University of Charleston

University of Charleston

UC School of Pharmacy Professor of Medicinal Chemistry Dr. Rebecca Linger was recently featured in the Gazette-Mail. Dr. Linger is also the West Virginia Master Naturalist Program’s state president, and in the article, she explains that the Master Naturalist Program includes nature education for its members and sharing that knowledge with the public. In the past year, that knowledge has been shared with Kanawha County schools, presenting nature topics to kids.

The program also supplies qualified volunteers to support government agencies, schools, and non-government organizations with research, outdoor recreation development, and environmental education and protection.

Seeking an extracurricular diversion from her academic responsibilities, Linger took a fall nature walk at Kanawha State Forest, where she met Jim Wagge, then-Master Naturalist coordinator. “I joined in 2007. One thing led to another, and that’s where we are.”

Linger said the MN state membership numbers about 1,000, with the Kanawha Valley chapter having approximately 325 people on its roster.

From white-tailed deer to box turtles, owls, and black bears, Master Naturalists are connecting West Virginia school children with their environment and those who live in it. “We go to the arboretum behind the Nature Center and talk about trees,” Linger states in the article. “We talk about plants that grow in the forest; I do a lot of those, talking about which plants are edible, which have medicine in them, which have pollinators. The kids love it.”

Dr. Linger has also published a book on medicinal and edible plants, “A Guide to the Toxicology of Select Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern North America.”

Learn more about the WV Master Naturalist program by visiting its website.