For all the information you need on logging your hours, finding chapter events, volunteering with chapter approved volunteer projects, striking out on your own explorations of approved citizen-science volunteer projects, finding the details on volunteering, or identifying the advanced training opportunities that expand your knowledge, follow the links below to all the details you need.
Logging your hours
Link to the events calendar
Approved volunteer projects
Chapter members work at a variety of service projects in our five-county region. The ongoing volunteer projects are listed below by county with links to all the details for each project.
Agriculture Safety Days – presenting a hands-on session for programs focused on student safety in interactions with snakes, spiders, insects and other aspects of our natural world
Family Science Nights – participating in these district-wide events for several school districts
Prescribed Burning – learning from and working with the South Central Texas Prescribed Burning Association
Coastal Prairie Native Seed Program – assisting in the maintenance and harvesting of native seed plots
San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site – working on the maintenance and enhancement of the native landscapes and plantings on this site
Stephen F. Austin State Park – designing and constructing interpretive native pollinator and prairie grass gardens and trails
Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge – helping with habitat restoration, managing invasives, and maintaining a native grasses demonstration plot
Adopt-a-Highway – teaming up for litter control and trash pickup (and recycling) for a stretch of State Highway 159
Fayetteville Native Plant Project – planting and maintaining native plants in beds at the Fayetteville Town Square
Fayette County AgriLife Building Landscape – maintaining native plant landscaping at this facility with signage and a field guide
Monument Hill State Historic Site – maintaining native grasses and removing invasive plants
Winedale Historic Complex Trails and Pollinator Garden – building and maintaining paths and pollinator gardens at the visitor center and surrounding the Gideon Lincecum monument
Schubert House – establishing and maintaining a pollinator garden to enhance the grounds of this landmark
Brenham ISD Outdoor Education – assisting with multiple outdoor educational programs through the school district and in partnership with Texas Wildlife Association’s L.A.N.D.S. program
Indian Creek Nature Area – establishing pollinator garden and trails in this wooded natural area located behind the Texas Cotton Gin Museum in Burton
Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site – maintaining a Monarch and pollinator garden near the site’s visitor center
Approved citizen science projects
Backyard Bird Feeder Watch – counting birds visiting bird feeders and reporting the data
Colorado River Watch Network – Lower Colorado River Authority – testing to monitor water quality
Community Collaborative Rain, Snow and Hail Network – Rain Data Collection – collecting and reporting rainfall data
Invaders of Texas – identifying and reporting invasive species
NestWatch – monitoring bird nests and reporting data
Texas Native Tree Seed Collection – Texas Forest Service – collecting native trees seed for propagation and use in native restorations
Texas Nature Trackers – participating in Texas Nature Trackers research projects by documenting observations in iNaturalist
Texas Stream Team/Stream Team Paddlers – testing to monitor water quality and reporting data
The Globe at Night – measuring night sky brightness, documenting observations, and raising public awareness of the impact of light pollution
“Top Ten” Presentation – researching, preparing, and presenting on a TMN topic
- To maintain certification as a Master Naturalist, you must complete 40 hours of pre-approved volunteer service each year. New trainees must complete 40 hours by the end of the calendar year following their initial training series.
- Travel and preparation time may be counted as service time.
- All service activities must benefit natural resources and natural areas within the community.
- Ensure that the service project is approved by the chapter before you participate in the volunteer activity. The website EVENT calendar lists approved projects.
- All TMN chapter members use the online reporting system to log volunteer hours. For more information, see Logging Hours.
Proposing a New Service Project for the Chapter: Things to Consider
- Is the proposed service project representative of the goals, practices and teachings of the Texas Master Naturalist Program?
- How does the project address a pressing naturalist, natural resource management, chapter and/or partner need for meaningful service or resources?
- What is the scope of the project in terms of when it would need to be conducted, where, estimated time needed to complete or maintain per month, how many volunteers would be needed, etc.?
- Is the project within the Chapter’s service area and ecological training?
- How does the project allow the chapter to focus and/or create visibility, identity and/or recruitment for the chapter?
