Vermont Master Naturalist Program: “Advancing conservation, building community, connecting Vermonters to the wild heart of place.”
Vermont Family Forests aims to cultivate what Aldo Leopold described as “an intense consciousness of land.” That’s why we’re delighted to spread the word about a training program that does just that. The Vermont Master Naturalist Program is currently accepting applications to a Bristol-based training program, offering in-depth training in local natural history.
Who: Ten to fifteen Bristol Five-town Area (Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton, Starksboro, New Haven) residents with a sustained interest and background in at least one natural history discipline will be chosen through an application process. The program training will be overseen by Alicia Daniel, who has taught for thirty years in the University of Vermont’s Field Naturalist Master of Science Program, and who has adapted that landscape-level training for use in communities. Alicia, the executive director of Vermont Master Naturalist, and other local experts will provide training for the candidates.
What: Through a series of field trips to key natural areas, VMN Bristol Five Town Area candidates will explore the processes that shape a landscape and learn a timescale for the major events that created the landscapes seen in the region today. Candidates will spend time on each site exploring the geology, soils, plants and animals, human land use history, disturbance processes, and management concerns. In addition, each Vermont Master Naturalist candidate will have an outside practice designed to deepen his or her naturalist skills of observation and description.
Upon completion of the 30 hours of training, VMN Bristol candidates will design team projects to engage with schools and/or community members totaling at least 20 hours per person. These self-designed volunteer projects will be created in collaboration with local organizations with the goal to address specific needs in conservation education and/or stewardship. Upon completing 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 for their naturalist practices and activities.
Why: Developing ecological literacy isn’t just exciting and fun–it’s also an important community resource. A community of naturalists can help solve ecological issues facing our wild lands and serve as resources for conservation education in schools and communities.
When: Field trip dates are September 16, 2018; October 21, 2018; January 19, 2019; March 30, 2019; and May 5, 2019 from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Candidates will also attend 3 or more public walks or other natural history events during the year.
Cost and deadline to apply: The fee for the year-long training is $395, collected after a candidate is accepted to the program. The early admission deadline is June 1 with all applications due by July 1, 2018. Generous scholarships are available. Candidates will be notified by July 15.
Download an Application for the Master Naturalist Program, Bristol-area Training
For more information, visit the Vermont Master Naturalist website.
Please direct any questions to Chris Runcie, who is coordinating the Five-town Area Program.