Summer 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. MNHC will only be hosting one Summer Master Naturalist Course in 2023, it will take place in June. This session will focus on topics best studied at that time of the summer. We will spent our time focusing on flowering plants and birds.

Summer (June) 2024 Master Naturalist Certification Course

MONDAY, June 3, to FRIDAY, June 7, 2023


This is a five-day intensive course held in the summer each year. Class meets from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day.

This class is compressed into a short window of time so we will delve deeply into three subjects. Our focus will be on learning the core skills of identification of:  1) flowers, shrubs and trees, 2) birds, and 3) insects. Instruction will also include time on local geology, mammals, fire ecology, and riparian ecology.


Christine Morris, Community Programs Coordinator and naturalist. Christine teaches the spring and fall Montana Master Naturalist courses, the Certified Interpretive Guide course, and coordinates adult programs and lectures.

Guest instructors may include Elena Ulev, naturalist, and Geoff Farinholt, BLM.

We’ll take full advantage of the summer season and spend most of our time afield. We will spend time in the cottonwood galleries of the river’s floodplain and venture to the conifer forest in Pattee Canyon. Get a handle on plant identification by recognizing patterns in form, catch and identify butterflies along the Clark Fork River, and recognize birds by song and sight.

“After completing this course, I felt much more closely connected to my Montana home, but the best part is being able to share my new naturalist skills with others so they can find their sense of place as well.”  ~2017 Master Naturalist

Master Naturalist Certification Requirements:

  • The main project for this class is keeping a detailed naturalist handbook with species list. To get the most out of your experience, you should expect to spend a little time in the afternoon reviewing and organizing your daily notes, and tracking your observations.
  • Full attendance.
  • Complete the culminating exercise.

Please Note:
This is a university-level class. A significant amount of information is covered in 5 days. It is fun!—but also work to be proud of and take seriously.

Sample June Itinerary: Monday (flowering plants at Pattee Canyon), Tuesday (birds at Lee Metcalf), Wednesday (conifers and ecology at Lolo pass), Thursday (Insects at Greenough Park), Friday (Final exercise).


  • Cost: $425 for members; $450 for non-members
  • We are able to offer some scholarships. Please contact us at 406.327.0405 for details.
  • 2 University of Montana 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.
  • 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. Exceptions will be made for air quality due to wildfires. Read our full cancellation/refund policy.
  • REGISTER HERE for the Summer (June) 2024 Montana Master Naturalist Course.