What is Advanced Training?
In order to keep your Master Naturalist status current, you must take at least 8 hours of advanced training per year (16 hours per year are recommended if you are a Statewide Master Naturalist). These hours can be deducted from your 30 hours of required volunteer service. Advanced training can be taken through the Master Naturalist program or through sources external to the program. Unless otherwise approved, watching an educational TV program, movie or video on a natural history subject does not count as advanced training except when viewed during the course of an appropriate lecture, workshop or field trip. Travel time to an advanced training event will not count toward volunteer hours. Please document and report your training hours in the Master Naturalist Online Volunteer Hour Reporting System.
Advanced training opportunities will provide exposure to some aspect of natural history, natural resource management or nature interpretation, including any specific methods or skills used to study these things. In addition, the training should provide you knowledge or skills that you need to complete your volunteer service obligation. Potential skills include trail building, bird identification through song, GIS skills or others.
The four categories of volunteer service projects include:
- ecological services (exotic invasive removal, river sweeps, cleaning bluebird boxes)
- citizen science (hawk watch, water quality monitoring, Monarch watch)
- education and interpretation (posters, field trips, brochures, etc.)
- programmatic needs (assisting Host Sites or the State Office in program delivery)
Typically advanced training is acceptable if the focus is South Carolina-specific or southeastern as an alternative. However, additional advanced training on broad topics that might be beneficial to the state might also qualify. Examples of this include training on natural resources that transcend boundaries such as water resource issues, fire as a management tool, etc. The primary criteria is demonstration of a direct benefit to the state through the participant via volunteer service.
Who offers advanced training?
Host Sites, locations where Master Naturalists receive their initial training, and the State Master Naturalist Office will offer advanced trainings. Registration for these training sessions will be available through the Host Site or through the State Master Naturalist web site. Other partner organizations may offer advanced training and registration is usually handled by the sponsoring organization.
How do I know if a certain program/training qualifies for advanced training under the SC Master Naturalist Program guidelines?
If a Host Site conducts the training, it will be listed as an advanced training option and thus automatically qualifies. If you are interested in advanced training by another organization, these should fulfill the guidelines listed above. If the training is questionable, then please contact the State Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 864-878-1394.