What is the Texas Master Naturalist Program?
The Texas Master Naturalist program is designed to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers who provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities for the State of Texas. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension serve as sponsors for the program.How do I become a certified Master Naturalist?
To become a certified Master Naturalist a trainee must complete the following:
- Complete an organized training program sponsored by a Master Naturalist chapter that involves a minimum of 40 hours of instruction composed of both classroom and field experiences
- Obtain a minimum of 8 hours of approved advanced training
- Complete a minimum of 40 hours of chapter approved volunteer service
To retain certification in each subsequent year members must complete a minimum of 8 hours of advanced training and provide a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer service in chapter approved project activities.
There are 42 chapters in Texas and more are forming. While some serve a single county, a number of chapters involve several. Since the program began in 1997, new chapters continue to form each year.
To find a chapter near you, visit the Texas Master Naturalist “Find a Chapter” page.
Interested in developing a chapter in an area not served? Contact the state office to learn how to organize a new chapter and learn about training opportunities for new chapter development. To contact the state office phone Michelle Haggerty: 830-896-2504 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Most chapters provide opportunities for others to assist with chapter projects. However, only volunteers who have completed the certification process may represent themselves as a Texas Master Naturalist.
Training fees and chapter dues vary usually from $50 to $160 depending on resources and field trips provided during the training. Contact the local chapter for details.
Basic training consists of a minimum of 40 hours of instruction comprised of classroom sessions and field trips. Chapters involve local experts from the natural resource community as well as university professors, state and federal agency biologists and specialists and nature center staff members to serve as instructors.
Although a state curriculum is the cornerstone of instruction, each chapter is encouraged to provide instruction relevant to the local ecosystem and issues. Field trips are led by experts as well as certified Master Naturalists. Students and members have an opportunity to learn from and work along-side scientists, land stewards and other experts as they carry out the mission of the Master Naturalist program.
Most chapters offer training once a year either in the spring or fall. Enrollment is limited and applications are submitted prior to each class. Specific details for chapters are located on chapter web sites that can be accessed from the state web site or by contacting Michelle Haggerty at the state office, 830-896-2504 for information.
Beyond the initial certification requirement, minimum time requirements to retain certification are 8 hours of advanced training and 40 hours of service annually. Most Master Naturalists find the program so rewarding that it is not uncommon for members to devote many hours beyond the minimum requirements. But, that is a personal choice.
Each chapter could provide a lengthy list of projects they have completed and those in progress. A few real examples would include:
- Working as a wetland restoration team along a coastal area
- Assisting with field surveys of endangered species such as the Golden-Cheeked Warbler
- Presenting interpretive programs to campers at state parks
- Performing water quality test
- Restoring a blackland prairie in a city park
- Assisting a nature center with the establishment of a herbarium
- Developing and maintaining nature trails and leading informative hikes
- Improving a wetland habitat along a river
- Assisting with a turtle patrol along a beach
- Leading a school class on a nature hike or conducting a workshop at a school
- Assisting with the Texas Horned Lizard Watch
“I enjoy the Texas Master Naturalist program because of the people, the knowledge and the fantastic sense of satisfaction”! – Donna Cole, North Texas Chapter
“Being involved in the Texas Master Naturalist program satisfies my needs to volunteer, learn, and be outdoors”.—Unknown Texas Master Naturalist Volunteer
“I enjoy the Texas Master Naturalist program because it restores my faith in humankind as well as reconnecting me to my natural world”.–Norm McGinnis, Capital Area Chapter
“I enjoy the Texas Master Naturalist program because it proves to me over and over that each of us –even me- can make a difference and change our world for the better-especially if we all work together”.-Teresa Lynn, Hill Country Chapter
“Through the Master Naturalist program I have been able to meet new people with the same interests, volunteer to help reach new generations…and enjoy the natural world”.-Unknown Texas Master Naturalist Volunteer
“There is a great diversity of people who share a common love-and I can dress ‘grubby”.
“It helps me learn how to manage our 5 acres”.
“I learn something new every time I volunteer and work with people on the same project”.
You may contact the Texas Master Naturalist (TMN) State Program Coordinator, Michelle Haggerty: 830-896-2504 or email: email@example.com . Additionally, the link below is to the current year TMN State Program overview presentation:
Master Naturalist Program Overview (PowerPoint, use the mouse click to browse through the presentation, use ESC key to exit it)