Master Naturalist Program

The Delaware Master Naturalist Program trains citizens as ambassadors and stewards of Delaware’s natural resources and ecosystems through science-based education and volunteer opportunities.


UD launches certification program to train Delawareans as nature’s stewards. Read the story on UDailY >

About the Delaware Master Naturalist Program


Become a certified Delaware Master Naturalist and provide a continuing commitment to nature!  The Delaware Master Naturalist Program is a science-based natural resource training program jointly coordinated by University of Delaware Cooperative Extension and Delaware Nature Society.

The program will provide a foundation for trainees to become naturalists and upon completion of initial training, Master Naturalists will give back to Delaware’s natural world with volunteer services to include education and outreach, service projects, and citizen science. See the "Trainee Recruitment" section below for information on the current trainee class and upcoming opportunities.

about the Delaware Master Naturalist Program (PDF)

Class IV of Delaware Master Naturalists begins in January of 2022!

Registration Through Local Organizing Partners (LOP) is now open. Contact an LOP.


  • Cost is $285 per trainee and will include a Delaware Master Naturalist Handbook (Background checks required, check with LOPs for more details)

  • Class Schedule (Zoom) Wednesdays from 5:30pm-8:30pm 
    • 1/26/2022 Human Impact on the Environment and Plant Communities/Habitats of Delaware 
    • 2/2/2022 Climate and Weather; Naturalist Resources 
    • 2/9/2022 Field Sketching and Mammals 
    • 2/16/2022 Plant ID and Taxonomy and Invasive Plants 
    • 3/2/2022 Watersheds and Aquatic Life 3/8/2022 (Tuesday) Herpetology 
    • 3/16/2022 Sustainable Landscapes and Citizen Science 
    • 3/30/2022 Entomology and Ornithology
  • Field Trips Saturdays 
    • TBD Between April and October 2022

For more information contact: Blake Moore,

Current program members may access their training materials online via Google Drive. You do not need to have a Google or UD account to access, only the password provided by your program leader. Click the button labelled with your class number and season, to login.

Class I (SPRING 2020) Training MaterialS >


Class III (Spring 2021) Training Materials >

Delaware is a state of “small wonders” with lots to see, do, learn and enjoy!  Becoming a Certified Delaware Master Naturalist volunteer is an exciting way to explore our beautiful state and to help preserve its environmental wealth.  The idea of a Delaware Master Naturalist Program took shape in Fall of 2018. In Spring of 2019, under the collaborative direction of University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, the Delaware Nature Society and guided by a State Steering Committee, the program’s framework was created. By spring, 2020, the pilot Master Naturalist volunteer training program will be conducted by Delaware Nature Society at the Ashland Nature Center!

What is an LOP?


A Local Organizing Partner (LOP) is an environmental organization (nonprofit, government, etc) that agrees to provide volunteer opportunities for Delaware Master Naturalists. The LOP works closely with trained Master Naturalists to coordinate and execute Master Naturalist volunteer projects, recruit volunteers into the program, and work with other organizations to maximize the Delaware Master Naturalist mission. 

There is no cost to register as a LOP. Once accepted to the program, LOPs will receive a Local Organizing Partner Resource Manual.


Program Benefits


There are many benefits to becoming an LOP, including access to trained volunteers that can help accomplish and expand your mission. These volunteers can lead efforts, initiate service projects, gather research data and recruit additional volunteers, all while requiring limited supervision. 

As an LOP, you can...

  • receive support from the statewide program;
  • advertise volunteer opportunities on Delaware Master Naturalist website;
  • reach a wider group of stakeholders through the DMN Network;
  • gain access to volunteer management system to track volunteer hours (easy to use and extract data from); and
  • connect with interested individuals via the State Program Coordinator.

Additional program details >>


Register NOW >>

What is an LOP?

A Local Organizing Partner (LOP) is an environmental organization (nonprofit, government, etc) that agrees to provide volunteer opportunities for Delaware Master Naturalists. The LOP works closely with trained Master Naturalists to coordinate and execute Master Naturalist volunteer projects, recruit volunteers into the program, and work with other organizations to maximize the Delaware Master Naturalist mission.


The following organizations are participating LOPs for the Delaware Master Naturalist Program.


