Join a state-wide volunteer network by becoming a Maryland Master Naturalist

How do I become a Maryland Master Naturalist?

Application to the Maryland Master Naturalist Program is made through individual Host Sites (see Volunteer Training Region links below). Candidates must be 18 years of age or older, have transportation to training classes/field trips and volunteer service activities, and be available to complete the 60-hour training as well as volunteer 40 hours per year. Applicants must show an interest in natural resources and be able to read, write and comprehend the information presented in the training sessions. Applicants must be able to interact with and communicate that information to the general public. The Master Naturalist trainee must pass a final exam in order to volunteer in the program.

Maryland Master Naturalist Program trainees are selected by the training program Host Site(s) as suitable volunteers based on their applications, references, and interviews. Once accepted into the program, there is a $250 fee due at the start of the training to cover the cost of materials. 

Individuals accepted into the Maryland Master Naturalist Program receive 52 hours of instruction, including hands-on activities and demonstrations, indoors and out. The course also includes at least 8 hours of a field trip or trips to a different site, for a total of 60 hours of instruction and field programming.

All classes and field trip(s) are taught by experts in the subject. The curriculum includes:

Introduction to Maryland Natural History
Flora and Fauna: Identification, Behavior and Taxonomy
Fundamental Ecological Principles
How Humans Affect the Landscape
The Science of Science
Teaching and Interpretation 

See the Master Naturalist Policies and Guidelines to learn more about training to become a Master Naturalist.

For more information: Contact Joy Rafey at  jrafey@umd.edu or 410-531-0534

 

University of Maryland Extension programs are available to all and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, national origin, marital status, genetic information, political affiliation, and gender identity or expression.

If you need assistance to participate in an activity, please contact University of Maryland Extension at jrafey@umd.edu or 410-531-0534 at least two (2) weeks prior to the activity start date.

Training Regions of Maryland

For our training purposes, we divide Maryland into three physiographic regions. The areas differ in their geographic features, plants, and animals. Applicants should choose a training course in the region where they plan to do volunteer work as a Master Naturalist.

TRAININGS in the Coastal Plain Region

The Coastal Plain Region is the farthest to the east and includes all the low-lying areas from the shores of the bay to the Atlantic Ocean. Eastern Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne's, Caroline, Talbot, Dorchester, Wicomico, Somerset, Worcester, Anne Arundel, Prince George's, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's Counties are all in our Coastal Plain Region, along with the eastern part of Baltimore City.

Region Map Coastal Plain

Listed below are current Master Naturalist Volunteer Trainings and the Host Sites that offer Master Naturalist Volunteer Trainings throughout the year.  Please review this listing to see what Host Sites participate in the Maryland Master Naturalist Program in this region and when they typically offer training (i.e., time of year, days of the week, time of day, etc).  

Applications are only being accepted by OPEN programs as noted below.  To apply for admission to a training, please contact the Host Site and request an application or use their online application link if one is provided. If a Host Site interests you but their training is not currently open, please email the Host Site contact for more information about upcoming trainings at that Host Site.

The cost of the training is $250 per person upon acceptance into the training. Do not send payment with your application.

If you would like to learn more about how your facility/organization could become a Host Site, please contact Joy Rafey at jrafey@umd.edu 

Open/Upcoming/Active Trainings

2024:

MD DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES (MdDNR) (Anne Arundel County)
http://dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/Education/MDNaturalistTraining.aspx
Host Site Contact:  Paula Becker, Paula.Becker@maryland.gov 
Dates:  February 14 - May 15, 2024
Days:  Wednesday evenings, 6:00 - 9:00 pm with some Saturday field trips
ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS until DEC 1 2023:  Click HERE for more information & application

2023:

BLACKWATER NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, Cambridge, MD (Dorchester County)
http://friendsofblackwater.org/ and https://www.shorerivers.org/
Host Site Contact:  Sue Fischer (Friends of Blackwater), suefischer1@comcast.net
Dates:  September 7 - December 7, 2023
Days:  Thursdays, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm,  with some Saturday field trips
NO LONGER ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS

ANACOSTIA WATERSHED SOCIETY, Bladensburg, MD (Prince George's County)
http://www.anacostiaws.org/ and https://www.anacostiaws.org/what-we-do/education/adult-education/master-naturalist-program.html
Host Site Contact:  Jamie Craven, 
jcraven@anacostiaws.org 
Dates:  September 9, 2023 - August 10, 2024

Days:  2nd Saturday of the month, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
NO LONGER ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS

Host Sites (listed alphabetically by primary Host Site name)
if a Host Site interests you, please email the contact listed below to inquire about future Master Naturalist trainings:

NOTE:  Timeframes are approximate and based on past Master Naturalist trainings and are SUBJECT TO CHANGE

Adkins Arboretum, Ridgely, MD (Caroline County) with Pickering Creek Audubon Center, Phillips Wharf Environmental Center, and ShoreRivers
http://www.adkinsarboretum.org/http://pickering.audubon.org/, https://phillipswharf.org/, 
and https://www.shorerivers.org/
Host Site Contact:  Jenny Houghton, jhoughton@adkinsarboretum.org
Timeframe:  varies - Spring thru Winter in the same year or Autumn thru Summer of the following year
Meets Monthly:  all day one weekday per month with some Saturday field trips

American Chestnut Land Trust (ACLT), Prince Frederick, MD (Calvert County)
http://acltweb.org/
Host Site Contact:  Autumn Phillips-Lewis, landmanager@acltweb.org 
Timeframe:  February thru June
Meets Weekly:  Monday evenings with some Saturday field trips

Anacostia Watershed Society, Bladensburg, MD (Prince George's County)
http://www.anacostiaws.org/ and https://www.anacostiaws.org/what-we-do/education/adult-education/master-naturalist-program.html
Host Site Contact:  Jamie Craven, 
jcraven@anacostiaws.org 
Timeframe:  September thru August the following year

Meets Monthly:  all day one Saturday per month

Baltimore County Department of Recreation & Parks (Baltimore County)
Nature, Environment, and Agricultural Centers
https://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/departments/recreation/programs/nature-area/
Host Site Contact:  Breena Doyle, bdoyle@baltimorecountymd.gov 
Timeframe:  September thru November
Meets Weekly:  All day Saturdays

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge/ShoreRivers, Cambridge, MD (Dorchester County)
http://friendsofblackwater.org/ and https://www.shorerivers.org/
Host Site Contact:  Sue Fischer (Friends of Blackwater), suefischer1@comcast.net, and Suzanne Sullivan (ShoreRivers), ssullivan@shorerivers.org 
Timeframe:  September thru December
Meets Weekly:  all day Thursdays with some Saturday field trips

Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center, Grasonville, MD (Queen Anne's County)
http://www.bayrestoration.org/ 
Host Site Contact:  TBA 
Timeframe:  September thru December
Meets Weekly:  all day Wednesdays with some Saturday field trips

Elms Environmental Education Center, Dameron, MD (St. Mary's County)
http://elms.smcps.org  
Host Site Contact:  
elmsmdmnprogram@gmail.com
Timeframe:  February thru June every 3 years - next training in 2026
Meets Weekly:  Tuesday evenings with some Saturday field trips

Gunpowder Falls & North Point State Parks (Baltimore County and Harford County)
https://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/central/gunpowder.aspx 
Host Site Contact: TBA
 
Timeframe: September thru November SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY
Meets Weekly: all day Mondays with some Saturday field trips

Marshy Point Nature Center/Cromwell Valley Park, Baltimore, MD (Baltimore County) 
http://www.marshypoint.org/ and http://www.cromwellvalleypark.org/ 
Host Site Contacts:  Ben Porter, bporter@baltimorecountymd.gov (Marshy Point NC), and Brina Doyle, bdoyle@baltimorecountymd.gov (Cromwell Valley Park)
Timeframe:  September thru November
Meets Weekly:  all day Saturdays

