SC Master Naturalist Program
Mission of the SC Master Naturalist Program
The mission of the South Carolina Master Naturalist Program is to create a corps of citizen volunteers well trained in the fundamentals of natural history, nature interpretation and the interface of humans and nature in order to empower them to contribute their time and talents to responsible, science-based environmental stewardship.
Goals of the SC Master Naturalist Program
- To train volunteer interpretive naturalists about the environment in which they live.
- To increase the pool of volunteers available to partner organizations.
- To provide in-depth instruction in natural history, environmental issues and interpretive techniques for volunteers.
- To provide a valuable, personal growth experience for volunteers.
- To provide an enjoyable experience for all involved.
- To create a local network of individuals who work synergistically together to accomplish nature-based projects.
What is a Master Naturalist?
A Master Naturalist is a person who has undergone specific training and who regularly volunteers time toward various projects. Typically, Master Naturalists seek to make a difference in helping to maintain the quality of our native ecosystems through training designed to help 'read' the landscape of the state. This includes understanding the underlying geology, specific inhabitants (birds, plants, mammals, etc.), ecology and the impacts of humans on the landscape including how we conserve our amazing natural environments. Once trained, Master Naturalists volunteer in a variety of projects. In essence, the Master Naturalist program aims to turn out volunteer citizen scientists who can positively impact the natural resources of the state.
What do Master Naturalists do?
Individuals who participate in the program bring diverse skills and experiences that contribute time, energy and ideas in maintaining the native eco-systems throughout the South. After receiving training, Master Naturalists may participate in many different types of volunteer activities. These might include assisting in a nature outreach program at a park, museum, nature center or school; assisting a scientist collecting bird census data; collecting data on water quality or many others.
How can I become a Master Naturalist?
Both official Master Naturalist training and 30 volunteer service hours per year are required to become a Master Naturalist. You can obtain training through Host site training centers hosted at various places around the state. Volunteer opportunities are offered through Host Sites, Master Naturalist associations or through local parks and preserves.