  • Delaware Botanic Gardens
    • Contact: Bill McAvoy,
    • Volunteer Service Activities for Delaware Master Naturalists:
      • Citizen Science: Grassland and Woodland Bird Surveys, Reptile and Amphibian Surveys, Pepper Creek Water Quality Surveys, Native Plant Surveys and Monitoring, Tree Measuring Surveys.
      • Stewardship: Garden Steward Program, Woodlands Walkways Maintenance, Living Shoreline Surveys & Maintenance.
      • Environmental Education & Outreach: Docent Program, Nature Photography, Nature Tour Guides.
      • Special Projects: Specific Garden Surveys and Renovation Projects in developing gardens.
    • About: The Delaware Botanic Gardens (DBG) is one of America's newest public gardens. DBG was opened in 2019 and is still under development. It is located on a 37-acre natural area with 1,000 feet of shoreline on Pepper Creek in Dagsboro, DE. There are several garden areas and 12-acres of natural woodlands with two miles of winding trails. The main garden is the 2-acre Meadow Garden with over 70,000 native plants and grasses designed by Dutch plantsman Piet Ouldof. The other gardens include: the Learning Garden with wetland outdoor classroom; the Inland Dunes Gardens; the Folly Garden; East Woodland Edge Garden, Knoll Garden, Learning Nest Garden and the Living Shoreline and Observation Deck Project at Pepper Creek. This is rare chance to volunteer and be a part of a new public garden in the early developmental stages.


  • Delaware Center for the Inland Bays
    • Contact: Nivette Pérez-Pérez,, 302-226-8105 ext 109
    • Volunteer Service Activities for Delaware Master Naturalists: 
      • Citizen Science: Horseshoe crab, terrapin, fish and blue crab surveys.
      • Stewardship: James Farm Ecological Preserve maintenance, litter clean-up, invasive plant control, grass cutting, and others.
      • Education and Outreach: James Farm docent program, tabling events, public programs, and nature tours.
      • Others: Reforestation events, nature photography, and specific project work.
    • The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays (Center) is a nonprofit organization established in 1994 by the Inland Bays Watershed Enhancement Act. The Center promotes the wise use and enhancement of the Inland Bays watershed by conducting public outreach and education, developing and implementing restoration projects, encouraging scientific inquiry, sponsoring needed research, and establishing a long-term process for the protection and preservation of the watershed. The Center's mission is to preserve, protect, and restore Delaware’s Inland Bays and their watershed through the implementation of the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for Delaware’s Inland Bays. The Center achieves this through the dedicated work of staff, partners, and volunteers in the areas of education, outreach, science and research, restoration, and public policy. 



  • Delaware Wild Lands 
    • Contact: Brigham Whitman,, 302-378-2736 
    • Volunteer Service Activities for Delaware Master Naturalists: Stewardship (invasive plant control, trash pickup), Citizen Science (bird nest box monitoring, horseshoe crab surveys), Education and Outreach (tabling events).


  • Trustees of New Castle Common/The Hermitage
    • Contact: Jim Sidlowski,
    • Volunteer Service Activities for Delaware Master Naturalists: Stewardship (Restoration of Property), Citizen Science Program (Plant Surveys), and Engagement (Participate in events working with the community).
    • About: The Trustees of The New Castle Common is a non-profit organization incorporated in 1764 and reincorporated by the Delaware Assembly in 1792. Its purpose is to preserve and protect the historic Common lands for the use and benefit of the inhabitants of the town of New Castle. Income is derived primarily from property rentals and investments.

      The Trustees own about 640 acres, including a farm (100 acres), riverfront parks, meadows and buffer areas around residential areas, shopping centers and a 250 acre area of marsh and forest north of town. The Hermitage Natural Area (100 acres) within this latter area is the primary location where Delaware Master Naturalist will work. This area contains a large lightly managed 2nd growth forest (last farmed c1950), a large marsh area (currently used only for observation, study and great birdwatching) and a native grass/wildflower meadow under active restoration by invasive removal and native plant replanting.

      The Trustees are looking for prospective Delaware Master Naturalists who are interested in helping with restoration and removal of invasive aliens. The current focus will be with engagement with the community, continued restoration on the meadow and woods, and citizen science program. In the off-season Delaware Master Naturalists would work on cutting vines, identifying and tagging desirable plants in the forest and overgrown areas, refreshing nature trails, and engaging in events relating to community involvement, such as Volunteer Days and Nature Walks.


