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Fall 2024 Online Master Naturalist Course

April 15, 2025 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

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Are you a self-directed, curious learner, eager to explore your natural surroundings? Our immersive online certification course will help you develop naturalist skills and a deeper understanding of the natural world through a blend of live online classes, recorded lectures, guided independent study, and an in-person field weekend.

Fall Online Certification Course 2024

Tuesdays, September 3rd – November 19, 2024
10:00 a.m.-noon MDT

Field Weekend, September 21-22

Engage with the course anytime, anywhere. The online format can fit your schedule. Though attending the field weekend and live online classes is highly encouraged, they will be recorded and supplemental material can be provided. This class works best for independent learners who can complete activities outside of the traditional classroom format. Your instructors will be available throughout the course for one-on-one guidance and mentorship.


Taught by MNHC Naturalist Christine Morris, this class includes:

  • a live Zoom or recorded lecture once per week for 12 weeks. 6 classes are live, 6 are recorded lectures.
  • weekly assignments
  • in-person weekend field experience in Missoula on September 21-22
  • course workbook
  • an online classroom platform to engage with instructors and fellow students throughout the course

We’ll cover a wide breadth of topics with the goal of giving you a foundation of naturalist skills and knowledge on which you can build. Learn how to identify common birds, plants, butterflies, insects, mammal tracks, and more. From landscape processes to lichen we will look at specific details and how each part contributes to the greater ecology.

Knowledgeable guest instructors include Missoula College instructor and botanist Greg Peters, botanist and author Peter Lesica, MNHC communications coordinator Allison De Jong, BLM Fuels Geoff Farinholt, artist and naturalist Jenah Mead, and Philip L. Wright Zoological Museum Curator Angela Hornsby.

View the course syllabus (some elements may be subject to change)

Upon course completion, students:

  • Will receive a Master Naturalist certificate and pin
  • Be a part of an engaged and curious Master Naturalist community
  • Have the knowledge and skills to perform environmental stewardship

To complete this certification course, students are expected to attend classes/view recorded lectures, complete weekly self-guided study assignments, keep a nature journal, and complete a final class project.

Plan on putting in about 5-6 hours per week including class time, independent study assignments, nature journaling, and final assignment.

Master Naturalist Certification is maintained by completing 20 hours of volunteer service and 8 hours of continuing education each year. You will receive a new pin each year you certify!

Recommended Materials:

  • binoculars
  • hand lens or loupe
  • blank journal (required)
  • micron or small sharpie pen
  • colored pencils or watercolor pencils
  • bird guide such as Sibley’s Field Guide to Birds of Western North America
  • Botany in a Day by Thomas J. Elpel
  • plant/flower guide such as Plants of the Rocky Mountains or Wildflowers of Montana (depending on what you can find in print)

Registration Information:

  • Cost: $355/$325 members
  • 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. Read our full refund/cancellation policy.
  • Some scholarships are available! Please contact cmorris@montananaturalist.or for more information