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 individuals as stewards of Maryland’s natural resources and ecosystems through science-based education and volunteer service in their communities.
- Individuals 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.
- Promote awareness and appreciation of ecological resources in the State of Maryland
- Develop a network of trained volunteers to serve as catalysts for local environmental conservation through education, research and stewardship
- Provide a structured, science-based program to educate and certify individuals who maintain their lifelong learning quests as Maryland Master Naturalists
- Engage individuals in environmentally-focused volunteer service within their communities
Our Vision: The state of Maryland demonstrates to the world, by its actions at the individual, policy, and practice levels, its commitment to creating and maintaining a healthy planet.
The Maryland Master Naturalist Program is defined as:
A science-based natural resource training program jointly sponsored statewide by University of Maryland Extension (UME), Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and other state and local agencies and organizations. Partnerships with state and local environmental organizations, agencies, and groups support a network of locally directed Chapters around the state. Program Facilitators administer and coordinate volunteer training programs using the Volunteer Training Manual.
The statewide program will:
- Train Program Facilitators
- Approve new Chapter formations
- Coordinate participant application, registration, payment and certification process
- Produce and distribute training manuals to Chapters
- Manage statewide database listing of facilitators/instructors/volunteers
- Maintain an "Environmental Educators Database" as a resource for Program Facilitators to locate potential instructors
Program Facilitators: Individuals who are trained by the Maryland Master Naturalist Program to administer volunteer programs at their local facility or to coordinate the training when it takes place at an alternate site within their region. They are required to attend a Program Facilitator Workshop and set up a volunteer training based on the statewide Volunteer Manual. Facilitator will monitor Interns and Certified Master Naturalist Volunteers and schedule meetings/activities/opportunities at least once or twice each year to foster a sense of camaraderie with their corps of Master Naturalist volunteers.
Host Site: This is the location where a volunteer training program is held. The facility must be associated with a trained Program Facilitator who coordinates the volunteer training program. Each approved Host Sites must have a designated Facilitator and an alternate. There can be multiple Host Sites within one region.
Chapters: Chapters are self-governed by a board made up of officers and committee chairs. They consist of one or multiple facilities within a Maryland physiographic region where volunteers come together for training and volunteer activities. The responsibilities of a Chapter are to recruit volunteer members, plan and produce training courses, and work with local supporters to organize service projects. Chapters are self-supporting.
- Any Program Facilitator associated with an environmental facility, agency or organization wishing to form a Chapter in their local area can apply to the State Program Coordinator.
- A Maryland physiographic region can consist of one or more Chapters.
- A Chapter must have at least one trained Program Facilitator.
- Chapters must adhere to Chapter Guidelines set by the State Steering Committee.
Local Supporters: Individuals, organizations, non-profits, and groups who want to support the program’s Host Sites with:
- Financial gifts or grants
- A Host Site location
- Equipment and materials
- Volunteer service opportunities
- Advanced training courses
Chapter Representative: Each Chapter has one member designated to sit on the Steering Committee and to communicate on a regular basis with the State Program Coordinator.
State Steering Committee: Ensures the successful execution of the Maryland Master Naturalist mission. Members are active as chairperson or member of sub-committees that provide guidance in developing program policy, creating training guidelines, establishing curriculum, developing curriculum resources, sponsoring conferences and advanced training, designing a rewards program, overseeing marketing, fundraising and promotional efforts, assisting Chapters in identifying qualified instructors and in locating needed resources. The committee includes at least one representative from each sponsoring/partnering agency and at least one Chapter Representative from each Maryland region.
- Organizations or agencies, granting foundations and corporations that are environmentally conscious and committed to assisting the program through financial and/or in-kind donations.
- A Sponsor may sign a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ (MOU) with University of Maryland Extension signifying a long term relationship if they so choose. This document defines the commitment and contribution agreement for both parties.
- A Sponsor’s logo appears on program printed materials. A sponsor representative has the opportunity to sit on the Steering Committee.
State Program Coordinator: Works with the Sponsors/Partners, the Steering Committee and the Chapter Representatives to oversee the day-to-day operations of the program. Serves as Chapter Advisor as needed.
