Montana Master Naturalist Program & Naturalist Field Days

Montana Master Naturalist Program

Overview

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 and summer in slightly different formats. We also offer focused, intensive field weekends, and 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.

For a listing of Master Naturalist courses outside of Missoula, click HERE.

Spring Certification Course 2016 — Dates February 2- May 3 (Class is full. Wait-list only. Please see our summer dates below. We hope to see you then!)

  • Tuesdays, 4:00-7:00 pm (week off during UM’s spring break)
  • 3 full day Saturday Field Trips, Feb. 20, March 5, April 2nd

Taught by MNHC Naturalist Christine Morris, this is a twelve-week course held one evening a week from 4-7 p.m., beginning in early February and running through early May (with a week off during UM’s spring break). Additionally, there are three full-day Saturday field trips. 

Our topics of study will likely include: nature journaling, conifers, flower families, mammal skulls and tracks, birds, insect orders, and geology, with substantial time spent on labs and in the field. Guest instructors will include botanists Greg Peters and Peter Lesica, birder Brian Williams, naturalists extraordinaire Charles Miller and Valerie Bayer, and track expert Adam Lieberg.

Registration Information:

*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.

*3 college credits available; this course is listed as UM ENST 391. A $100 fee is required to the School of Extended and Lifelong Learning to take the class for credit. Payment and information will be collected at the first class.

*Some scholarships are available–please contact us at 327.0405 for details.

Summer Certification Course 2016 — June 15-17 & 20-21.

  • Wednesday-Friday & Monday-Tuesday, 8:00-4:00 pm

Taught by MNHC Naturalist Christine Morris, this is a five-day intensive course held near the end of June.

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 may include Annie Garde, Brian Williams, Charles Miller, and Valerie Bayer.

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.

Registration Information:

*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.

*2 college credits available (pending approval); this course is listed as ENST 391.

*Some scholarships are available–please contact us at 327.0405 for details.

Naturalist Field Days

DSCF6625In 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 four Field Days for extensive study of our local environment throughout the year, or choose topics on a one-by-one basis.

2016 Schedule

  • Saturday, May 21 – Lichens with Tim Wheeler
  • Botany with Peter Lesica, Topic and Date TBA
  • Butterflies with Brian Williams, Date TBA
  • Saturday, August 6- Nature Journaling with Nancy Seiler
  • Friday, September 16- Sunday, September 19- Dinosaur Dig with the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center

Please check back for more details.

Registration Information:

  • Dates: Saturdays.
  • Time: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
  • Place: meet at the Montana Natural History Center, 120 Hickory St.  We will travel to field sites in the MNHC bus.
  • Cost: Individual Class price is $80/ $70 MNHC members unless otherwise noted.
  • Some scholarships are available; please call for details. 
  • 5 OPI credits available per course

Please call 327-0405 to register. Space is limited. Full payment is due upon registration.