University of Maryland Extension

Policies and Guidelines

Master Naturalist Policies and Guidelines:

Program Organization
Program Overview
Master Naturalist Description
Master Naturalist Requirements
Master Naturalist Responsibilities and Benefits 


Maryland is a state of “wonders” with lots to see, do, learn and enjoy!  Becoming a Certified Maryland Master Naturalist is an exciting way to explore our beautiful state and to help preserve its environmental wealth. The idea of a Maryland Master Naturalist Program took shape in 2005. In 2008, under the direction of the University of Maryland Extension Master Naturalist Coordinator and guided by a Steering Committee, the program’s framework was created. By spring, 2010, the first pilot volunteer training was conducted in the Piedmont Region of the state at the Howard County Conservancy. The pilot volunteer training for the Coastal Plain was conducted in February 2011 at Adkins Arboretum.
Our Mission:  The Maryland Master Naturalist Program engages citizens as stewards of Maryland’s natural resources and ecosystems through science-based education and volunteer service in their communities.

Supporting definitions:

  • Citizens are all people who become Master Naturalists as well as those influenced by their outreach efforts.
  • Stewardship embodies awareness, sound knowledge, understanding, respect, responsibility, and ongoing personal commitment to conservation and preservation.
  • Natural resources and ecosystems through science-based education focuses specifically on plants, wildlife, microorganisms, soil, water, air, climate, weather, geology, ecology and environmental issues in Maryland’s coastal plain, piedmont, and mountain eco-regions taught by qualified natural resources experts.
  • Volunteer service commits Master Naturalists to interpret and share their passion and knowledge of ecological principles, of Maryland’s natural history and resources and native species – and to take leadership in conservation and resource preservation in their communities.
  • Communities include the numerous neighborhoods, workplaces, volunteer locations, parks, places of worship, schools, committees, and other gathering places and activities where Master Naturalists spend time.



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