Aware of January 23, 2022 | Journal-news


The Master Naturalist program is still accepting applications

CHARLES TOWN — The Potomac Valley Master Naturalist program is still accepting applications for its 2022 certification program and course schedule.

West Virginia’s Master Naturalist program is one of the first in the country. It was established in 2003 by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and is administered by that agency. It is open to people aged 16 and over.

The program is modeled after the Master Gardener program that has been offered in many states for many years by local extension agents. The basic approach for both programs is to combine education with public service.

PVAS partnered with WVDNR in 2006 to establish the Potomac Valley Master Naturalist Program, which is the official master naturalist chapter for the Eastern Panhandle. There are now over 100 master naturalists involved in the program.

The 2022 program will begin in March and run through October. Those who complete the required coursework and volunteer hours will be certified by the state as Master Naturalists. Master Naturalists continue to volunteer in a variety of programs, sharing their expertise in educational programs and through the state park system.

The cost of the program is $300 and scholarships are available. Applications will be accepted until January 31, 2022.

For more information about the Master Naturalist program, go to or contact Krista Hawley at [email protected] or 681-252-1387.

The SMART529 When I Grow Up Essay Contest 2022

CHARLESTON — The annual essay contest gives students across the state the chance to win up to $5,000 in SMART529 savings for higher education. Teachers have the chance to win a cash prize of $2,500.

Now in its 15th year, the popular competition gives students in kindergarten through fifth grade a chance to win both SMART529 savings for higher education and cash prizes for their schools.

Entries will be judged from five regions in three age groups (K-1, 2-3, 4-5), for a total of 15 regional winners. The 15 winners will receive $500 invested in SMART529 college savings accounts. Among the regional winners, one grand prize winner will be randomly selected to receive a total of $5,000 in SMART529 scholarships. Each winner’s school will also receive a cash prize of $500.

Kindergarten through fifth grade teachers also have the opportunity to participate in the teacher portion of the essay contest. This year’s winning teacher will receive a cash prize of $2,500.

The When I Grow Up Essay Contest allows students to submit, in 100 words or less, an essay that explains what they want to be when they grow up. Entries will be judged on originality, creativity and the importance of post-secondary education.

Registration forms for students and teachers are available at Additionally, registration forms will be available at elementary schools across the state. The deadline for submitting entry forms and essays is Tuesday, February 25, 2022.

SMART529 is a qualified tuition program issued by the West Virginia Prepaid Tuition and Savings Program Board of Directors and administered by Hartford Funds. For more information about SMART529 or the When I Grow Up Essay Contest, visit


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