As some may have noticed, my blogging frequency has been a bit inconsistent over the last year. I’ll admit to it, but won’t make any excuses. It’s just the way things go sometimes. While content has been a little slow on the blog, I have been staying active (outside of my day-time job) with various other projects and personal goals – and on that note, I would like to share some of my latest accomplishments over the last year or so.
My latest and current involvement is with the Virginia Master Gardener Program. I’ve always enjoyed and had a love for gardening ever since I was a child working in my dad’s garden. Now, as a Master Gardener, it’s an opportunity to share that joy and knowledge with others in my community.
I’m officially half way through the program after completing the 50 hours of classroom training. Interns are required to volunteer an additional 50 hours during their first year before becoming an official certified Master Gardener. It may sound like a lot but the hours are easy when it’s something you enjoy doing, and the volunteer opportunities are endless. I’ve already racked up quite a few hours already and see no issue completing the requirement way ahead of schedule. If interested in learning more about the Master Gardener program visit your local Cooperative Extension office or website.
Prior to entering the Master Gardener class, I completed the a similar curriculum that’s more focused on the natural history of Virginia, known as the Virginia Master Naturalist (VMN) program. As an amateur naturalist looking to learn more, I knew this training was meant for me.
For those unaware, the Master naturalist program is a volunteer program consisting of educators, citizen scientist and stewards helping to conserve and manage its natural resources and public lands. The program is organized into regional chapters that are overseen by statewide committees. My local chapter is the Tidewater Master Naturalist (TMN). The basic training course is tailored to fit its local environment and community, so no two courses are exactly the same.
Similar to the Master Gardener program, the process for becoming certified typically takes 6 to 12 months and requires the completion of classroom training and then completing the required 40 hours of approved volunteer service. If you’re from VA, check out a list of local chapters in your area here. Most other states offer this program as well.
I signed up for evening classes last spring and leaped in with others that shared the same enthusiasm about nature as I did. My favorite part of the class was the field training. Our class was involved in lots of fun activities like hiking the trails in First Landing State Park.
While there, we met up with a group of folks from the Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory to witness and learn about their bird banding program.
I still have more hours to complete prior to certification, but the fun has just begun!
Explore the opportunities in your own community to see if one or both of these programs would be a good fit for you.
Visit us on Facebook:
Suffolk Master Gardener Association:https://www.facebook.com/SuffolkMasterGardeners
Tidewater Master Naturalist: https://www.facebook.com/TidewaterMasterNaturalist