Spring Master Naturalist Course


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 with the goal of giving you an essential foundation of skill and knowledge on which you can build.

Spring Certification Course 2020

Tuesdays, February 4th – May 5th, 2020

This course is sold out. Please visit the link below to be added to the wait list.


Taught by MNHC Naturalist Christine Morris, this class:

  • is a 13-week course
  • runs on Tuesdays from 4:00-7:00 pm (no class March 17th, the week of UM’s spring break)
  • includes 3 full-day Saturday field trips, on February 22, April 4, and May 2

See our local forests in new light as you learn about the role our conifers play in a coordinated ecology with fire and snow pack moisture. Or marvel in the diversity of lichen. Spend an entire day identifying winter raptors in the Mission valley. Become attuned to bird songs and butterfly wings. Get a handle on flower identification by recognizing patterns in form.Our emphasis will be on learning how to identify local flora, fauna, and landscape processes while gaining insight on how each part is connected.

Throughout the course you will put together understanding of the various strands of our western Montana ecology and gain proficiency in a suite of naturalist skills.

View the course syllabus here (some elements subject to change)

Knowledgeable guest instructors include botanists Greg Peters and Peter Lesica, birder Brian Williams, retired FWP non-game biologist Kristi Dubois, and track expert Luke Lamar with Swan Valley Connections.

The class will be be based at the Montana Natural History Center. Travel to field sites will be by MNHC bus.

Registration Information:

  • Cost: $425/$395 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.
  • 3 UM credits available (pending approval). This course is listed at UM ENST 391. A $155 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.

Master Naturalist Certification requirements:

  • Attend at least 40 hours of instruction.
  • Pass/complete section quizzes, journal entries, and a final project.

If you want to maintain your certification in years to come (and earn successive Master Naturalist pins), you’ll have to log 20 hours of volunteer service per year with organizations connected with the natural world, as well as 8 hours of continuing education per year.

For more information on volunteer service & continuing education requirements, click HERE.