Why Join the Master Naturalist Program?
The mission of the Texas Master Naturalist Program is to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities for the State of Texas. There are numerous reasons why becoming a Master Naturalist is a good idea.
1. Local knowledge
The Texas Master Naturalist program covers a range of topics relatable across the state. However, local knowledge is stressed through the selection of local experts to instruct sections of the course. Most of the course sections have a lecture and field lab component, so participants learn about and experience the local ecosystems first hand. The vast majority of participants learn interesting facts about ecosystems in their backyard and share that information with many other people.
2. Environmental education
Through the Master Naturalist training, participants not only learn about natural resources, but they also receive training on how to educate others about natural resources. A primary goal of the Master Naturalist program is to develop an organization of knowledgeable volunteers to help promote conservation and management of natural resources through educating their communities.
3. Continuous learning
The Master Naturalist program and partners offer many advanced training opportunities throughout the year. These opportunities serve as more focused trainings on many aspects of the basic course or cover topics not included in the basic training. Thereby, continually increasing the participant’s knowledge.
The selected instructors and program partners are well respected individuals and entities in the environmental field. Through the Master Naturalist program, participants get to meet, mingle, learn from and pick the brains of these environmental leaders. Often the Master Naturalist participants connect with one or more of the program partners for opportunities outside of the program.
Who doesn’t want to be able to put “Certified Master Naturalist” on their resume? Participation in this program and its associated certification often leads to participants being recognized as environmental experts and/or leaders in their communities.
What does it take to be a Texas Master Naturalist?
Texas Master Naturalists not only get their feet wet and their hands dirty, but while doing so they spend time in a natural setting. Members learn about different plant and animal species, and maybe even find something new: one member, in fact, discovered a new plant species.
To become a Texas Master Naturalist, each volunteer:
- Master Naturalist Trainees must successfully complete an approved training program with at least 40 hours of combined field and classroom instruction though a Texas Master Naturalist Chapter
- After completing the training above, the candidate donates at least 40 hours of volunteer service back to the state and community. Trainees can complete their 40 hours of volunteer service and 8 hours of advanced training within a year after completion of their initial training.
- In subsequent years, the candidate must complete another 8 hours of advanced training and donate 40 hours of volunteer service to maintain their certification (or to re-certify) as a Texas Master Naturalist.
Apply to Become a New Volunteer – If you are not already a Texas Master Naturalist, you may apply to become one here. You must search for and select a Master Naturalist opportunity; you will then be stepped through the registration forms. Current Texas Master Naturalists should contact their chapter administrators if you do not know your volunteer user ID; you should not use this feature.
Each of the items above must be completed through a Texas Master Naturalist Chapter.
How do I become a Texas Master Naturalist?
1. FIND YOUR CHAPTER
There are 48 TMN chapters spread across the state of Texas. Use the map at txmn.org/chapters/ to locate the chapter nearest you. Note: you can attend training from a chapter outside of your county that better fits your schedule/interests; you can easily transfer chapters once you certify.
2. FIND TRAINING DATES
Each chapter holds training sessions in the spring or fall of each year. Training classes are held once a week (plus field trips) for a few months. Look on txmn.org or contact the chapter’s Training Director for specifics regarding training sessions.
The application for training sessions can be found on each chapter’s website or obtained by emailing the chapter’s Training Director. Note: you must be over 18 years of age to enroll in the TMN training class and be a member.
4. PAY YOUR DUES
Dues vary per TMN chapter and can be found on the chapter’s website or application. Dues generally include a textbook, other printed course materials, and an official Texas Master Naturalist nametag and polo for you to keep.
5. KNOW WHAT’S REQUIRED
During your training session, you must obtain 40 hours of combined field and classroom instruction. To certify in your first year, you must complete 40 hours of volunteer service and 8 hours of Advanced Training. You must complete these same requirements each subsequent year to re-certify.
6. HAVE FUN!
Joining the Texas Master Naturalist community connects you with a close-knit group of naturalists, plus opportunities to meet thousands of volunteers from around the state at our Annual Meetings!
Who can join the Texas Master Naturalists?
Anyone who lives in Texas and is over the age of 18 can apply!
Find a Texas Master Naturalist Chapter Near You
Click here to see the map of current chapters. Click on the chapter serving your county or the county nearest you to be directed to that chapter’s website.