State Program Assistant: Assists the State Program Coordinator in the development and implementation of the program and maintains communication with the Program Facilitators and Host Sites.
Term of service on the Steering Committee is an appointment of one year. Service terms are renewable. The Steering Committee is composed of sub-committees. A Chairperson is appointed for each sub-committee. Steering Committee members are required to serve on at least one sub-committee. Steering Committee meetings will be held four times a year. Sub-committees will meet as needed. Committee members are encouraged to attend all scheduled meetings during their year(s) of service. The duties of the Steering Committee are subject to change based on program needs.
The State Program Coordinator and the Steering Committee develop the Volunteer Training Program. Volunteer training is offered throughout Maryland at designated Host Sites and administered by a Program Facilitator trained by the Maryland Master Naturalist Program. The volunteer training is taught by qualified instructors in the environmental field using a statewide approved Volunteer Manual. Instructors may include University faculty, University of Maryland Extension Specialists, Maryland Department of Natural Resources professionals, professional environmental educators, experienced Volunteer Naturalists, and other experts with a demonstrated knowledge in the subject matter being taught as well as an ability to communicate that knowledge to a lay audience. Program Facilitators set up volunteer training sessions customizing the training materials with region-specific activities, speakers and resources.
The program uses a comprehensive science-based curriculum to train volunteers in the natural history of the three physiographic regions in Maryland: The Mountains, The Piedmont, and The Coastal Plain. The training is offered to interested persons with the end goal of sharing knowledge with adults and children through volunteer service.
The volunteer training program is intended to provide a balanced, integrated, practical course in natural resource and ecosystem science. The following are the core topics to be introduced:
- Maryland Natural History
- Flora & Fauna
- Fundamentals of Ecology
- How Humans Have Affected the Landscape
- Teaching and Interpretation
- The Science of Science
A Certified Maryland Master Naturalist is a person trained to contribute to environmental education, conservation, research and other stewardship programs as a volunteer. Volunteer applicants include people interested in natural history and ecology such as retirees, parents, nature lovers, environmental/nature center staff, persons in professional fields such as rangers, biologists, teachers and others. Participants must be 18 years of age or older.
A Certified Maryland Master Naturalist must submit to being screened, interviewed, and accepted into the training program. Persons participating in the volunteer training will be charged a fee which will be used to cover the costs of the Master Naturalist Manual, publications, refreshments and other necessary supplies and materials and, in part, to support the State office staff. Participants are considered Trainees until they complete the 60 hours of classroom and field trip requirements. Then they are considered “Interns” and can begin accruing their required volunteer hours for certification.
- Master Naturalist Trainee: a program participant from the time he/she is accepted into the program through completion of classroom training and required field trips.
- Master Naturalist Intern: a program participant from the time he/she graduates from 60 hours of Master Naturalist training through the completion of 40 hours of volunteer service. This Internship is normally completed within 12 months of the end of classroom training. However, Interns may take 2 years to complete their internship upon agreement of the State Program Coordinator. Anyone who fails to complete the volunteer service requirement does not become a Maryland Master Naturalist.
- Certified (Active) Master Naturalist: a Master Naturalist Intern who has completed the initial 40 hour volunteer service requirement. To maintain certified status requires a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer service and 8 hours of advanced training annually and is valid for one calendar year. These service hours are recorded by the Program Facilitator and reported to the Program Coordinator in an annual report. A Certified Master Naturalist must have a current, signed “Volunteer Agreement Form” on file with the Program Facilitator. Certified Master Naturalists are encouraged to mentor Master Naturalist Trainees and Interns, helping to guide newcomers through a successful volunteer experience. Such mentoring qualifies as volunteer service.
- Alumnus: a formerly Certified Maryland Master Naturalist who no longer maintains their annual active volunteer service and/or advanced training requirements. Return to active status after more than 2 years as a Master Naturalist alumnus may require additional training at the discretion of the State Program Coordinator.
- Inactive Status / Leave of Absence: a formerly Certified Maryland Master Naturalist or Intern who is temporarily unable to fulfill Certified Maryland Master Naturalist requirements. Participants may remain on leave of absence for 1 or 2 years at a time upon the approval of the local Program Facilitator. A letter confirming the inactive status is placed in the volunteer’s file. Return to active status after more than 2 years as an inactive Maryland Master Naturalist may require additional training at the discretion of the State Program Coordinator.
- Terminated: a Master Naturalist who no longer wishes to be part of the program.
- Mentor: a volunteer who has maintained their certification status for a period of 2 years and is in good standing with the program and the State Program Coordinator. This individual will act as a resource for knowledge and skill in assisting other volunteers as assigned by their Program Facilitator.
- Transfers from out of state: must present proof of prior Master Naturalist training and certification. They must purchase a Volunteer Manual. Transfers will be assigned to a local Program Facilitator who will evaluate their training needs. They must submit all necessary forms, comply with the facilitator’s volunteer policy criteria and successfully pass the volunteer training final exam as a take home test.
1. Core Curriculum: 60 hours total
- Minimum of 52 hours of training, which includes classroom lectures, hands-on labs, group project, 8 hour field trip, and class presentation with at least 10 hours (25%) of the course spent in hands-on experience. Classroom lectures includes two 10 minute breaks; lunch is not included.
- Must pass a take-home final exam with a passing grade of at least 70%.
2. Volunteer Commitment
- 40 hours of volunteer service under the supervision of a Program Facilitator.
- May be a self-directed activity with the approval of a Program Facilitator.
- Opportunities are developed by local supporters and Host Sites.
- Placements are aligned with the individual's skills.
3. Annual Re-Certification Advanced Training and Volunteer Service
- 40 additional hours of volunteer service annually, and
- 8 hours of advanced training annually, which may consist of lectures, educational field experiences, conferences, briefing sessions or course work.
- Every 3 years the Volunteer Agreement must be signed and dated.
REGISTRATION AND REIMBURSEMENT
- A non-refundable $25 processing fee is included in the registration fee.
- If an individual withdraws from a volunteer training 6 weeks prior to the first class they can receive a refund minus a $25 processing fee.
- If an individual withdraws after 6 weeks prior to but before training begins, and the Program Facilitator can fill their slot, the registration fee will be refunded minus a $25 processing fee. If the Program Facilitator is unable to fill the individual’s slot, then the registration fee is forfeited.
- If an individual withdraws from a volunteer training their registration fee cannot be transferred to a future training.
- If an individual withdraws from a volunteer training after it has begun, they forfeit their registration fee and must return their manual
Class Attendance and Make Up Procedures
A Trainee is expected to attend every class session, including the field trip. A missed session must be made up. There must be an agreement between the two facilitators if a makeup class is at another Host Site. The field trip day counts as a class and attendance is mandatory for certification. If a field trip is missed due to unforeseen circumstances the Program Facilitator must approve an alternate selection.
A relevant advanced training class (approved by the Program Facilitator) can count as a make-up. If an advanced training class is used as a make-up, then for that individual, it does not also count as advanced training.
Quizzes and Exam
It is recommended that pre and post assessments be administered by instructors. Instructors may incorporate quizzes into the training program as they see fit. All Trainees must pass a final exam. This exam will test the Trainees’ knowledge of broad natural resource principles. The Program Facilitator will distribute the open book final exam the second to last week of the volunteer training and collect the completed finals on the final day. The finals will be graded with the passing grade of 70 percent being required. If a Trainee does not have a passing grade the facilitator can give them opportunities to improve their grade so they will pass.
Once the final has been graded, and a Trainee passes, they then will receive a certificate and a lanyard and name badge that University of Maryland Extension will provide. The facilitator will distribute the certificates to the Interns in a manner they deem fit.
Those individuals who complete their training and required service hours will receive:
- A certificate of completion as an Intern
- A certificate of completion as Certified
- A training volunteer service recognition pin and name badge
- Recognition in a statewide volunteer database
- Nomination for awards as merited
- Volunteer newsletter
The activity must be consistent with the Master Naturalist mission.
