Learn! With us in discovering and exploring the wonders and mysteries of nature.
Inspire others! By sharing what you learn from the Texas Master Naturalist program.
Apply your knowledge! To caring for and helping maintain our beautiful Texas landscapes.
Have fun! Learning, doing, adventuring!
Become a Master Naturalist! You can become a certified Texas Master Naturalist if you live in Texas, are over the age of 18, and within your first year you:
- Complete at least 40 hours training consisting of combined field and classroom instruction;
- Have a minimum of 8 hours of approved advanced training; and
- Complete at least 40 hours of approved volunteer service.
The Rio Brazos Chapter offers a full series of training classes for prospective Master Naturalists to achieve the 40-hour training requirement. The series of classes usually starts in the beginning of each year. Most classes are on Saturdays to accommodate weekday work schedules. Classroom instruction is at the Opal Durant Acton Community Center, 6430 Smoky Hill Ct, Granbury, TX 76049. Classes typically start at 9:00 a.m. and end by 4:00 p.m. Field-based instruction locations and dates depend on the topic and suitable weather.
The chapter’s training course follows the Statewide Curriculum and Basic Training Guide (pdf document) and focuses on Texas landscapes and local ecosystems. Classes are designed to provide trainees with the basic knowledge and skills to serve as volunteers in the chapter area’s parks, natural areas, chapter learning events for the public, partner events, and more. Class instructors include biologists, botanists, ecologists, geologists, and other natural resource experts from local, state, and federal agencies; universities; and the private sector. The fee for the training is $125, which covers class materials, instruction fees, the training manual, and chapter dues for the year ($25).
The next series of training classes will begin on January 14, 2020, with an introduction to the Texas Master Naturalist program and history of the program. Descriptions and dates of classes are posted in the calendar. For details about training and to fill out and submit the application for 2020 classes, go to the 2020 Training Class Information page. Page includes a link to a one-page class schedule (pdf). For more information, contact Maryann Mathews at email@example.com.
Advanced training enables Texas Master Naturalists to gain additional knowledge or a particular skill that enhances their assistance with volunteer projects. After completing the initial eight hours of advanced training required for certification, members must complete eight hours each subsequent year in order to maintain certification. Advanced training involves hands-on instruction, field trips to local natural areas, bird walks, nature hikes, special lectures on a wide range of nature-focused topics, and more. Advanced training also includes the special speakers at each monthly chapter meeting.
For earning and maintaining certification, trainees and members must earn at least 40 hours of volunteer service each year, including the training year. The chapter has numerous opportunities throughout the year to volunteer. Volunteer opportunities also are learning opportunities. Examples of volunteer opportunities are:
- Chapter-sponsored events, such as FeatherFest, that features exhibits, children’s learning activities, hikes, and more.
- Partner events, such as Dinosaur Valley State Park’s Wingding, where the chapter provides public outreach with the chapter booth and special learning activities for children.
- Partner activities, such as those at Camp El Tesoro where chapter volunteers lead nature walks, help children find and learn about fossils, help camp visitors identify trees, and more.
- Maintenance of natural areas, including Acton Nature Center, Cleburne State Park, Dinosaur Valley State Park, and Comanche Peak Trail. Maintenance includes such things as weeding, mowing, making minor repairs to infrastructure, improving trails, removing invasive plants, and more.
- Leading nature walks, conducting nature-related children’s activities, and maintaining butterfly gardens and natural landscapes with the City of Burleson Parks and Recreation.
- Serving on a chapter committee: The chapter’s committees focus on education, outreach, marketing, and service projects. Committees are open to all members.
- Writing articles for the newsletter.
- And more!
The chapter offers countless options for earning volunteer hours, and as our members have learned, they add up quickly!