Our volunteers are ready to volunteer! Our Texas Master Naturalist Volunteers are dedicated to natural resource conservation work. After the innovations of the pandemic, we’re continuing to hold our ever-popular Virtual Volunteer in 2024 Fair where Texas Master Naturalist volunteers are introduced to virtual and distanced service projects offerings of our partner conservation organizations in their communities. This returning feature of our program easily allows members to remain active during the hottest months of the year and provide service opportunities for any ability throughout the year.
During the hottest months of the year, in-the-field service projects become less desirable and hit a lull until cooler months come around. The TMN Virtual Volunteer Fair (VVF) is an opportunity for our partner conservation organizations to present service projects that need volunteers from a distance or virtually! After five successful TMN VVF events, our members are asking for more virtual and distance-based service projects!
The Virtual Volunteer Fair will be an opportunity for our partner conservation organizations to present volunteer service projects that need volunteers from a distance or virtually! Save the Date and plan to join us on Tuesday April 9th 2024, for this series of project presentations showcasing opportunities from across the state and across the spectrum of natural resource topics.
Call for Proposals
Have a project idea but need help doing it? Do you have field data to collect? Computer research to do? If it can be done by volunteers, our Texas Master Naturalists can help!
We are seeking your “Virtual” and “Distance Based Service” project opportunities to add to our Texas Master Naturalist Program’s “Virtual Volunteer Service Fair”! You will present your project(s) online to our statewide membership of Texas Master Naturalist volunteers on April 9th 2024, with short 5-10 minute spotlight presentations to highlight the tasks, expertise and help you need. We will offer time during the event to answer questions and opportunities for volunteers to sign up too!
Consider this when developing your project ideas – How could a natural resource trained volunteer help ease your workload from afar or fulfill virtual tasks? Try to connect their training and skills with your project needs that can be completed by volunteers working remotely.
Submitted Projects will be organized into the following categories:
- Virtual Projects (Statewide or Ecoregion Specific)
- Distance Based Projects (Statewide or Ecoregion Specific)
- NOTE: Place-based projects are accepted but will be referred to the nearest chapter(s) where applicable.
What are “Virtual” Projects for Master Naturalist volunteers?
-Any natural resource service that can be done from a computer or their home.
“Virtual” Project Ideas:
• Recruiting curators for needed Texas Nature Tracker projects.
• Develop flora or fauna guides from collected photos or data
• Develop social media content (informational posts, videos, public interaction prompts)
• Perform accessibility reviews on our web pages.
• Review web pages for accuracy, information updates, broken links, etc.
• Technical Guidance video transcriptions
• Literature reviews covering the next Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) species you will be focusing on.
• Mining field resource data
• Writing short article spotlights on species of concern or management practices
What are “Distance Based Service” Projects for Master Naturalist volunteers?
-Any natural resource service that can be done independently (field work or otherwise)
-Any natural resource service that can be done from a vehicle/road
-Any natural resource service that can be conducted with social distancing protocols in place where r
Note the two classifications of Distance Based Service Projects
- Distance Based Projects *Ecoregion Specific – Those that are place-based “distance service” projects (i.e hosted at a nature center or state park) will be initially deferred to the local TMN chapter(s) servicing that county/region.
- Distance Based Projects *Statewide – Projects that are open to statewide volunteer input or have statewide application of service and can occur within any given master naturalist chapter’s territory (i.e water quality testing that can occur in the TMN volunteer’s local county/region territory) and these will be considered for presentation at the virtual volunteer fair.
“Distance Based Service” Project Ideas:
• TMN Chapters adopt Wildlife Viewing Trail maintenance and surveys
• Water Quality testing at specific waterbodies
• Pollinator surveys at public native garden spaces
• Invasive species control at place-based sites (i.e state parks or nature centers)
Submit your Project Proposals Today!
Submission Deadline – February 29th 2024
As an attending Texas Master Naturalist what can I expect?
Get ready to volunteer!
The Texas Master Naturalist Program is planning to host its fifth Virtual Volunteer Fair this spring: Tuesday April 9th 2024 with a series of 15-minute sessions highlighting projects by a variety of partner conservation agencies and organizations.
Sessions will be recorded and uploaded to our website post-event for those who cannot attend the live presentations.
Virtual Volunteer Fair Agenda
Will be released by April 1st.
Catalog of Projects
Will be released by April 1st.
The Catalog of Projects will list ALL service project details along with the Project Contact and their email address. If you are interested in a particular project, please reach out to the Project Contact directly if you did not get a chance to sign up during the event.
In addition, the projects are noted as statewide or by eco-region in the project description. Keep in mind that some site-based projects may offer aspects of the project that don’t require your presence at the site. If they do require your presence to assist, please make sure to consider the project’s location compared to your chapter’s region and your training as a Master Naturalist. Be sure projects you choose are within ecoregion(s) you are trained for and are pre-approved by your chapter.
How do I join?
Registration to attend our Virtual Volunteer Fair is now open. It is free to register! You can attend any or all project proposal presentations – come and go as you please! TMN volunteers will earn Volunteer Service hours for attending all project proposal sessions – please use the “TMN Virtual Volunteer Service Fair” Statewide Project Opportunity for logging service hours.
If you’ve never used WebEx as a platform at all, the WebEx 101 Guide linked is a great place to start – plus there are live testing sites on the Cisco WebEx page for any day users to test their equipment and set up.
How do I Sign up to Volunteer?
At the completion of EACH project proposal and then again at the end of the event, we will share the “Project Volunteer Registration” survey.
Survey link will be posted here once available.
Sign ups close on April 26th!
How do I log Hours?
Texas Master Naturalists can earn hours for attending the Virtual Volunteer Fair and for participating in service projects presented during the fair. A VMS (Volunteer Management System) Quick Guide reference document has been created to help show these opportunities and how to log them: VMS Quick Guide
Project Host Resources
Project Host and Presenter – you will be given a 15-minute time slot in the Virtual Volunteer Fair to present your project, using our template to highlight the tasks, expertise and help you need. We will offer time during the event to answer questions and sign up volunteers too. The skeleton PPT template for you to use during your presentation is downloadable here:
During our February 2021 Virtual Volunteer Fair, we offered a wonderful session on “Managing Texas Master Naturalist Volunteers in Person and Virtually” by Lindsay Pannell (Palo Duro State Park Interpreter) and Louisa Torrance (Distance Learning Coordinator). They shared how to create a successful recruiting presentation and plan and how to manage the volunteers that want to help you with your project(s). Their tips, techniques, and best practices working with TMN volunteers in distanced and virtual service projects can be viewed below, as well as the slides used: