Montana Master Naturalist Program
The Montana Master Naturalist Program is designed for adults who want to stoke their curiosity and deepen their knowledge of the natural world. We offer a range of programs to fit the needs of a diverse community, but all the classes share a common goal of providing participants with the skills to interpret the Montana landscape. The core class is the Master Naturalist Certification course, which we offer in spring, summer, and fall, in slightly different formats. But we also offer focused, intensive field weekends, and, new in 2013, field days on additional topics.
Master Naturalist Certification Courses:
Our certification courses consist of at least 40 hours of instruction in a mix of lectures, in-class labs, and outdoor field trips. We’ll cover a wide breadth of topics (which might include birds, mammals, insects, trees and shrubs, flowers and more), but the goal will be the same across all the topics–-to give you an essential foundation of skill and knowledge on which you can build.
Each course has its own, specific set of goals for you to accomplish, and if you meet them successfully, you’ll earn your Montana Master Naturalist Certification and pin. If you want to maintain your certification in years to come (and earn successive Master Naturalist pins), you’ll have to log 40 hours of volunteer service/year with organizations connected with the natural world.
For more information on volunteer service requirements, click HERE.
Spring Certification Course 2014 — REGISTRATION OPEN NOVEMBER 1st.
Taught by MNHC Naturalist Brian Williams, this is a twelve-week course held on Tuesday evenings from 4-7pm, beginning February 4th and running until May 6th. Additionally, there are three full-day Saturday field trips on February 22nd, March 8th, and April 12th.
Our topics of study will likely include: nature journaling, conifers, flower families, mammal skulls and tracks, birds, insect orders, and fish, with substantial time spent on labs and in the field. Guest instructors will include botanists Greg Peters and Peter Lesica, naturalists extraordinaire Charles Miller and Valerie Bayer, and track expert Adam Lieberg.
The core project for this class is a nature journal, which you’ll be expected to work in, on your own time, for about 3 hours each week. This is the place where you’ll practice and solidify the skills you’re learning in class. It’s also a project that many, many Master Naturalists have completed with pride and skill–thus making it not only a tool of education, but a fine, valuable record of a specific spring in western Montana.
We’ll use a variety of field guides for this class, but we’ll have copies of those on hand. If you are taking the course for university credit, you’ll be expected to write response papers to articles by Aldo Leopold, David Orr, and Erick Greene.
*The cost of this course is $395. Full payment due upon registration. The course fee (minus a $100 administrative fee) is refundable ONLY if a cancellation is made 30 days before the first day of class. No refunds will be issued for cancellations made after this deadline.
*Please call 406.327.0405 during office hours to register.
*3 college credits available (pending approval); this course is listed as ENST 391.
*Some scholarships are available–please contact us at 327.0405 for details.
Summer Certification Course 2014 – REGISTRATION OPEN IN JANUARY.
Taught by MNHC Naturalist Brian Williams, this is a five-day intensive course. This class will meet at our classroom at the Native Plant Garden at Fort Missoula.
Because this version of the class is compressed into a short window of time, we won’t cover the same breadth of material as the spring class, but instead delve deeper into a more limited range of topics. This class also differs slightly from the spring course because we’ll take full advantage of the early summer season and spend most of our time afield, supplementing that with a couple of lectures and labs to deepen our knowledge. Our focus will be on learning the core skills of identification in three areas: 1) flowers and trees, 2) birds, and 3) insects. In the past, guest instructors have included Annie Garde, Valerie Bayer, and Charles Miller.
The main project for this class is keeping a detailed species list, and to get the most out of your experience, you should expect to spend a little time each evening after class, and some time over the weekend, reviewing and organizing your daily notes, and tracking your observations.
There are no required books. We’ll use a variety of field guides, but we’ll have copies of those on hand.
Our field weekends offer the chance to intensively study specific topics. We’ve offered courses on birds and flowering plants in the past, but this year we’re exploring a few new ideas.
Botanical Illustration Weekend: November 9-10, 2013
Have you been looking for ways to improve your journaling skills? Would you like to be able to draw plants in the field and identify them back home from your drawings? In this brand-new Master Naturalist weekend offering, Nancy Seiler will show you how to break down the steps of drawing plants. This is an introductory class in which we will work from live specimens or dried botanical subjects over the course of two days. We will do a lot of practice drawings as well as working in our journals.
• Dates: Saturday & Sunday November 9-10
• Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm
• Place: Montana Natural History Center
• Cost: $120 for members; $135 for non-members. Call 327.0405 during business hours to register. Class size limited to 12.
• Journal – bring what you have or buy one, I like at least 5″ x 7″ up to 9″ x 12″; (Nancy’s note: I use a Moleskine watercolor weight, pricey but is good for water media)
• Black Micron ink pens in .005 and .02 (or any water resistant black pens you may have)
• Pilot Razor point pen in black (this is water soluble)
• Niji water brush with pointed tip (this is a brush that has a water reservoir) or watercolor brush
• Pencil Sharpener (MNHC can provide)
• Magnifying Glass or Loupe (MNHC can provide)
• Watercolor pencils or watercolors – set of 12 (MNHC can provide)
• Camera or camera phone
More information on upcoming weekends to be announced. Stay tuned!
Naturalist Field Days
In the tradition of our high-quality Master Naturalist Courses, Field Days pair expert instructors with hands-on field experiences for truly engaging learning opportunities. Geared toward the Master Naturalist, student, and curious outdoor explorer, our program content develops key naturalist skills.
Take all six Field Days for extensive study of our local environment throughout the year, or choose topics on a one-by-one basis.
2014 Schedule Coming Soon!
Please call 327-0405 to register. Space is limited. Full payment is due upon registration.
- Individual Class price is $80/ $70 MNHC members. Some scholarships are available; please call for details.
- 6 Class Pack price is $280. Class pack holders must still sign up for each individual class to hold their place. The 6 pack is good for any 6 classes and does not have an expiration date.
- 5 OPI credits available per course