- How can the project’s impact on the community and our natural resources be measured?
New Volunteer Project Approval Request. If you want to propose a new service project for chapter members to volunteer, complete the form and email the document to the Volunteer Service Projects Committee.
Volunteer Service FAQs
What are the requirements to become a certified Texas Master Naturalist? Easy. Complete the basic training curriculum (minimum 40 hours required), 40 hours of volunteer work, and 8 hours of additional advanced training in the subjects that most interest you. Newly graduated students have until the end of the calendar year after the one in which they completed the basic course to meet the 40/8 requirement for certification. Once your hours are approved by the chapter, a signed certificate and dragonfly pin will be awarded and you will be recognized at the next business meeting. Everyone will give you a big hand for your accomplishment. After your initial certification, re-certification must be accomplished during each calendar year.
How do I (and how does the chapter) keep track of my volunteer and advanced training hours? Use the online Volunteer Management System on a regular basis to record your volunteer hours and your AT hours. You must record hours within 45 days of the activity so get in the habit of logging in as soon as you complete an activity. The information from that system is used by the Chapter to certify members and is used by the State to justify the funding received from the state for the Texas Master Naturalist program. Our volunteering is converted to a dollar amount benefiting the state through all of our projects. As a result, the more activity we report the more we can benefit Texas nature!
When I come to the end of the year, do I have to start over counting my hours? No, just keep logging your hours. Awards for volunteer hours are given on a cumulative basis.
Are any of my activities tax deductible? It depends. Please check the IRS web site for information.
Advanced training guidelines
There are many opportunities for completing advanced training. Opportunities are posted on this website’s calendar. If the opportunity has been approved as AT for the Gideon Lincecum Chapter, the AT category is included at the top of the calendar event.
- TMN GLC AT programs – The Gideon Lincecum Chapter is committed to providing at least 8 hours of advanced training every year. Most chapter meetings are followed by an AT program.
- TMN ListServ – The state office of Texas Master Naturalist emails notices regarding statewide conferences and classes. If you are not already on the distribution list to receive emails from the state office, then visit Texas Master Naturalist ListServ and follow the instructions for subscribing. If the program is not listed on the TMN GLC website as approved for AT for our chapter, a request to have the course approved for AT may be submitted to the AT Committee (see below).
- TMN Annual Meeting – A statewide meeting of Texas Master Naturalists is held in October of every year. This 3-day conference is a great way to complete the advanced training requirement and meet other master naturalists from around the state.
- Programs sponsored by other TMN chapters, or other state or conservation groups – Other groups such as Texas Parks & Wildlife, Texas Agrilife, or the Native Plant Society sponsor conservation-oriented training programs. If the program is not listed on the TMN GLC website as approved for AT for our chapter, a request to have the course approved for AT may be submitted to the AT Committee (see below).
Requirements for Certification
Once you complete your basic training, to become certified as a master naturalist, you must complete 8 hours of advanced training by December 31 of the calendar year following the year of training. To be re-certified, you must complete 8 hours of advanced training each calendar year.
We hope that as you complete a training session, you will share some of what you learned by writing an article for the newsletter, posting pictures and a short report to our Facebook group, or giving a report at a Chapter Meeting.
Be sure you log your AT hours into the online VMS.
1. All advanced training opportunities must be approved by the chapter PRIOR to participation. If an AT opportunity is posted on our website calendar and an AT category is included in the event listing, it has been approved as AT for our chapter.
2. Educational television shows do NOT count toward advanced training.
3. Travel time is NOT included in counting advanced training hours.
4. The training opportunity must meet the following criteria:
- promote the learning and development of naturalist skills
- provide the knowledge and skills to work in volunteer efforts
- provide the opportunity to focus interests in one or a few specific topics
- build on the core curriculum provided during the chapter’s basic training
- provide natural resource management issues and information applicable to Texas
Getting Approval for AT
AT PreApproval Request Form. Submit to the Advanced Training Committee at least 7 days prior to the training date. This is only necessary if the training falls outside of the approved events listed on the Chapter website calendar.