The purpose of volunteer work is to provide a service to the community with regard to natural resources, and to help the volunteer gain knowledge and experience. Projects must either involve educating the public or enhancing the natural resources of the state. All ideas for volunteer projects must be approved in advance by the local Program Facilitator. If the Program Facilitator has difficulty deciding whether a project is appropriate, they should consult with the State Coordinator. The first 40 hours of the first year volunteer activities (during the Master Naturalist Intern period) should be conducted at, or to the benefit of, the site which hosted the Master Naturalist's training. Subsequent service hours during the first year can be performed offsite at the approval of the Program Facilitator.
Volunteer activity requirements for successive years may occur elsewhere but still require the approval of the Program Facilitator. All volunteer hours should be recorded by the volunteer on a personal Volunteer Activity Log sheet and totaled by activity. Planning meetings and events, committee and administrative work, and time spent preparing for activities should also be included and recorded in the Volunteer Activity Log.
What counts as volunteer hours? Any activity that benefits, enhances or educates individuals about Maryland’s natural resources counts as volunteer service hours. An activity that primarily benefits the volunteer (e.g. planting/maintaining a native plant garden in one’s own backyard) will not count as volunteer hours. Only Master Naturalists scheduled to give a presentation may include preparation time as part of volunteer service hours. Travel time can be counted in excess of 30 minutes. Advocacy work cannot be counted as volunteer time.
Suggested examples of volunteer service:
Education/Interpretation, Public Information, etc.:
- Educators at natural areas answering questions and as a resource for visitors
- Educators at teaching stations
- Program assistance at public events, informational/educational booths
- Demonstration site creation, interpretation, and maintenance
- Outreach activities for environmental organizations
- Lead public education/talks to community groups, school groups
- Design, creation or production of communication materials
- Write or edit brochures, fact sheets and other educational material
- Local land stewards
- Public field trips such as nature hikes
- Lead environmental workshops
- Develop audiovisual materials
- Field assistants for species and natural community surveys
- Data collection
- Early Detection/Rapid Response network for invasive species
- Conservation projects such as restoration assistance
- Wetland sampling, classification, and mapping
- Bird banding, census counts of other flora/fauna
- Plant collection and herbarium assistance
- Ecological inventory of public lands
Habitat & Interpretive Facilities Enhancement/Development
- Wetland restoration
- Trail building and maintenance
- Erosion control
- Building boardwalks, observation platforms, kiosks
- Construction and placing of nest boxes
- Organizing stream cleanup
- Weed removal
- Trail maintenance
Administrative Coordination for Master Naturalist Program
- Maintaining volunteer data
- Editing/writing for newsletter
- Clerical work
- Telephone coordination
- Coordinating a local Master Naturalist volunteer training
- Social networking
- Representative on Steering Committee
Advanced training helps volunteers continually refresh and increase their knowledge and understanding of Maryland ecosystems.
To maintain certification status, Master Naturalists must obtain 8 hours of advanced training annually after becoming certified. It is not required while serving as an Intern. The volunteer must report training hours to the local Program Facilitator by the end of each calendar year. It is helpful to report hours as they are accrued. Advanced training provides volunteers an opportunity to focus their interests on specific topics that interest them while also promoting continued learning and development. Experienced Master Naturalists can use advanced training as an opportunity to develop tools with which they can work in more advanced volunteer efforts, possibly with additional responsibilities or leadership roles.
Advanced training should not duplicate any content that has been covered in the initial training. Advanced training opportunities that cover the subject in more depth or from a different perspective must be approved by the local Program Facilitator or the State Program Coordinator.
Advanced training courses may be made available directly through the University of Maryland, Maryland Department of Natural Resources or short courses and workshops provided by universities, community colleges, parks, natural resources organizations, or nature centers. It is recommended that you obtain pre-approval for all trainings to ensure that credit will be awarded. Trainings may also be submitted for credit after the participant has attended, but be aware that they may not be approved. Advanced training hours may not include travel time, but may include meal and break times.