MD Department of Natural Resources (Anne Arundel County)
http://dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/Education/MDNaturalistTraining.aspx
Host Site Contact:  Paula Becker, Paula.Becker@maryland.gov 
Timeframe:  February thru May in even numbered years
Meets Weekly:  Wednesday evenings with some Saturday field trips

Nanjemoy Creek Environmental Education Center, Nanjemoy, MD (Charles County)
 
https://nceec-ccboe.weebly.com/
Host Site Contact:  Mike Callahan, mcallahan@ccboe.com 
Timeframe:  March thru June
Meets Weekly:  Tuesday & Thursday evenings with some Saturday field trips

Patuxent River Park, Upper Marlboro, MD (Prince George's County)
http://www.patuxentriverpark.com
Host Site Contact: 
prp.mn.2024@gmail.com
Timeframe:  February thru June SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY
Meets Weekly:  Thursday evenings with some Saturday field trips

TRAININGS in the Piedmont Region

The Piedmont Region is more centrally located in the State of Maryland and is crossed by rivers descending toward the Chesapeake Bay. Eastern Frederick, Carroll, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Baltimore and western Cecil Counties are in the Piedmont, along with the western part of Baltimore City.

Region Map Piedmont

Listed below are current Master Naturalist Volunteer Trainings and the Host Sites that offer Master Naturalist Volunteer Trainings throughout the year.  Please review this listing to see what Host Sites participate in the Maryland Master Naturalist Program in this region and when they typically offer training (i.e., time of year, days of the week, time of day, etc).  

Applications are only being accepted by OPEN programs as noted below.  To apply for admission to a training, please contact the Host Site and request an application or use their online application link if one is provided. If a Host Site interests you but their training is not currently open, please email the Host Site contact for more information about upcoming trainings at that Host Site.

The cost of the training is $250 per person upon acceptance into the training. Do not send payment with your application.

If you would like to learn more about how your facility/organization could become a Host Site, please contact Joy Rafey at jrafey@umd.edu

Open/Upcoming/Active Trainings

2024:

HOWARD COUNTY CONSERVANCY, Woodstock, MD (Howard County)
https://www.howardnature.org/ and https://www.howardnature.org/master-naturalist/
Host Site Contact:  Teddy Driscoll, 
teddy.driscoll@howardnature.org
Dates:  January 9 - March 5, 2024
Days:  Tuesdays, 8:00 am - 3:30 pm
APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED OCT 1 - NOV 25, 2023:  click HERE for information & application

LAKE ROLAND PARK & ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CENTER, Baltimore, MD (Baltimore County)
http://lakeroland.org/
Host Site Contact:  Lauren Isaacs, 
lisaacs@baltimorecountymd.gov
Dates:  April 1 -  June 3, 2024
Days:  Mondays, 10:00 am - 4:30 pm, with some Saturday field trips
APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED DEC 1, 2023 - FEB 1, 2024:  Contact 
Lauren Isaacs, 
lisaacs@baltimorecountymd.gov for more information

2023:

CYLBURN ARBORETUM FRIENDS, Baltimore, MD (Baltimore City)
https://cylburn.org/
Host Site Contact:  Erika Castillo, 
Erika.Castillo@cylburn.org 
Dates:  September 5 - November 28, 2023
Days:  Tuesdays, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
NO LONGER ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS

FOUNTAIN ROCK NATURE CENTER, Walkersville, MD (Frederick County) 
https://www.recreater.com/294/Fountain-Rock-Park-Nature-Center
Host Site Contact: Kelly Ketzenberger, kketzenberger@frederickcountymd.gov 
Dates:  September 8 - December 8, 2023
Days:  Fridays, 8:00 am - 2:30 pm, with some Saturday field trips
NO LONGER ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS

