consistent with the Chapter’s mission. There is no minimum requirement for the number of hours you volunteer. There is something for everyone!

BASIC TRAINING COURSE (BTC): The ESMN BTC covers the background knowledge and skills to prepare you for your VMN volunteer service. This includes a wide range of topics such as botany, ecology, and mammalogy, with an emphasis on the nature and natural resources of the Eastern Shore. 

  • The course is planned for ten (10) consecutive Thursdays from September 5 – November 7, 2024, including both classroom instruction and field trips. 
  • Classes are held at the Virginia Institute for Marine Science Eastern Shore Laboratory in Wachapreague and various field locations on the Eastern Shore. 
  • Students are expected to arrive for each class no later than 9:00 am. Classes will adjourn no later than 4:00 pm, and may end earlier when the schedule permits. You will be given a syllabus on the first day of class, including field trip locations and dates. 
  • Trainees are expected to attend all classroom and field sessions. In the event you are unable to attend a given session you may need to complete make-up activities to complete the course.
  • Updates and additional information will be posted at when available. 
  • The fee for the 2024 Basic Training Course is $150.00. Limited scholarships may be available. If your application is approved, you will be provided with instructions regarding payment and enrolled in the class when payment is received. 


  • Access the online application here
  • Applications will be processed in the order in which they are received.
  • Applications must be received by August 22, 2024 to be considered.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: If you have questions, would like additional information, or would prefer to longer receive emails about ESMN please contact us

You may wish to visit our parent organization, Virginia Master Naturalist’s “Become a Master Naturalist” pages for additional details. Go ahead, we’ll be here when you come back!