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.

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MASTER NATURALISTS

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 III Announcement
 

Good day from the Delaware Master Naturalist Program!

It is my pleasure to announce that we are offering a Delaware Master Naturalist core training starting Jan. 20, 2021! We are going to conduct the classroom portions of this training virtually and will have 25 trainee slots PER COUNTY! All trainees will attend the virtual training together, however, each county will have their own set of field trips sometime in the spring (March-May). Field trips will be on weekends and are TBD. Please see the draft course details and schedule below.

Each individual MUST apply through a participating Local Organizing Partner (LOP). Background checks are required, please check with your LOP to see what options there are to attain one. Registration is a one time fee of $285.00 which includes a copy of The Delaware Naturalist Handbook.

Below are the organizations who are still in need of volunteers(contact information can be found on the website under the Participating Organizations tab below):

 

New Castle County:

  • The Hermitage
  • Delaware Nature Society - Ashland Nature Center
  • Delaware Wild Lands


Kent County:

  • Delaware Wild Lands
  • University of Delaware Cooperative Extension (Paradee)


Sussex County:

  • University of Delaware Cooperative Extension
  • Delaware Nature Society Abbotts Mill Nature Center
  • Delaware Center for the Inland Bays


There are a few other LOPs recruiting for this class but already have waiting lists at their organizations. Please do not hesitate to develop a relationship with a LOP today and get on their list!!

Please contact me, Blake Moore, with any questions or concerns: rbmoore@udel.edu. Thank you and we look forward to growing the Delaware Master Naturalist team!!


 

Core Training Class III Schedule
 

Wednesday January 20th, 2021 5:30pm – 8:30pm

  • Human Impact on the Environment – Mckay Jenkins, University of Delaware
  • Upland Habitats – Bill McAvoy, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control

 

Wednesday January 27th, 2021 5:30pm – 8:30pm

  • Field Sketching and the Nature Journal – Susan Barton University of Delaware and Joe Sebastiani Delaware Nature Society
  • Mammals – Instructor TBD

 

Wednesday February 3rd, 2021 5:30pm – 8:30pm

  • Plant ID and Taxonomy – Susan Barton University of Delaware
  • Introduced Invasive Plants – Joe Sebatiani Delaware Nature Society

 

Wednesday February 10th, 2021 5:30pm – 8:30pm

  • Weather and Climate – Jennifer Volk – University of Delaware Cooperative Extension
  • Using a Taxonomic Key – Joe Sebastiani Delaware Nature Society

 

Wednesday February 17th, 2021 5:30pm – 8:30pm

  • Watersheds – Jerry Kaufman University of Delaware
  • Aquatic Life – Kristen Travers

 

Wednesday February 24th, 2021 5:30pm – 8:30pm

  • Herpetology – Jim White Delaware Nature Society

 

Wednesday March 10th, 2021 5:30pm – 8:30pm

  • Sustainable Landscapes – Susan Barton University of Delaware
  • Citizen Science Platforms – Joe Sebastiani Delaware Nature Society

 

Thursday March 18th, 2021 5:30pm – 8:30pm

  • Insects – Doug Tallamy University of Delaware
  • Birds – Ian Stewart Delaware Nature Society

 

Field trips will be on weekends at various natural areas in each county between the end of March and the end of May. Stay tuned for more details!

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) Training MaterialS >

CLASS II (SUMMER) 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, william.mcavoy@delawaregardens.org
    • 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, nperezperez@inlandbays.org, 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 (docent program, tabling events, public programs, and nature tours), Reforestation events, Nature Photography, as well as specific project work.

 

 

  • Delaware Wild Lands 
    • Contact: Brenna Ness, bness@dewildlands.org, 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: James Meek, Trustee, James.l.meek@gmail.com 
    • Volunteer Service Activities for Delaware Master Naturalists:: Stewardship and leading citizen science projects.
    • 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 leading citizen science projects, but the major need is for help with restoration and removal of invasive aliens. The meadow is the current focus working on removal of mile-a-minute, oriental honeysuckle bush and vine, bittersweet, stilt grass and garlic mustard. 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 possibly applying herbicide to the thin layer of phragmites that grow adjacent to the natural areas.

 

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

 

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Upcoming events

Program contact

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Blake Moore
Extension Agent - Natural Resources
 302-730-4000