NATURE FORWARD (formerly Audubon Naturalist Society), Chevy Chase, MD (Montgomery County)
https://natureforward.org/ and https://natureforward.org/program/master-naturalist/
Host Site Contact:  P
eihan Orestes, Volunteer Coordinator,  peihan.orestes@natureforward.org
Dates:  October 3, 2023 - May 21, 2024
Days:  1st & 3rd Tuesdays of each month, 12:00 noon - 3:00 pm
NO LONGER ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS

Host Sites (listed alphabetically by primary Host Site name)
if a Host Site interests you, please email the contact listed below to inquire about future Master Naturalist trainings:

NOTE:  Timeframes are approximate and based on past Master Naturalist trainings and are SUBJECT TO CHANGE

Baltimore County Department of Recreation & Parks (Baltimore County)
Nature, Environment, and Agricultural Centers
https://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/departments/recreation/programs/nature-area/
Host Site Contact:  Breena Doyle, bdoyle@baltimorecountymd.gov 
Timeframe:  September thru November
Meets Weekly:  All day Saturdays

Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum, Catonsville, MD (Baltimore County)
https://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/recreation/countyparks/mostpopular/banneker/index.html
Host Site Contact:  TBA
Timeframe:  March thru May

Meets Weekly:  all day Mondays with some Saturday field trips

Carrie Murray Nature Center, Baltimore, MD (Baltimore City)
http://www.carriemurraynaturecenter.org/
Host Site Contact:  Sarah Lank, SLank@baltimorecity.gov or cmnc.volunteers@baltimorecity.gov
Timeframe:  May thru October or August thru December
Meets Weekly:  Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings

Carroll County Nature Centers:
Hashawha Environmental Center/Bear Branch Nature Center/Piney Run Nature Center
(Carroll County)
Hashawha/Bear Branch: https://www.carrollcountymd.gov/government/directory/recreation-parks/places-to-go/hashawha-environmental-center-bear-branch-nature-center/ 
Piney Run: https://www.carrollcountymd.gov/government/directory/recreation-parks/places-to-go/piney-run-park/ 
Host Site Contacts:  
Dawn Harry, 
dharry@carrollcountymd.gov (Hashawha EC & Bear Branch NC)
Gianina Porter, gporter@carrollcountymd.gov (Piney Run NC)
Timeframe:  March - July
Meets Monthly:  all day Sundays with some Saturday field trips

Cylburn Arboretum, Baltimore, MD (Baltimore City)
Host Site Contact:  Erika Castillo, 
Erika.Castillo@cylburn.org 
Timeframe:  September - November
Meets Weekly:  all day Tuesdays

Fountain Rock Park Nature Center, Walkersville, MD (Frederick County) 
https://www.recreater.com/294/Fountain-Rock-Park-Nature-Center 
Host Site Contact: Kelly Ketzenberger, kketzenberger@frederickcountymd.gov 
Timeframe:  September thru December
Meets Weekly:  all day Fridays with some Saturday field trips

Goucher College, Towson, MD (Baltimore County)
https://www.goucher.edu/environmental-sustainability/
Host Site Contact:  TBA
Timeframe:  February thru April
Meets Weekly:  all day Saturdays

Gunpowder Falls & North Point State Parks (Baltimore County and Harford County)
https://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/central/gunpowder.aspx 
Host Site Contact: TBA

Timeframe: September thru November SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY
Meets Weekly: all day Mondays with some Saturday field trips

Howard County Conservancy (Howard County)
https://www.howardnature.org/
Host Site Contact:  Teddy Driscoll, 
teddy.driscoll@howardnature.org
Timeframe:  January thru March
Meets Weekly:  all day Tuesdays with some Saturday field trips

Lake Roland Park & Environmental Education Center, Baltimore, MD (Baltimore County)
http://lakeroland.org/
Host Site Contact:  Lauren Isaacs, 
lisaacs@baltimorecountymd.gov
Timeframe:  March/April thru May/June
Meets Weekly:  all day Mondays with some Saturday field trips

