Master Naturalist Program

Our Mission
To engage a diverse corps of individuals as stewards of Maryland's natural ecosystems and resources through science-based education and volunteer service in their communities.

Click HERE to learn how to Become a Maryland Master Naturalist 

University of Maryland Extension programs, activities, and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, religion, protected veteran status, genetic information, personal appearance, or any other legally protected class.

Calvert Cliffs with Quote

Become a Maryland Master Naturalist

Want to be a Master Naturalist?  Instruction is specific to one of three physiographic regions in Maryland: the Coastal Plain, Piedmont, or Mountain Region. The course fee is $250 per person. Individuals interested in becoming a Master Naturalist apply to a Host Site in their region (see Regional Trainings listing on the Become a Master Naturalist page).  Once you're accepted into the Master Naturalist volunteer training program, you will receive 52 hours of classroom instruction and 8 hours of hands-on experience outdoors (60 hours total training).

After this initial training, participants provide a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer service to their Host Site in the first year in order to receive Master Naturalist certification. To maintain certification, Master Naturalists continue to provide at least 40 hours of approved service in their region along with a minimum of 8 hours of approved advanced training. Volunteer service and advanced training are approved and recorded by the Master Naturalist's volunteer training Host Site Program Facilitator. A wide variety of volunteer opportunities are possible, including environmental restoration projects, education, public awareness campaigns, and field research. Volunteers serve Host Sites or other environmental agencies/organizations and not University of Maryland Extension.

See the Become a Master Naturalist tab above to learn more about training to become a Master Naturalist.

Train Maryland Master Naturalists

Want to be a Host Site?  Host Sites are environmental agencies/organizations in Maryland that have the resources for both indoor and outdoor education.  A host site-selected and approved representative (staff, volunteer, etc) completes a one-day workshop in the administration of the Master Naturalist program in order to become a Program Facilitator.  The coursework and volunteer service are coordinated by Host Site Program Facilitators. For more information please go to the Training Master Naturalists tab above.

Support the Maryland Master Naturalist Program

The Maryland Master Naturalist Program welcomes the support of organizations and individuals in expanding the training and volunteer opportunities throughout the state. The formation of the program, and the plans for future expansion, are described here

A detailed description of the Master Naturalist Program is given in the Policies and Guidelines

Statement of Solidarity and Inclusivity to Maryland’s Master Naturalists

An event occurred in May, 2020 which sparked surprise and anger from many of us who work in natural resources education.  I’m speaking of the situation where a woman called 911 on an avid bird watcher because he asked her to leash her dog. She stated in her call to authorities that an African-American male was threatening her, and that she feared for her life and needed help immediately.  The events since this news broke have been even more shocking and sad.  The death of Mr. George Floyd on May 25, 2020, triggered a move away from complacency to one of action to work harder than ever to dismantle racial injustice in our country.  As the state Extension program leader for natural resources with the University of Maryland, I pledge to work with the leaders, volunteers, and staff in all of our programming areas to better understand and implement change to be more inviting, inclusive and welcoming to all peoples.  I have faith that there are great leaders in areas where we need help to achieve more diversity, equity and inclusivity in the Maryland Master Naturalist program and I hope you will contact Joy Rafey, Maryland Master Naturalist Program Coordinator, at


WGH Signature

William Hubbard, PhD
State Program Leader - Natural Resource Extension Programs
University of Maryland Extension

Awards & Recognition

ANROSP Award 2019 Outstanding Volunteer Project Marshy Point Osprey Cam ANROSP Award Program of the Year 2016 ANROSP Award 2017 Vol Proj Sensory Trail

2019 ANROSP Outstanding Volunteer Project Award:

Dundee Creek Osprey Cam at Marshy Point Nature Center, Certified Maryland Master Naturalist Dave Oshman

2016 ANROSP Program of the Year Award:
Maryland Master Naturalist Program

Presented by the Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach & Service Programs

2017 ANROSP Outstanding Volunteer Project Award:

Catoctin Creek Multi-Sensory Trial, Certified Maryland Master Naturalist Dawne Howard