Are you passionate about caring for the natural world?

Become a Master Naturalist – give back what you learn about the natural world.

Join us as we launch the South Mountain Chapter of the Arizona Master Naturalists and our first training course in January 2019.

Through 60 hours of classroom and field courses you’ll be introduced to a variety of local experts as you build your skills and knowledge in natural history, citizen science, local environmental processes, challenges and solutions, environmental education and interpretation and much more.

About the Master Naturalist Program

Master Naturalists are skilled volunteers able to provide leadership in education, citizen science, and stewardship to natural resource agencies or organizations in the State of Arizona, for the public good. Certified Master Naturalists also educate the public, through providing unbiased information, about the natural history and the natural resources of Arizona, so that the public is able to make choices on their own regarding environmental issues. The program is founded on the principles of Environmental Education as stated by the North American Association for Environmental Education.

Master Naturalists meet the following criteria:

  • Complete a one-time 60-hour basic training course
  • Complete 20 hours of advanced training annually (with 5 hours dedicated to obtaining a skill)
  • Volunteer at least 60 hours each year in service to natural resource organizations in education, citizen science or stewardship activities

About the South Mountain Chapter

Arizona Master Naturalist Association is the parent organization overseeing all Master Naturalist programs in Arizona. The state is divided into geographically-based chapters whose members live and serve in the respective area. ACNC sponsors the South Mountain Chapter which holds most activities at South Mountain Environmental Education Center in South Mountain Park.

The South Mountain Chapter is launching in 2019 by offering our first basic training course. We will be holding advanced training opportunities in Fall 2019 (more details to be announced by late Spring) and welcome graduates of the basic training course to help us shape the regular operations of the chapter.

Basic Training Course Details

The basic training course is 60 hours with 17 classroom sessions and six field labs. Classroom sessions include an interactive lesson facilitated by a local professional with expertise on the specific topic, small group and whole class discussion, hands-on activities and time for personal reflection. Field labs are designed to teach specific skills that are commonly needed in natural resource service and take place in settings that are authentic to the skills being taught (e.g. – learning to identify native plants while in the Sonoran Desert). Most classroom sessions and field labs will include pre-session reading material from texts and/or peer-reviewed articles which will be provided by instructors.


Self-evaluation through reflection is a core component of the Master Naturalist Program and is included in each classroom and field session. Additionally, participants will be required to complete brief homework assignments through the web-based learning platform, Canvas. The course also includes a midterm practicum (completed in class), volunteer experience, short presentations and a capstone project.


Classroom sessions:

Wednesdays │ January 16 – May 15 │ 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Field labs*:

Saturdays │ January 26, February 16, March 9, April 6, May 4 │ 2 – 3 hours each morning

*One additional field lab may be included. Date TBD.

**You may miss no more than two weeknight classes and one Saturday field lab to successfully complete the course and become certified.

Click here to view our draft course schedule.


All classroom sessions will be held at South Mountain Environmental Education Center (10409 South Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85042). Field labs will take place at various sites within Maricopa County. Carpool opportunities may be available for each site.

Course Fees

$400 course fee (covers coursework and all related materials) is due prior to January 16, 2019.

Interested in Training?

If you’d like to be considered for our inaugural cohort, complete the application form below. ACNC will review your application and then reach out to schedule a brief phone interview. Participants will be chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Stated commitment to volunteer service and meeting the certification requirements
  • Ability to attend at least 85 – 90% of classes and field labs
  • Previous volunteer experience
  • Well-thought out answers to the application questions

Last day to apply is midnight Arizona time on December 12, 2018.

2019 South Mountain Master Naturalist Course Application 


Send your questions to Carrie Flood at