An advanced training should:
- Focus on an aspect of Maryland’s natural or environmental cultural history.
- Be a formal training or class.
- Take place in Maryland.
- Have an outdoor component.
- Be pre-approved by local Program Facilitator if not in compliance with the above specifications.
Unless otherwise approved, watching an educational TV program, movie or video on a natural history subject does not count as advanced training except when viewed during the course of an approved lecture or workshop.
The local Program Facilitators are encouraged to notify Master Naturalists of approved advanced training opportunities that exist locally and statewide. The Master Naturalist website will also be a source for locating advanced training opportunities.
Local Program Facilitators should consider the following questions when developing or approving advanced training opportunities.
How does the Advanced Training opportunity:
- Promote continued learning and development of naturalist skills?
- Provide Master Naturalists with knowledge and skills to work in volunteer efforts?
- Provide Master Naturalists an opportunity to focus their interests in specific topics?
- Build on the core curriculum covered by the initial training?
- Provide natural resource information applicable to Maryland?
- Relate to some aspect of natural history or nature interpretation?
Examples of advanced training will be available on the Master Naturalist Website or from the local Program Facilitator.
Examples that are not Master Naturalist advanced training:
- Watching TV (even if it is a Maryland nature-related show)
- Birding with friends
- Identifying trees at your cabin with family
- Reading a Maryland natural history book
Interviwing/Screening and Selection
Each applicant must:
- Complete an application. This information will help determine suitability of the applicant to the program.
- Participate in an interview
- Review and sign a volunteer agreement
- Review and sign or decline a photo release form for University of Maryland Extension
- Submit to a background check (if required) and have 2 references verified
- Have a volunteer service record on file with the local Program Facilitator
Volunteer selection for the program is managed by the local Program Facilitator. Screening is necessary to ensure selection of persons suited to the program. The interview is conducted by the local Program Facilitator or Certified Master Naturalist volunteer designated by the Program Facilitator. Volunteers may be used in conducting interviews and checking references. To maintain confidentiality, those persons checking references and conducting interviews may be required to sign a separate confidentiality statement.
An interview (formal or informal) must be conducted with each applicant either in person or by phone using a recommended list of questions. Individual interviews are preferable to group interviews. This ensures candid and confidential responses.
- If references or other screening procedures indicate that further clarification of a person’s qualifications is required, fingerprinting may be necessary and at the discretion of the local Program Facilitator.
- Reference checks provide another person’s perception of how well the applicant can work with others. They may also provide additional information about the applicant that could be useful in matching the skills of the volunteer with the service required.
- A reference check may be conducted by phone or by mail using a recommended list of questions. A minimum of 2 references is required.
- The interviewer is required to check the online Maryland Sex Offender Registry at http://www.dpscs.state.md.us/.
All personal information, verbal or written, collected from applicants is to be treated as confidential information. All written applications, interview responses and evaluation information must be kept in a locked file. Only those responsible for supervision of volunteers and reference checking of applicants should have access to confidential information. Volunteer records are kept in separate files in a secured place and are accessible only by trained staff. It is the responsibility of the volunteer to make sure that the contact information on their application and service record are kept current and accurate. This is necessary for liability reasons and for the protection of the volunteer as well as program clientele.
The applicant should be informed by U.S. mail as to the decision of acceptance or non-acceptance. In certain circumstances the applicant can be notified by phone or e-mail. Payment for the volunteer training is required upon acceptance into the program.
Record Keeping and Communications
- Local Program Facilitators are responsible for maintaining contact with all volunteers they train and for coordinating programs with the State Program Coordinator.
- The Maryland Master Naturalist interactive website will be designed to accept class registration, entering and tracking volunteer hours, e-mail reminders, instructors’ communications, and other data sharing and recording.
- Each Trainee will be entered into the State Record Keeping System. This will register the individual in the local and statewide database to ensure they receive mailings from the State Program Coordinator office.
- Traditional communication modes should be made available upon request to the local Program Facilitator, for naturalists who have no access to computers and e-mail.
