Thank you for your interest in participating in the Utah Master Naturalist Program. Before you register, it is important for you to understand what the program is all about.
What is the Utah Master Naturalist Program?
By participating in the Utah Master Naturalist Program, you will be initiating or continuing your own personal journey - a journey that will increase your knowledge of Utah’s natural systems, of the plants and animals that depend upon those systems, and our role in shaping our past, in determining our future, and as stewards of the land.
The Utah Master Naturalist Program is a certification program developed by Utah State University Extension with the partnership of more than 25 other organizations in Utah. The mission of the Utah Master Naturalist Program is to develop well-informed volunteers and professionals who provide education, outreach, and service promoting stewardship of natural resources within their communities. The program consists of 40 hours of training, with at least 50% of the time spent in the field. Registration fees are $175, and a limited number of scholarships are available to teachers.
Who should enroll?
The Utah Master Naturalist Program was designed for anyone who is interested in learning more about Utah’s natural world. However, the program is tailored to amateur naturalists, volunteer naturalists, and possibly even beginning professional naturalists. Our assessment and evaluation data have indicated that amateur naturalists not only clearly learn more than professional naturalists, but they also consistently enjoy the program more. So, this is one of those cases where the less you know, the more fulfilling this program will likely be for you. If you have been a naturalist for many years, or if you have extensive formal training or experience in a naturalist field, you may not find this program as fulfilling.
Everyone who enrolls in the Utah Master Naturalist Program brings with them a unique set of knowledge and experiences. We will learn not only from the instructors, but also from each other. By sharing our knowledge with each other, we gain from everyone’s experiences in Utah’s natural world. Most importantly, the Utah Master Naturalist Program is never about who knows the most.
What will I learn about?
The focus of the Utah Master Naturalist Program is to learn about and explore Utah’s natural systems, including Watersheds, Deserts, and Mountains. For each of these systems, we will discuss ecosystem functions, physical characteristics, representative organisms, management techniques, and current issues. We will strive to understand these systems as a whole throughout Utah, so the program will not focus heavily on organism identification. While some of the time will be spent in the classroom, we will pair each discussion with hands-on activities and explorations in the field.
The Utah Master Naturalist Program is more than just a program designed to increase knowledge. It is also a knowledge-sharing program. A goal of the Utah Master Naturalist Program is to prepare persons to share their knowledge with others, to act in a positive manner, to help others feel a greater connection to the land, and to help others develop their own sense of stewardship. As such, we often spend some time learning about effective methods for being an environmental educator or interpreter. You might not be employed as an educator, but if you at least enjoy being outdoors with friends and family and sharing your knowledge with them, then you are an educator.
Everyone who enrolls in the Utah Master Naturalist Program must commit to attending the full 40 hours, with one absence allowed due to unavoidable circumstances. In addition, Utah Master Naturalist classes that are designed specifically for teachers require the completion of a lesson plan.
Upon completing the requirements of the Utah Master Naturalist Program, you will receive a certificate and badge identifying you as a Utah Master Naturalist. While volunteer hours are not required, we provide volunteer incentives at different levels. You will have the opportunity to earn three continuing education credits (CEUs) from Utah State University for an additional recording fee of $90. Three graduate USU credits are available to students who pay tuition and enroll in WATS 6900. In addition to receiving a certification, you will have the opportunity expand your knowledge, interact and network with fellow naturalists, and learn about organizations who can not only help you learn more, but also need your help in promoting stewardship of Utah’s natural world.
If you think that the Utah Master Naturalist Program is right for you, I encourage you to register. If you have any questions regarding the program, including the registration process, please do not hesitate to contact me.
I look forward to meeting you!
Utah Master Naturalist Program Director