New volunteer training courses are held annually from January into early May. The application becomes available on September 1.
The training to become a Master Naturalists develops volunteer skills to build relationships with community partners and to engage in projects that benefit the environment and our communities. The training is interactive, consists of team building exercises, group projects, and field explorations. We also include self-reflective tasks to further understand natural and cultural concepts, including best practices in environmental education and justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in our programs.
The Master Naturalist program leads to certification by volunteering with other chapter members working in small groups to design programs for natural and cultural history organizations. Volunteering is part of the course. If you do not have time or interest to volunteer, then we suggest you NOT apply to our program. Instead, seek a natural history course at a community college.
Master Naturalists are NOT expected to know everything about nature. The definition of a "master" refers to a person who devotes time and energy to learning and practicing their skill. As a "master" we become more aware of our environment on new levels and seek new ways to engage with it. Let the fun begin!
This volunteer course begins in January and runs into early May. It is conducted online with in-person field experiences. The class is held on Wednesday evenings from 5:30-8:30 PM via Zoom with Field Labs held on Saturday mornings in various parks around the valley. You will be required to participate in 5 Field Labs or may attend all 8-10 available to you. Virtual Field Labs may be substituted when the activity conflicts with your schedule, or you have physical limitations.
Much of the communications within our organization and with our partners is via the computer. To effectively participate you must be WIILLING to use software such as Canvas (our online course management system), Volgistics (our volunteer hours tracking system), and the Google Suite of products. You do NOT need to be an expert using these, we will help you get up to speed, but you must be WILLING to engage with online information online.
Our 60-hour training program prepares you to provide volunteer service to community organizations seeking skilled natural and cultural volunteers throughout Arizona. Master Naturalists volunteer by sharing their skills, knowledge, and leadership to help others learn about nature and its ecosystem. Important naturalist skills are practiced in the Field Labs sessions during the course.
Our volunteer opportunities are diverse. You may select from:
To become fully certified you must contribute 20 hours of volunteer service and 20 hours of advanced training (5 of which must be skills-based training) by December 31 in your training year. The Field Labs conducted during the course will count as advanced training.
Thereafter, to remain a certified Arizona Master Naturalist, one must contribute 40 service hours and 20 advanced training hours in Year 2. Starting Year 3 and beyond annually contribute 60 hours of service and 20 advanced training hours. If at any time you require assistance with completing your hours, we are happy to help you.
The Arizona Master Naturalist Association seeks to engage and serve a diversity of audiences in our communities and wishes to make our programs accessible to a diverse array of age, cultural, economic, professional experience, and racial backgrounds. Our registration fees are $300 (subject to change each year). We provide financial assistance for those unable to pay full price for the program through a sliding scale for course fee payment.
Our application is open to candidates from September 1 until the class is full. If you are interested in volunteering or becoming a Maricopa County Master Naturalist, please join our email list (scroll to the bottom to signup). Our monthly newsletter explains activities you can attend prior to taking the course and will alert you to the opening of the application in September. Visit our public events calendar for upcoming events.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org