  • University of Delaware Cooperative Extension 
    • Contact: Blake Moore,, 302-730-4000
    • Volunteer Service Activities for Delaware Master Naturalists: Education, Outreach and Stewardship


  • White Clay Creek State Park
    • Contact: Aya Pickett, 
    • Volunteer Service Activities for Delaware Master Naturalists: A few ideas we have for projects include: planting/ fostering pollinator gardens, restoring meadows, and removing invasive plant species. We are also open to developing projects with Master Naturalists depending on their interests.


  • Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
    • Contact: Janice Crawford,, 302-888-4616
    • Volunteer Service Activities for Delaware Master Naturalists: Stewardship (invasive plant control, trail maintenance, litter clean-up), Citizen Science, Education and Outreach, and Nature Photography


Naturalists throughout the world have contributed many readings and resources to help others build their knowledge base about the natural world. Our experts and LOPs would like to share some of these to help promote conversations and continued learning.


Delaware Wild Lands Book List

Submitted by Brenna Ness, Director of Conservation Programs DWL


Naturalist Resources

Submitted by Joe Sebastiani, Ashland Nature Center Manager, DNS

  • Aquatic Ecosystems

    • Between Ocean and Bay, Jane Scott, 1991, ISBN 0-87033-412-3

    • A Golden Guide – Pond Life, George K. Reid, Ph.D., 1987, ISBN 0-307-24017-7

    • A Guide to Common Freshwater Invertebrates of North America, J. Reese Voshell, Jr., 2002, ISBN 0-939923-87-4

  • Insects

    • Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Eric R. Eaton and Kenn Kaufman, 2007, ISBN 0-618-15310-1

    • Kaufman Focus Guides – Butterflies of North America, Jim P. Brock & Kenn Kaufman, 2003, ISBN 0-618-15312-8

    • Butterflies through Binoculars – The East, Jeffrey Glassberg, 1999, ISBN 0-19-510668-7

    • Stokes Nature Guides – A Guide to Observing Insect Lives, Donald Stokes, 1983, ISBN 0-316-81724-9

  • Terrestrial Ecosystems

    • Field Guide to the Piedmont, Michael A. Godfrey, 1997, ISBN 978-0-8078-4671-1

    • Peterson Field Guides – Eastern Forests, John Kricher and Gordon Morrison, 1988, ISBN 0-395-92895-8

  • Mammals

    • Mammals of North America, Roland W. Kays and Don E. Wilson, 2002, ISBN13: 978-0-691-07012-4

    • Peterson Field Guides - Mammals, William H. Burt and Richard P. Grossenheider, 1976, ISBN 0-395-91098-6

    • Peterson Field Guides – A Field Guide to Animal Tracks, Olaus J. Murie, 1974, ISBN 0-395-18323-5

    • Stokes Nature Guides – A Guide To Animal Tracking and Behavior, Donald and Lillian Stokes, 1986, ISBN 0-316-81734-1

    • Mammals of the Eastern United States, John O. Whitaker, Jr., and William J. Hamilton, Jr., 1998, ISBN 0-8014-3475-0

  • Trees and Shrubs

    • Peterson Field Guides – A Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs: Northeastern and Northcentral United States and Southcentral Canada, George A. Petrides, 1973, ISBN-10: 039535370X

    • A Field Guide to Trees, David Allen Sibley, 2009,
      ISBN-13: 9780375415197

    • Peterson Field Guides – Eastern Trees, George A. Petrides, 1988, ISBN 0-395-46732-2

    • Golden Books – A Guide to Field Identification: Trees of North America, C. Frank Brockman, 1986, ISBN 0-307-13658-2

    • The Flora of Delaware: an annotated checklist, William A. McAvoy & Karen A. Bennett, 2001, DNREC document number 40-05/01/01/01

  • Birds

    • Birds of Delaware, Gene K. Hess, et. al., 2000, ISBN 0-8229-4069-8

    • Peterson Field Guides – Eastern Birds, Roger Tory Peterson, 1980, ISBN 0-395-26619-X

    • The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America, David Allen Sibley, 2003, ISBN 0-679-45120-X

