Listen up, outdoor people!

Published 9:52 pm Tuesday, December 6, 2016

By Susan and Biff Andrews

If you are a young outdoor person — a hiker, a kayaker, a beach addict interested in learning more about your local environment…

If you’re an adult outdoor person — a parent with kids learning to camp, to fish, to hunt, and interested in becoming active in programs to preserve/restore essential habitats and species…


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If you are an empty nester looking for a productive way to spend time in the outdoors aiding wildlife, improving the environment, gaining satisfaction for hard work, making this a better planet…

If you’re a retiree with lots of time to volunteer to increase public awareness through education, interested in birding or butterfly appreciation, and becoming a citizen scientist by taking on a project of your own choosing…

Then the Virginia Master Naturalist program may be just what you’re looking for!

The Historic Southside chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists Program has its annual Training Program commencing Feb. 7, 2017, in the VA Cooperative Extension Office at the Isle of Wight Courthouse. This includes 27 hours of classroom instruction on: basic ecology, entomology, botany, mammalogy, ichthyology, herpetology, forestry, weather, geology, wetlands and ornithology. Plus 13 hours of field trips (Saturdays only) to: the Great Dismal Swamp, Suffolk, geology and birding at Chippokes Plantation, tour of Piney Grove Preserve — home to the endangered red cockaded woodpecker — and a tour of the Blackwater Ecological Preserve.

A fee of $125/person or $190/couple (parent/child, spouses) covers the cost of materials, field trips and expenses for the classroom series that includes many wonderful field guides and books to use for a lifetime of nature observation and work.

There is no cost for the instruction, which is provided by very knowledgeable folks who are actively working in each discipline.

So, put some outdoor adventure in your life! Specialize in some discipline of nature that you are interested in with others who are equally enthusiastic. Spend quality time with kids, significant others and spouses and make new friends.

And leave the planet a better place than you found it.

For information and an application form, visit or call the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office at 365-6261. Registrations are due Jan. 18.

We’re looking forward to seeing you there and out in the great outdoors.

Susan and Bradford “Biff” Andrews are retired teachers and master naturalists who have been outdoor people all their lives, exploring and enjoying the woods, swamps, rivers and beaches throughout the region for many years. Email them at