Exactly what events qualify for CE credit has been a source of confusion, and sometimes controversy, since the VMN Program’s earliest days. I recently corresponded with the State Office and asked for some guidance on their current understanding. They started by citing the entry on page 16 of the Volunteer Handbook and Policy Guidelines, which is available on the VMN website (http://www.virginiamasternaturalist.org) under “Documents and Resources”.
Does the continuing education opportunity:
- Promote continued learning and development of naturalist skills?
- Provide Master Naturalists with knowledge and skills to work in volunteer efforts?
- Provide Master Naturalists an opportunity to focus their interests in one or a few specific topics?
- Build on the core curriculum initially provided by the local chapter?
- Provide information on natural resources and resource management or naturalist skills applicable to Virginia?
Under these guidelines they note that an event does not need to be of a specifically educational nature to be providing a Master Naturalist with new knowledge and/or skills. Of greater importance is the presence of a leader who can share from his or her own knowledge and experience. With this in mind they now say that events such as general Nature walks or bird walks could present CE opportunities, a change from earlier interpretations. They added that, while the decision to accept or reject a given event for credit lies with the individual chapter, many of the chapters are now accepting things like bird walks for CE credit. For us this opens LWC’s Birding Banshee, Birding the BRCES and the like for consideration as CE.
On the Chapter website (http://www.vmnbansheereeks.org/) under the “Member Resources” dropdown at the top is a “Calendar” option. On the calendar you will see various entries starting with either “(CE)” or “(Vol)” indicating that they are opportunities for CE or Volunteer hours. We will try to keep the calendar updated with new opportunities as soon as we learn of them. You can help by letting Chapter leadership know about new opportunities that you learn of. An email to firstname.lastname@example.org is probably the best way to present something for evaluation and, if acceptable, posting on the calendar for all to see.