Training & Certification

Alamo Area Master Naturalist Training & Certification
If you desire to give back to your community and are willing to fulfill the Master Naturalist Program requirements, you can become a Master Naturalist volunteer. The program is three-fold: the training session, the volunteer service hours, and advanced training.

Chapter-approved volunteer activities and advanced training are listed in the monthly newsletter available by email subscription or by download on this Web site, on the activities calendar found on this website.

The Training Session

The chapter-approved training session provides you with a broad-based curriculum that covers a wide variety of topics from basic ecology to basic communication skills. Completing a minimum of 40 hours of training involving classroom and field experiences will fulfill state standards and provide the student with basic hands-on knowledge in the function, management, and interpretation of the local natural resources found in the Bexar County and surrounding areas. You will learn about native plants and animals, regional hydrology and geology, interpretive techniques, and more. This knowledge was designed by resource professionals from state wildlife agencies, universities, and non-governmental partners to be non-biased and in different presentation formats.

Our chapter training program occurs twice a year: in the spring and in the fall. We usually try to accommodate various work schedules by offering the program at two different times: the spring classroom sessions are at night and the fall classroom sessions are in the afternoon. Each program consists of ten weekly classroom sessions and four morning field trips.  The classroom sessions are held at the Phil Hardberger Park Urban Ecology Center, 8400 N.W. Military Hwy. The field trips are scheduled in various locations in our service area.

The spring sessions usually begin in February and are on Thursday nights through May, and usually include four Saturday morning field trips. The fall sessions usually begin in September and are on Thursday afternoons through November, and also include four morning field trips. The exact dates and times are posted close to the start of each session in the monthly newsletter.

Advanced Training
The minimum annual requirement of 8 hours of advanced training encourages continued learning and exploration similar to the practices of the historical naturalists as mentioned above. The purpose of chapter-approved advanced training is to provide a focused topic or specific skill that will provide tools that the Master Naturalist can use in more advanced volunteer activities.

Chapter-approved advanced training are listed in the monthly newsletter (available by email subscription or by download on this website) and the activities calendar found on this website.

Volunteer Service
In return for the training and in order to maintain certification, Master Naturalists are required to give service back to the program, its state sponsors, and local partners. Such volunteer service activities are never in short supply, so there should be several that fit your interests and capabilities. You will have many opportunities to share your knowledge and spend time with great people who have similar interests. Activities can range in duration from an hour-long talk to a trail building project covering several years. The flexible structure of the Master Naturalist Program allows volunteer hours to be donated to many different activities involving natural resource agencies, schools, local governments, private landowners, and nature centers. These are often established activities that are looking for new volunteers. Whether the activity is an established or a newly-minted one, it is important that the activity be pre-approved by our chapter board. Activities or advanced training that have not been approved beforehand for our chapter do not count towards maintaining certification.

Chapter-approved volunteer activities are listed in the monthly newsletter available by email subscription or by download on this website and on the activities calendar.

Certification: “40 + 8 makes it great!”
Per state standards, the completion of at least 40 hours of volunteer service and at least 8 hours of advanced training after the completion of a training session consisting of a minimum of 40 hours of combined classroom and field experience certifies you as a Master Naturalist.

Moreover, after becoming a certified Master Naturalist, you are expected to retain certification each year by completing at least 40 hours of volunteer service and at least 8 hours of advanced training.

If you do not fulfill the certification requirements in any given year after your training session, you are still considered a Master Naturalist, but not a certified Master Naturalist. Fulfilling the certification requirements for a given year will return you to certification status.

Chapter-approved volunteer activities are listed in the monthly newsletter available by email subscription or by download on this website and on the activities calendar.

For information on the upcoming 2016 fall class go to: http://txmn.org/alamo/join-the-alamo-chapter/class-information/

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