    • Merlin phone app by Cornell Lab of Ornithology

  • Reptiles and Amphibians

    • Amphibians and Reptiles of Delmarva, James F. White, Jr. and Amy Wendt White, 2002, ISBN 0-87033-543-X

    • Stokes Nature Guides – A Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles, Thomas F. Tyning, 1990, ISBN 0-316-81713-9

    • Peterson Field Guides – A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern and Central North America, Roger Conant and Joseph T. Collins, 1998, ISBN 0395904528

  • Wildflowers

    • Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, Lawrence Newcomb, 1977

    • Peterson Field Guides – Wildflowers: Northeastern/Northcentral North America, Roger Tory Peterson and Margaret McKenny, 1968, ISBN 0-395-18325-1

    • Stokes Nature Guides – A Guide to Enjoying Wildflowers, Donald and Lillian Stokes, ISBN-13: 978-0316817318

    • Sarver, M.J., A. Treher, L. Wilson, R. Naczi, and F.B. Kuehn, 2008. Mistaken Identity? Invasive Plants and their Native Look-alikes: an Identification Guide for the Mid-Atlantic. Dover, DE: Delaware Department of Agriculture and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

  • Coastal Ecosystems

    • National Audubon Society Nature Guides - Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, William and Stephen Amos, 1998, ISBN 0-394-73109-3

    • Peterson Field Guides – Atlantic Seashore, Kenneth L. Gosner, 1978, ISBN 0-395-31828-9

    • Life in the Chesapeake Bay, Alice Jane and Robert L. Lippson, 0-8018-5476-8

    • Chesapeake Bay: A Field Guide, Christopher White and Karen Teramura, ISBN 0-87033-351-8

  • Apps for use in the Field

    • eBird

    • iNaturalist (required)

    • Herpmapper


Books for Bees, Pollinators and Beneficial Insects

Submitted by Faith Kuehn, Planting Hope

  • Droege, Sam and Laurence Packer.  2015.  Bees. An Up-Close Look at Pollinators Around the World.  Voyageur Press, Minneapolis, MN.  160 pp.

  • Eaton, Eric R. and Kenn Kaufman.  Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. 2007. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, NY. 391 pp.

  • Eierman, Kim. The Pollinator Victory Garden. Win the War on Pollinator Decline with Ecological Gardening. 2020. Quarto Publishing Group USA, Beverly, MA. 160 pp.

  • Eiseman, Charley and Noah Charney.  2010.  Tracks and Signs of Insects and other Invertebrates.  A Guide to North American Species.  Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA. 582 pp.

  • Gardiner, Mary M. 2015.  Good Garden Bugs.  Everything Your Need to Know About Beneficial Predatory Insects.  Quarry Books, Beverly, MA. 176 pp.

  • Grissell, Eric.  2010. Bees, Wasps, and Ants. The Indispensable Role of Hymenoptera in Gardens.  Timber Press, Portland, OR.  335 pp.

  • Halpern, Sue. 2001. Four Wings and a Prayer.  Caught in the Mystery of the Monarch Butterfly. Weidenfeld & Nicolson.  288 pp.

  • Holm, Heather.  2014. Pollinators of Native Plants.  Attract, Observe and Identify Pollinators and Beneficial Insects with Native Plants.  Pollination Press LLC, Minnetonka, MN.  305 pp.

  • Holm, Heather. 2017. Bees – An Identification and Native Plant Forage Guide. Includes Tree, Shrub, and Perennial Plant Profiles for the Midwest, Great Lakes, and Northeast Regions. Pollination Press LLC, Minnetonka, MN. 224 pp.

  • Mader, Eric, Matthew Shepherd, et. Al.  2011.  Attracting Native Pollinators. Protecting North America’sBees and Butterflies. The Xerces Society Guide. Storey Publishing, North Adams, MA.  371 pp.

  • Schmidt, Justin O.  2016. The Sting of the Wild. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD.  280 pp.

  • Wagner, David L.  2005.  Caterpillars of Eastern North America.  Princeton Field Guide, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.  512 pp.

  • Wilson, Joseph S. and Olivia Messinger Carril.  2015.  The Bees in Your Backyard. A Guide to North America’s Bees.  Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.  288 pp.

Volunteer Opportunities
for Master Naturalists

Program contact

Headshot for Blake Moore
Blake Moore
Extension Agent - Natural Resources