BENEFITS OF BECOMING A VOLUNTEER
- Opportunity to attend basic and advanced training programs on environmental issues
- Learn new skills
- Meet and work with other people with similar interests
- Gain personal satisfaction from volunteering
- Declare allowable, non-reimbursed, out-of-pocket expenses for income tax purposes
RESPONSIBILITIES OF VOLUNTEERS
- Follow the guidelines and procedures set forth in the Volunteer Manual.
- Be considerate, respect others’ competencies and work as a member of a team with all professional and volunteer staff.
- Accept assignments within the volunteer’s comfort level and that are compatible with personal interests and skills.
- Keep an accurate record of advanced training and submit this log on a regular basis to the local Program Facilitator.
- University of Maryland Extension is required by federal and state law and institutional policy to ensure that all programs and services are available to all residents. Therefore, it is very important that volunteers complete their volunteer log forms on a regular basis, including client contact numbers and race and gender information for clientele contacts.
- Participant contact data is to be collected in a discrete manner. In activities with large attendance such as talks and seminars, make the best estimate. Identify participants as “unknown” (U) when in doubt as to race or ethnicity. When more than one is involved in an event, please take care that all contacts are accounted for, and that the contact numbers are not duplicated on the logs of individual Master Naturalists.
- Attend regularly scheduled Chapter meetings and actively participate whenever possible.
- Help new volunteers feel accepted.
- Provide Program Facilitators with the necessary training and materials to carry out Maryland Master Naturalist Volunteer Training programs.
- Promote program activities and events through state and county newsletters and websites.
- Provide feedback to help improve trainings.
- Identify self as a Maryland Master Naturalist Volunteer when participating in events. Always wear a name badge.
- Do not endorse brand name products or recommend a particular company.
A Master Naturalist may be asked to make presentations for special events, fairs and festivals conducted by individual businesses. Businesses may offer honoraria to the Master Naturalist programs for specific services. This type of activity is permitted as long as the following criteria are met:
- Limited to a single event, or well-defined series of special events.
- Does not overwhelm volunteer resources or reduce effectiveness of other activities.
- Will further the educational goals of the program.
- Made available to other similar businesses to avoid the appearance of partiality.
- The presence is advertised and promoted prior to the event.
- The identity and affiliation of the Master Naturalist is clear and unmistakable. Master Naturalists will be given a separate designated area to educate customers to help maintain our reputation for impartiality and objectivity.
- See section below, accepting money.
- Only active, Certified Master Naturalists can use the title “Maryland Master Naturalist.”
- A Master Naturalist cannot lend his or her name and title to promote or advertise a private business (e.g. wearing a Master Naturalist name tag while working for a business as a paid employee). An implied association with or endorsement of a commercial product or business is improper and grounds for dismissal from the program.
- Master Naturalists can present their title and qualifications as Master Naturalist Volunteers on job applications.
- Master Naturalists are expected to identify themselves as such only when doing unpaid public service work under the auspices of the program. Volunteers are advised not to advertise their place of businesses that they own or where they are employed. Because the program is a source of unbiased, research-based information, the following are considered inappropriate: appearing at a commercial activity, having association with commercial products, or giving implied University endorsement of any product or place of business.
- When asked to make presentations to groups, Master Naturalists may accept honorariums which are used to support Master Naturalist goals and activities and must be given to the local Program Facilitator for program use. Under no circumstance should volunteers accept money or gifts for themselves for services provided while acting as a Master Naturalist.
- Ask for permission and give proper credit to information sources used in articles for Master Naturalist newsletters and other print media.
- Articles for local newspapers or electronic media, Master Naturalist newsletters and other materials developed by volunteers must be reviewed and approved by the local Program Facilitator or State Program Coordinator prior to distribution or release.
- All educational materials purchased with program funds or developed for training or projects, or used by Master Naturalists (e.g. slides, photography, Power Point presentations, tools, herbarium mounts, books) are the exclusive property of the Master Naturalist Program.
Educational efforts are often furthered through cooperative programs with other groups. Formal partnerships or agreements must be approved by the State Program Coordinator.