Master naturalist program runs in two Western Pennsylvania counties

Thursday, January 16, 2020 | 2:35 PM

Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) is hosting two cohorts of the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist program in Spring 2020 in Washington and Allegheny counties.

A Pennsylvania Master Naturalist is an individual with a passion for the natural world who participates in an intensive training program and uses his or her knowledge by giving back to the community through volunteer service.

“This is our third run of this program, and we’re very proud to be the nonprofit partner making it happen in both counties,” Vice President of Education Jessica Kester said. “It’s a great opportunity for educators, volunteers, and nature-lovers alike to earn a prestigious ecological training while giving back to their communities.”

Founded in 2010, Pennsylvania Master Naturalist is a statewide partnership initiative that aims to connect people with their local ecosystems through intensive natural science training and local conservation service work. It is a venture directed toward developing a local corps of master volunteers and service providers to offer education, outreach and service dedicated to the understanding and management of natural areas within their communities.

“With the help of our training partner, Allegheny Land Trust, and our other partners in the region, we’ve trained close to 60 budding naturalists since we ran our first training in southwest Pennsylvania in 2018,” Pennsylvania Master Naturalist Southwest Region Program Coordinator Maeve Rafferty said. “These stellar volunteers have contributed 1,700 hours of service in support of local conservation efforts already and we’re delighted to see this impact.”

Pennsylvania is an ecologically diverse state that can be divided into distinct ecological regions or ecoregions. Pennsylvania Master Naturalist has divided the state into four ecoregion-based curriculum modules (defined by EPA level II ecoregions): Appalachian Forests, Eastern Temperate Forests, Atlantic Highlands and Southeastern and Coastal Plains.

This year-round program has three components to the 55-hour training: an initial volunteer training course, volunteer service hours, and advanced training classes. Applications are being accepted through January 2020.

“Interest has been high in the program so for anyone who misses out this year, be assured that we will continue to run trainings as long as there is a demand,” Rafferty said.


Interested parties may learn more and apply to be a PA Master Naturalist at this link: