Invitation from the Class Director

Be a Texas Master Naturalist volunteer with us in the Hill Country!

Hands-on volunteer service with a remarkable team of Texas Master Naturalists offers you a new tribe of like-minded people who work the land, the gardens, the waterways, and the many organizations that make up our network.

Please accept this open invitation to apply online for our training class which begins in mid-August. The four-month program is an immersion course in the natural sciences of our beautiful Hill Country region of Texas.

The every-Wednesday-each-week lecture series includes presentations by scientists in fields of hydrology, soil science, botany, ecology, geology, and many more disciplines. You will be impressed by the number of experts and experienced naturalists that live in our area and by the committed biologists and foresters working with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

Experienced Hill Country naturalists discuss how the habitats that surround us need our stewardship to help support the plants, animals, and microbes with which we co-exist. Field trips and advanced training classes are part of our curriculum. Being in the field helps solidify what you are learning.

I loved learning about what I was seeing on the five acres we purchased in 2018. I learned names of more native plants than I knew existed. I began noticing the erosion, the overgrowth creating a fire hazard around our home, the lack of wildflowers, and the deer. I learned enough to get going and planted native grass seeds. And just like they said, we had grass!

You will not be alone. Each trainee has a mentor who will guide you through the details of the course as well as support you as you seek to find a volunteer path that calls to your interests, time, and skills. My mentor walked me through the schedule, tutored me about volunteer projects I could join based on my interests, and attended some classes to sit side-by-side with me as I was learning. Where else in our lives would that happen?

A committee of thirteen trainees who completed the Class of 2019 and certified Texas Master Naturalists have been working to organize a curriculum that will be intriguing, adventurous, and amazing. Our commitment is to bring to the Class of 2020 the excellence in learning and understanding that we experienced in 2019.

I was rewarded by second graders who loved behaving like owls and owlets after my owl-basics demonstration at Riverside Nature Center. I even enjoyed picking up trash along Harper Road with a team from our neighborhood. I became a citizen scientist and monitor rain (or no rain) daily. I was a pollen tracker for two months, yes, literally checking the cedar trees on our property each week!

I realize we all have lives and families and other commitments. Take the time now to gain a wealth of information, generate new perspectives, meet an energetic group of people, and master an awareness of what you can do on your own property, in your community, and for the Hill Country to help protect its ecology.

I am honored to be the 2020 Class Director with this terrific group of people.

Sheryl Pender

Sheryl Pender
2020 Director of Class Training
Texas Master Naturalist, Hill Country Chapter


Join us! Submit the application on our website at


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