VMN and North Branch Nature Center, in conjunction with other local experts, will provide trainings for the candidates. Ten to fifteen local residents with a sustained interest and background in at least one natural history discipline will be chosen through an application process.Through a series of field trips to key natural areas, candidates will explore the processes that shape a landscape and learn a timescale for the major events that have created the landscapes we see today. Candidates will spend time on each site reviewing the geology, soils, plants and animals (natural communities), human land use history, and signs of processes like wind, fire, or deer browse. We will also discuss the conservation history and management issues relevant for each site. While the focus of the training will be on the exchange of information, participants are invited to enter each of these places with an open heart, enjoying the beauty and a connection to nature that draws the group together. In addition, each Vermont Master Naturalist candidate will have an outside practice designed to deepen his or her naturalist skills of observation and description, including spending time at a sit spot, sketching, photographing, and more.
When: Field trip dates will be five Saturdays from November 2019 through June 2020 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The dates are November 9, February 8, April 25, May 9, and June 20. Candidates will also attend public walks and other natural history events during the year. Arrangements can be made in the event of expected absences.
Cost and deadline to apply: Candidates will pay a one-time enrollment fee of $495. Tuition will be collected after acceptance in the program. Deadline to apply is October 15, 2019.
Volunteer Contract: Upon completion of the 30 hours of field training, VMN candidates will be paired with partner conservation entities to conduct volunteer projects totaling at least 20 hours per person. These volunteer projects will be designed by the partner entities with guidance from VMN and North Branch Nature Center, and further honed by the candidates. VMN and NBNC will make every effort to assign candidates to projects based on their experience and interests. Upon completion of the program, Vermont Master Naturalists will continue to serve in an advisory capacity for as long as they choose, and will receive ongoing advice and support from VMN for their naturalist practices and activities.
Eligibility: Candidates must reside in Montpelier, East Montpelier, Middlesex, Plainfield, Marshfield, Calais, or Worcester.Candidates must be able to attend all five field sessions.