Anyone who loves nature and wants to share that appreciation with others might want to become a certified West Virginia Master Naturalist.
The Tygart Valley Master Naturalist Chapter will host a free public informational meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. March 26 at the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Elkins Operations Center on Ward Road. This meeting originally was set for March 6 but it was postponed because of severe weather.
Tommy Zeitz, local Master Naturalist and the coordinator for the chapter, said the purpose of the public meeting is to provide information about the program, answer questions and obtain student applications for the coming season's classes.
Master Naturalist training is offered in a broad range of specialties in the fields of natural history and environmental education.
Topics include mushrooms, wildflowers, insects, snakes, birds, mammals, weather, geology, fossils, nature interaction and teaching, all from a West Virginia prospective.
To become certified, students must complete 64 hours of classroom and field training. Students also must complete 30 hours of volunteer work. To maintain certification, eight hours of continuing education and 16 hour of volunteer time are required each year.
Anyone over 16 years of age, with an interest in natural history, is welcome to take part.
The first hour of the meeting will be a review the overall Master Naturalist program and to answer program questions. The second half of the meeting will feature a Flying Higher presentation featuring live birds of prey. Jo Santiago, owner and creator of Flying Higher, works with non-releasable live birds of prey, and her presentation is both dynamic and motivational.
Guests will learn about the biology, natural history and conservation of hawks, owls and other raptors.
For more information regarding this meeting or about the Tygart Valley Master Naturalist program, anyone interested can contact Zeitz at 304-866-7418.