Maryland Master Naturalist Training

Would you like a chance to learn more about the natural world and our place in it? Would you volunteer your time to share the wonder of nature with others, to assist in ecological research, and strive to make your community a healthier, happier place?

If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, you may have the makings of a Maryland Master Naturalist!

Maryland Master Naturalist logo

What is a Maryland Master Naturalist?

Recent Maryland Naturalists holding their certificates with DNR Staff

Maryland Master Naturalists are interested, ecologically aware people who have successfully completed a fun but rigorous natural history training program, and who “pay it forward” with 40 hours of volunteer work annually. They participate in community science efforts, teach classes, lead field trips, and continue to learn and share their enthusiasm for Maryland’s natural areas and the life forms that occupy them.

Developed in cooperation with the University of Maryland Extension, the MD Master Naturalist Program (MDMN) provides scientific training in the fields of natural history, ecology, interpretation and the place of humans in the natural world.

The training includes 60 hours of classroom and field experience; hands-on training is emphasized in a science-based context. Throughout the training program, Master Naturalists are tested on their content knowledge. In addition, they complete a final project highlighting interpretation skills on a topic of their choice. Collaborative group work is encouraged.

Similar to the way Master Gardener programs are organized, the MD Master Naturalist program requires candidates to donate 40 hours of volunteer work in the first year to the organization hosting their training. To maintain certification, MD Master Naturalists continue to volunteer an additional 40 hours each year. In-depth training in advanced topics will also be available.

DNR Staff member working with a class

Training in Anne Arundel County

Classes, which will focus on the natural history of Maryland’s Coastal Plain, will be held at the MD DNR headquarters in Annapolis on Wednesdays, from 6p to 9p. Four field days will also be scheduled on Saturdays, to practice identification skills and research techniques. Expert instructors will be on hand to guide Master Naturalists and to share tips and tools of the trade.​​

The curriculum includes:

  • Introduction to Maryland Natural History
  • Flora and Fauna: Identification, Behavior and Taxonomy
  • Fundamental Ecological Principles
  • How Humans Affect the Landscape
  • The Science of Science
  • Teaching and Interpretation

For more information on the Maryland Master Naturalist Program, policies, fees, application process and class details, visit the University of Maryland Extension at:​​as/master-naturalist-program

Spring 2024 Training - Registration is now Closed

Registration for the 2024 Master Naturalist training with MD DNR - Anne Arundel County is now closed. To be added to the waiting list for the 2026 session or for any additional questions, please contact Paula Becker at

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Application Form

To find additional Master Naturalist training courses, please visit:

Or contact:

Paula Becker
Wildlife and Heritage Service
580 Taylor Ave, E-1
Annapolis, MD 21401
Phone: 410-260-8568
Fax: 410-260-8596

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