Interested in joining us as a Certified Master Naturalist in Pima County?

The Arizona Master Naturalist Program is designed to be a LEADERSHIP training program. The curriculum is designed to help volunteers become leaders. There is a focus on cultural equity, team building, program design for partners, and using critical thinking to solve natural and cultural history issues and problems. This is not a training that is designed replace other fabulous natural history docent training programs in our communities, rather it enhances them by taking the time to focus on needed skills to take your volunteering to the next level. If you are interested in simply volunteering for a program without using leadership skills, this may not be the program for you.

The program has a required in-person component, required field labs, and group projects. We also require the completion of self-reflective homework assignments to further understand natural and cultural history concepts, including best practice in environmental education and justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in our programs.

This is not a course that will just teach you about the Sonoran Desert so you can volunteer for our partner organizations – while that is part of it, we ask that you consider taking your learning and volunteering a step further when you can, to help build better teams of volunteers ready to tackle today’s problems and projects with partner agencies.

We are also committed to Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the field of natural and cultural history. We believe in making our training program as accessible to all who are interested, providing scholarship funding for those unable to pay full price for the program. We also offer a sliding scale for course fee payment. We want all members from all audiences of our community to feel welcome to participate in the training program as well as the public programs our volunteers lead. Even if you have not completed academic work in the past, you are welcome to join us – we have many resources available to help you along the journey of becoming and remaining certified. Read about our inclusivity project here.


Add your name to our email list. You’ll be notified when the application for the next course is available. We’ll also send you our quarterly newsletter, the Prickly Pear Post.



The next training course begins in January of 2021. The Application for the 2021 Course will become available in September of 2020.


Join us at an Info Session. Applicants who attend an info session will be given priority in their application status. Info sessions will be scheduled in August and will be held once per month is September, October, and November prior to the application deadline.


This is a natural resource leadership training program. Certified Master Naturalists are expected to take on leadership roles and develop and lead programs for the Pima County Chapter and Chapter Community Partners. This is not a natural history course for personal knowledge gain. If you are seeking a natural history course that does not contain a volunteer service and leadership component, we can make recommendations of those available in our community.

To become certified you will participate in a 60-hour classroom program held weekly on Wednesday evenings, beginning the first week of January from 5:30 until 8:30 at a location to be determined for 2021. The course runs until the first week in May. You are also required to participate in seven Saturday Field Lab sessions between January and May. 

To become fully certified you must contribute 60 hours of volunteer service to approved Chapter Community Partner Organizations or service to the Pima County Chapter, and 20 hours of advanced training (5 of which must be skills-based training) by December 31.

If at any time you require assistance with completing your hours we are happy to help you.

The course fee is a non-refundable $300, covering course materials, due upon your acceptance into the course and payable by the start of the training. If your payment is not received by the start date of the course, your position may be forfeited to someone else on the wait-list. Scholarships are available, for more information contact

The Pima Master Naturalist Course is an all-volunteer run program. At this time no one receives any financial re-numeration for service to the chapter or serving as an instructor.

Here is a DRAFT of the 2020 Course Schedule, as an example of what you may expect from the upcoming training. The order of content is subject to change.


The Application for Intent will be available in September 2020.

There is a $20 non-refundable application fee required to file your application. The fee will be applied to your full course fee, should you be accepted into the next cohort. You are not required to pay anything else unless you are accepted into the course.

We are only able to accept 25 participants into the course due to the size of the room and best practices in instruction. There has been a wait list for the last three years as we’ve received over 40 applications each year. Applications are reviewed by committee and participants are chosen based on a combination of the following primary and secondary criteria:

Primary Criteria for Acceptance

  1. Attended an information session
  2. Helped with local Master Naturalist events (showing initiative)
  3. Ability to attend at least 85-90% of classes and field labs
  4. Volunteer experience with other organizations
  5. Track record of leadership in the community or prior experience
  6. Participation in an interview

Secondary Criteria:

  1. Diversity of experience among cohort
  2. Diversity of experienced naturalists vs. those new to the field
  3. Diversity of members from all communities, including those under represented in our field and programs
  4. Timely payment of the application fee
  5. Willingness to help with administrative contribute to chapter programming tasks for volunteer hours credit
  6. Well-thought out answers to the application questions
  7. Ability to contribute something new and relevant to our program

The Arizona Master Naturalist Association seeks to engage and serve all audiences in our communities and wishes to make our programs accessible to a diverse array of cultural, economic, professional experience, and racial and ethnic backgrounds.


Once your application and application fee has been received, you will be contacted within a few weeks to schedule your interview with our application committee.

Your completed application must be received by December 1st at midnight Arizona time. Late applications will not be accepted.

Applicants will be notified of their acceptance by December 31st

%d bloggers like this: