Our volunteers are ready to volunteer! Our Texas Master Naturalist Volunteers are dedicated to natural resource conservation work, but as a result of extreme circumstances due to the pandemic our members have been severely limited in conducting many of their typical outreach, technical guidance and community stewardship service projects. This has limited their ability to obtain their required volunteer service hours. With health and safety restrictions persisting, we’re thinking outside of the box for how Texas Master Naturalist volunteers can assist our partner conservation organizations in their communities.
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 February 3rd and 4th, 2021, 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, we can help!
We are seeking your “Virtual” and “Distanced 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 February 3rd and 4th, 2021 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 or fulfill virtual tasks? Master Naturalists are spending more time at home and online during this time. Try to connect their training and skills with your project needs that can be completed by volunteers working remotely 3 to 5 hours a week.
Submission Deadline – EXTENDED – January 19th, 2021
What are “Virtual” Projects for Master Naturalist volunteers?
- Any natural resource service that can be done from a computer.
“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 “Distanced 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. (i.e Groups of 10 or less, social distance practices followed and mask mandates adhered to.)
Note – 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. However, there may be “distance service” projects that are open to statewide volunteer input (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.
“Distanced 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)
As an attending Texas Master Naturalist what can I expect?
The Texas Master Naturalist Virtual Volunteer Fair will happen over two days Wednesday February 3rd and Thursday February 4th from 9am to 4pm tentatively with a series of 10-minute sessions highlighting projects by a variety of partner conservation agencies and organizations.
An agenda for the event will be sent via email and will be posted on this site indicating the available Project Presentations and their detailed requirements.
Registration will be free to attend our Virtual Volunteer Fair and will open in mid January. You can attend any or all project proposal presentations! 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.
How do I join?
Through the Volunteer Fair Registration Link (once shared) or a WebEx Event invite link sent to your email when registered. Join us all day or at the time of your desired project session by joining the WebEx Event as an attendee.
If you’ve never used WebEx as a platform at all, the WebEx 101 Guide linked above 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 again at the end of the event, we will share the “Project Volunteer Registration” survey link.
Texas Master Naturalist Volunteers will use the survey link to select which Service Project(s) they want to join. This survey will stay open for the month of February! Make sure and sign up early to ensure a quick turnaround time for our Project Hosts. From there, these Project Hosts will then reach out to you to get the projects kicked off. Please note that if a Project gets more volunteers than the Project Host can handle, he/she will make the call on how to manage the situation. Project service positions are not guaranteed.
How do I log Volunteer Hours?
We’ve created a QUICK GUIDE for all Texas Master Naturalist and VMS Admins to refer to when logging hours.
For Attending the Virtual Volunteer Event :
TMN volunteers can earn Volunteer Service hours for attending all project proposal sessions of the VVF (live or recorded) – please use the “TMN Virtual Volunteer Service Fair” Statewide Project Opportunity for logging service hours.
For Projects presented at the Virtual Volunteer Fair :
As a result of the virtual service component in these challenging times, and with advance notice of the projects sent to all chapters, our hope is that each of the proposed opportunities be reviewed, and pre-approved by your local chapter using the TMN service project and advanced training criteria outlined in the TMN Chapter Management and Operations Protocols (CMOP). If chapters review these opportunities as soon as possible, then their membership will know prior to the Volunteer Fair event which opportunities are approved.
Also note – some of the Projects in the Virtual Volunteer Fair are “place-based” opportunities, i.e physical on public property service requests. Those should only be considered for approval by the local chapters within the direct ecosystem of that location/state park.
Have More Questions?
This is a new opportunity for us and for our volunteers – please let us know if you have any additional question. For questions, you can email:
- Judit Green – Texas Parks & Wildlife Department – Judit.Green@tpwd.texas.gov
- Michelle Haggerty – Texas Parks & Wildlife Department – Michelle.Haggerty@tpwd.texas.gov
- Mary Pearl Meuth – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – firstname.lastname@example.org