FAQ’s

WHO SPONSORS THE MASTER NATURALIST PROGRAM?
The Texas Master Naturalist statewide sponsors are:
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPW) and AgriLIFE Extension.

Locally the program is presented through a collaborative effort of professionals from:
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPW), AgriLIFE Extension, Fort Worth Nature Center (FWNC), and Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT).

WHEN ARE MEETINGS HELD?  WHAT HAPPENS AT THE MEETINGS?
Meetings are held at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd., normally on the third Monday of the month at 7:00pm.  Various speakers present topics of interest to Master Naturalists, general Chapter business is conducted and social time scheduled, giving you the opportunity to get to know your fellow Master Naturalists.

WHEN AND WHERE ARE CLASSES HELD?
The Cross Timbers Chapter holds one Certification class per year.  Certification classes begin in the fall and are held at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge, 9601 Fossil Ridge Road.  Field trips are held at the Nature Center and at other locations.

The training sessions are designed to provide an understanding of nature’s order and relationships of organisms to each other and to their surroundings. Over a nine (9) week period, experts in ecology provide fifty (50) class hours focused on the wetland, forest and prairie ecosystems found in our region.

WHAT CLASS AND FIELD TRIP SUBJECTS ARE COVERED?
Class 1: Orientation – Welcome, Program Orientation and Statewide Program Mission
Class 2: Aquatic/Wetland Systems – Characteristics of water and local aquatic systems
Class 3: Aquatic and Wetlands Fauna – From microscopic zooplankton to birds and mammals
Field Trip 1: Wetland – Group and individual activities
Class 4: Prairie Systems – Soils, vegetation and ecosystems of North Central Texas prairies
Class 5: Prairie Fauna – Their role in the ecosystem
Field Trip 2: Prairie – Group and individual activities
Class 6: Forest Systems – Forest types of the Cross Timbers region
Class 7: Forest Fauna – Their role in the ecosystem
Field Trip 3: Forest – Group and individual activities
Class 8: Urban Systems – The effects of urbanization on natural systems
Field Trip 4: Urban – Group and individual activies
Class 9: Course Wrap-up – Summary and volunteer opportunities in the Cross Timbers Chapter

WHO ARE THE INSTRUCTORS FOR CLASSES AND FIELD TRIPS?
John Davis, Urban Biologist Texas Parks and Wildlife
Rob Denkhaus, Naturalist Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge
Randall Harwood, Sr. Planner Fort Worth Parks & Community Services Department
Suzanne Tuttle, Naturalist Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge

HOW ARE VOLUNTEER HOURS COUNTED?  WHAT TYPES OF ACTIVITIES ARE APPROVED?
To obtain certification as a Texas Master Naturalist, trainees must complete forty (40) hours of volunteer service within the first year of the initial training series. Trainees may start volunteering during training (that is September of of the training year) and have until November of the following year to complete the requisite hours.

In order to retain the title of Texas Master Naturalist, you must volunteer for and complete forty (40) hours in each subsequent year ending in November.  If unable to complete the required hours due to extenuating circumstances, contact the board of Cross Timbers Chapter for guidelines.

Volunteer service hours are those direct contact hours spent on Texas Master Naturalist projects approved by the board of the Cross Timbers Chapter.  Approved opportunities are listed in the Cross Timbers Chapter newsletter, posted on the chapter web site and announced at general meetings.  The Cross Timbers Chapter serves as a clearinghouse for notifying members of appropriate volunteer opportunities.

Texas Master Naturalists are encouraged to design their own volunteer projects and to submit those to the board of the Cross Timbers Chapter in writing for approval as a Master Naturalist activity.  Texas Master Naturalists are also encouraged to identify projects in their own communities that are potential volunteer activities and to notify the board for approval.

A volunteer project will be approved by the board of the Cross Timbers Chapter if the project:

* Provides a service that is dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities (for examples, see Texas Master Naturalist training manual, general information page 6).
* Contributing to the functioning of the Cross Timbers Chapter such as officer duties, serving on a committee, writing newsletter articles, maintaining a website, etc.
* Contributes to the administrative functioning of a Texas Master Naturalist sponsoring agency and partners.
* Serving as an officer or performing administrative duties for other environmentally sensitive groups and organizations (limited to ten (10) hours yearly).

Projects not already approved by the board of the Cross Timbers Chapter must be submitted in writing for review by the education committee prior to the event.

Examples of projects that would not receive approval include:

* Work you are being paid for, helping a neighbor landscape their private property, or landscaping your own property
* Answering phones at a homeless shelter (not a natural resource agency)
* Planting Bradford Pear trees along a city median (Bradford Pear trees are not part of our local ecosystem)
* Writing articles for other organizations, unless about the Texas Master Naturalist program

Volunteer service hours consist of actual time of service, preparation and travel.

WHAT IS ADVANCED TRAINING?  WHAT ACTIVITIES QUALIFY AS ADVANCED TRAINING?
To obtain certification as a Texas Master Naturalist, trainees must complete eight (8) hours of advanced training within the first year after the initial training series. Trainees may start accumulating advanced training hours while attending the initial training series and have until November of the following year to complete the advanced training hours.

In order to retain the title of Texas Master Naturalist, a volunteer must complete eight (8) hours of advanced training in each subsequent year ending in November.  If unable to complete the required hours due to an extenuating experience, contact the board of Cross Timbers Chapter for guidelines.

The purpose of advanced training is to provide Texas Master Naturalists an opportunity to focus their interests on one, or a few, specific topics that interest them, promoting an ever-deepening knowledge of their local ecosystems.  Approved advanced training opportunities are listed in the Cross Timbers Chapter newsletter, posted on the chapter web site, sent to members via e-mail and announced at general meetings.  The Cross Timbers Chapter serves as a clearinghouse for notifying members of appropriate advanced training opportunities.

Advanced training opportunities not already approved by the board of the Cross Timbers Chapter must be submitted in writing for review by the education committee prior to the event.  Advanced training opportunities will be approved by the board of the Cross Timbers Chapter if the training presents information about a local ecosystem, its characteristics, management, etc.

Examples of training opportunities that would not receive approval include:

* A session on mammals of the rain forest as there are no rain forest ecosystems in this area.
* A session on growing pansies, as pansies are not a natural part of our local ecosystem.

Advanced training hours DO NOT include travel time.

HOW IS VOLUNTEER ACTIVITY TRACKED?
Use the activity report form to document and report hours. Forms will be available at general meetings, can be downloaded from the Forms page of this web site.  All hours must be reported in writing or via e-mail.  Keep a copy for your records.

* Turn in forms at the general meetings or send via e-mail to the Records Chair.
* Prior to doing any volunteer or advanced training activity, make sure the activity has been approved by the Cross Timbers Chapter board of directors.  This information is available on the Activities page of this website.
* Report hours monthly, if possible.
* You are not limited to forty (40) volunteer service hours and eight (8) advanced training hours.  Report all hours to demonstrate the wonderful work done by the Texas Master Naturalists of the Cross Timbers Chapter.

HOW DO I MAINTAIN MASTER NATURALIST CERTIFICATION?
For the Cross Timbers Chapter, forty (40) hours of volunteer service and eight (8) advanced training hours are required each year.  Diverse volunteer and advanced training opportunities make it easy for you to choose an area of study and work that reflects your individual expertise and interests.

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