Marshy Point Nature Center/Cromwell Valley Park, Baltimore, MD (Baltimore County) 
http://www.marshypoint.org/ and http://www.cromwellvalleypark.org/ 
Host Site Contacts:  Ben Porter, bporter@baltimorecountymd.gov (Marshy Pont NC), and Brina Doyle, bdoyle@baltimorecountymd.gov (Cromwell Valley Park)
Timeframe:  September thru November
Meets Weekly:  all day Saturdays

Montgomery Parks (Montgomery County)
https://www.montgomeryparks.org/parks-trails/nature-centers/
Host Site Contacts:  Jackie Raiford, jacqueline.raiford@montgomeryparks.org (please do not email until early 2024)
Timeframe:  March thru May
Meets Weekly:  all day Wednesdays with some Saturday field trips
NOTE:  NO PROGRAMMING UNTIL 2024

Nature Forward (formerly Audubon Naturalist Society), Chevy Chase, MD (Montgomery County)
https://natureforward.org/ and https://natureforward.org/program/master-naturalist/
Host Site Contact:  P
eihan Orestes, Volunteer Coordinator,  peihan.orestes@natureforward.org
Timeframe:  October thru May
Meets Bi-weekly:  Tuesday afternoons

 

Oregon Ridge Nature Center, Baltimore, MD (Baltimore County)
http://www.oregonridgenaturecenter.org
Host Site Contact:  Jessica Jeannetta, jjeannetta@baltimorecountymd.gov
Timeframe:  March thru May
Meets Weekly:  all day Mondays with some Saturday field trips

Robinson Nature Center  (Howard County)
https://www.howardcountymd.gov/Robinson
Host Site Contact:  TBA, call 
410-313-0400 for more information
Timeframe:  March thru May in odd-numbered years
Meets Weekly:  all day Tuesdays with some Saturday field trips

TRAININGS in the Mountain Region

The Mountain Region consists of western Maryland and is characterized by the Appalachian Plateaus, Ridge and Valley, and Blue Ridge provinces of the state. This region includes Garrett, Allegany, Washington and western Frederick Counties.

Region Map Mountain

Listed below are current Master Naturalist Volunteer Trainings and the Host Sites that offer Master Naturalist Volunteer Trainings throughout the year.  Please review this listing to see what Host Sites participate in the Maryland Master Naturalist Program in this region and when they typically offer training (i.e., time of year, days of the week, time of day, etc).  

Applications are only being accepted by OPEN programs as noted below.  To apply for admission to a training, please contact the Host Site and request an application or use their online application link if one is provided. If a Host Site interests you but their training is not currently open, please email the Host Site contact for more information about upcoming trainings at that Host Site.

The cost of the training is $250 per person upon acceptance into the training. Do not send payment with your application.

If you would like to learn more about how your facility/organization could become a Host Site, please contact Joy Rafey at jrafey@umd.edu 

Open/Upcoming/Active Trainings:

2023: 

DEEP CREEK LAKE STATE PARK, Swanton, MD (Garrett County)
https://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/pages/western/deepcreek.aspx
Host Site Contact: Cricket Smith, 
christinen.smith@maryland.gov
Dates:  September 13 - November 15, 2023
Days:  Wednesdays, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
NO LONGER ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS

 

Host Sites (listed alphabetically by primary Host Site name)
if a Host Site interests you, please email the contact listed below to inquire about future Master Naturalist trainings:

NOTE:  Timeframes are approximate and based on past Master Naturalist trainings and are SUBJECT TO CHANGE

Cunningham Falls State Park, Thurmont, MD (Frederick County)
http://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/pages/western/cunningham.aspx
Host Site Contact: TBA

Timeframe:  approx. 10-12 weeks in either Spring or Autumn but not for the forseeable future due to staffing levels

DEEP CREEK LAKE STATE PARK, Swanton, MD (Garrett County)
https://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/pages/western/deepcreek.aspx
Host Site Contact: Cricket Smith, 
christinen.smith@maryland.gov
Timeframe:  Autumn
Days:  All Day Wednesdays

Why I Went to the Woods - and Into the Maryland Master Naturalist Program - a video by Chris Lancette (Audubon Naturalist Society, class of 2020)