Membership requirements, Certifications and Milestones
These Requirements are based upon those contained in the “Bylaws”, “Chapter Management and Operating Protocols” and the “Chapter Handbook” of the Texas Master Naturalist Program, with minor clarifications or modifications for our Chapter use. See The Library Page for that latest level document and others. This is a summary:
- Membership requirements– A “Texas Master Naturalist” volunteer
- Becoming a Texas Master Naturalist volunteer requires: a membership application, passing a background check, paying the class enrollment fee, and completing a minimum of 40 hours of classes and field trips (including make-ups as needed). Typical class schedules will contain more than 40 hours to allow for some missed sessions. Following successful class completion, there is a graduation ceremony where a Chapter Certificate is presented – and you are now a “Texas Master Naturalist”.
- A volunteer remains a Texas Master Naturalist and a member of the Chapter as long as annual dues are paid or a desire to remain a member is stated (see our Chapter Operating Handbook). This Texas Master Naturalist status continues no matter how little or how much volunteer service is provided to the chapter within any given year. It is generally expected that Texas Master Naturalist volunteers are either “Certified” or working towards certification in any given year, but that is up to each person.
- Certification requirements– A “Certified Texas Master Naturalist” volunteer
- Initial Certification: When a volunteer completes 40 hours of approved volunteer work and 8 hours of approved Advanced Training, beginning at the start of the Class Training and completed within 15 months of the last day of class, then a State TMN Certification Certificate and a white winged Dragonfly pin (same design pin for all new members) is awarded in recognition of becoming a Certified Texas Master Naturalist. Should initial certification not be completed within these 15 months, then the volunteer would have to start all over again with the next available Class Training, and pay an additional fee. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to obtain full Certification within your first year.
- Annual re-certification: For annual re-certification in any succeeding calendar year, 40 hours of approved volunteer work and 8 hours of Advanced Training must be completed during that calendar year, and a unique annual re-certification pin for that year is awarded. If during the first Initial Certification calendar year (above), a volunteer also completes an additional 40 hours of volunteer work and 8 hours of Advanced Training, for a total of 80 hours volunteer work and 16 hours Advanced Training in that calendar year, then that year’s re-certification pin in recognition of that is awarded. Once certification or annual re-certification is achieved, that certification remains through the end of the calendar year of certification, and throughout the following year while working towards that following year’s annual re-certification. If re-certification does not occur by the end of that following year, then the “Certified” title should not be used until such time as an annual re-certification is achieved. Annual re-certification pins are slightly different each year. Any hours used for the original certification or a re-certification cannot be used for a subsequent re-certification. For example, those in the 1st part of members year that may have been used for the initial certification cannot also be used for re-certification. Annual re-certification hours reset to zero at the beginning of each calendar year, so any hours completed in one year, whether you achieved certification or not, cannot be counted for the next year’s re-certification. Volunteers may or may not achieve annual re-certification in consecutive years. All hours are recorded against lifetime milestones.
- Logging hours: Advanced training hours are tracked separately from volunteer hours, and are not included in volunteer hours or in milestone achievements (see below). For organized group activities such as volunteer projects, committee meetings and advanced training, the leader will have a log sheet for everyone to sign and that will be used to record volunteer or training hours for everyone participating. For individual work on approved projects or committee activities, members will directly enter those hours into our VMS hours reporting system. Travel time of 30 minutes each way can be included on volunteer efforts, but not advanced training. General membership meetings count as volunteer hours (Admin), but they may have special AT sessions or workshops included and those would qualify for AT if approved.
- Milestone requirements
- Lifetime accumulated volunteer hours are used to recognize different lifetime achievement levels, at 250, 500, 1000, 2500, 4000, 5000 and 10,000 hours – with different designs of the Dragonfly pin. The 4000 award level was added in 2014 to match the “President’s Volunteer Service Award” level where a US lapel pin, certificate and letter from the President is awarded.
- It is important to always record and submit all volunteer project hours, even after the annual 40 needed for re-certifications.
- And what pins to we get for what?
- The re-certification pin for 2016 is the Guadalupe Bass.
Below are all of the past pins. And this is a PDF file explaining all the annual pins.