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About the Utah Master Naturalist Program

The Utah Master Naturalist program is a Utah State University Extension certification program that teaches and certifies master naturalist volunteers and professionals. In operation since 2007, Utah Master Naturalist was developed in partnership with over 25 organizations in Utah. Designed as a knowledge-sharing program, certified Utah Master Naturalists promote stewardship of Utah's natural resources within their communities by providing education, outreach, and service. 

You may become a certified Utah Master Naturalist by participating in any course. It is possible to be certified in just one, or two, or all three courses— Watershed Investigations, Desert Explorations, and Mountain Adventures. Each Utah Master Naturalist course includes completing an online course and then attending a field course.  You'll be given access to the online course approximately one month before the start of the field course for which you register.  Registration fees are $225 per course, which include both the online and field course, and a limited number of partial scholarships are available for teachers.

Utah Master Naturalist is designed for anyone interested in exploring and learning about Utah’s natural world; however, the program is tailored to amateur, volunteer, and possibly even beginning professional naturalists. Many past participants have been educators who are interested in expanding natural science curricula in their classrooms and organizations.

Our assessment and evaluation data have revealed that amateur naturalists not only learn more than professional naturalists, but consistently enjoy the program more. So, this is one of those cases where the less you know, the more fulfilling your Utah Master Naturalist experence will be. Courses are never about who knows the most. Everyone who enrolls brings with them a unique set of knowledge and experiences, so courses are about sharing our knowledge with each other and learning from everyone’s experiences in Utah’s natural world, not only learning from the instructors.

Utah Master Naturalist courses focus on increasing your understanding and knowledge about each of Utah's watershed, mountain, and desert systems as a whole. Individual organism identification is included but is not the main focus. You will learn about, explore, and discuss each system's functions, physical characteristics, representative organisms, management techniques, and current issues. You will come away with a better understanding of humankind's role in shaping the past and determining the future as stewards of these amazing systems. 

You may not be employed as an educator, but if you enjoy being outdoors with friends and family and sharing your knowledge with them, then you are an educator! Each course offers you an opportunity to initiate, continue, and develop your personal journey of knowledge and stewardship of Utah's natural systems, preparing you to share that knowledge, helping others feel a greater connection to nature.

As a Utah Master Naturalist participant, you must commit to completing the online course and attending a field course. In addition, scholarship recipients are required the completion of a lesson plan or similar project of their choice. Lesson plans may become part of the community of lesson plans in our partner program, Utah Nature Explorers. Upon completing the requirements of a field course, you will receive a certificate and pin identifying you as a Utah Master Naturalist! 

While volunteer hours are not required, we provide volunteer incentives at different levels. You will also have the opportunity to earn three Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from Utah State University for an additional recording fee of $90. In addition to receiving certification, you will have opportunities to 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.