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West Virginia Master Naturalist Class Description

Objectives:  Learn what changes the landowner can make to encourage wildlife to use his/her property, be it a back yard or large acreage.
Class type: Core curriculum
Time: 4 hours
Optimal season: Any season
Materials: Handouts: Plans for birdhouses and feeders, etc., lists of native plants useful to wildlife.
Expected outcomes: The student will gain a basic understanding of
  1. the three basic requirements of wildlife (food, water, cover) and some ways to provide them.
  2. why some animals are desirable in the garden and around the home, while others may be a problem.
  3. how to garden for wildlife, including which plants are best for food and cover in various habitats.
  4. building bird houses, bat houses, bird feeders, etc. (with printed instructions)

West Virginia Master Naturalist Class Outline  

Time: 4 hours
  1. Why encourage wildlife?
    1. Esthetic values; fun and educational to watch
    2. Diversity is beneficial to our gardens
    3. Many animals need our help
    4. Potential problems
      • Herbivores in the garden
      • Rabies, raccoon roundworms
      • Dealing with orphaned animals
  2. Basic requirements of wildlife
    1. Food
      • Managing for natural production of food (plantings, etc.)
      • Feeding (when appropriate; how what, and where)
    2. Water
    3. Cover for protection and nesting
  3. Plantings for wildlife
    1. General tips for success with native plants
      • Appropriate habitat
      • Season for planting/transplanting
      • Some species easy, others difficult to grow
      • Plan for all seasons
    2. Some trees, shrubs, and vines
    3. Herbaceous plants
    4. Butterfly gardening
  4. Managing woodlots for more than timber
    1. Importance of old, dead, and decaying trees
    2. Brush piles, stumps, and logs
    3. Openings and edges; value of diversity in species and age
  5. Water
    1. Ponds, large and small
      • Farm ponds and wildlife
      • Developing a spring or seep as a small pond
      • Adding water to your back yard
    2. Protecting streams
    3. Other wetlands
  6. Woodworking for wildlife: nest boxes, feeders, etc.
    1. population growth
    2. population cycles: growth and decline
    3. adaptation and evolution
    4.  r and K selection/survivorship curves
    5. life histories
  7. Useful references and other information sources



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