Thursday, March 26, 2020

PA Master Naturalist Training Set For Fall In Westmoreland County For Laurel Highlands

Pennsylvania Master Naturalist and Brandywine Conservancy’s Penguin Court Preserve in Laughlintown, Westmoreland County are partnering to again train citizen volunteers in natural history in the fall of 2020. 
PA Master Naturalist is dedicated to building a corps of trained volunteers who provide outreach and service dedicated to protecting Pennsylvania’s natural heritage.  Interested Pennsylvanians become certified Master Naturalists through training and volunteer service.
Penguin Court became a Preserve of the Brandywine Conservancy in 2015 after the late Richard M. Scaife bequeathed it to the Brandywine Conservancy, which is committed to preserving Penguin Court for its environmental and wildlife value, growing native plants, and supporting educational programming, particularly for adults.  
Eleven people participated in the inaugural Master Naturalist training program at Penguin Court in the fall of 2019. 
 PMN Trainee Deb Phillippi said, “The Master Naturalist program was beyond my expectations!  I learned so much about the importance of the interconnectivity between ALL living things. I’m grateful for this opportunity, and I plan to apply what I’ve learned daily!” 
To become a certified Master Naturalist volunteer, you must complete an initial 50-hour volunteer training course followed by annual volunteer service and continuing education in the natural sciences.  
Adults who are curious about nature, enjoy the outdoors and volunteering, and want to be a part of natural resource conservation in Pennsylvania are perfect candidates to become Pennsylvania Master Naturalists.
Trained Master Naturalists design and pursue a wide variety of service projects from habitat restoration and native plantings, to nature walks and interpretative displays or publications on natural history, to water quality monitoring and supporting the natural resource conservation efforts of partnering organizations.  
Once accepted into the PA Master Naturalist program, participants (referred to as Trainees during the first year) begin by attending an initial intensive training.  This natural history course includes at least 50 hours of classroom (weekday evenings) and field sessions (Saturdays).  
Following initial training, participants will engage in 30 hours of service in the first year and 8 hours of continuing education to become certified as a Master Naturalist volunteer.  To maintain their status as Master Naturalist volunteers, participants must complete 20 hours of volunteer service and 12 hours of continuing education each year.
In 2020, training at Penguin Court will begin August 4 and end October 27.  A training schedule and application information can be found on PA Master Naturalist’s website under “Become a Master Naturalist” and “Training Courses.”
To receive the discounted application fee and ensure placement, interested persons should apply online by May 1.  
This program is open to residents of the Laurel Highlands.  Space is limited and only 15 applicants will be considered. Any resident of the Laurel Highlands region is invited to apply.  
For additional information, visit the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist  website.  Questions should be directed to Maeve Rafferty, PA Master Naturalist, by sending email to:  or call 570-441-3364 or Melissa Reckner, Brandywine Conservancy, by sending email to:  or call 724-238-4991.
[Posted: March 26, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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