HOW TO BECOME
A MASTER NATURALIST
To become a Master Naturalist, one must complete the 12-week training program at one of the six host sites around the state and complete 30 hours of volunteer service annually.
The LCI class is very popular and fills well in advance! There are usually two classes offered each year, one in the fall and one in the spring. Classes are held every Monday for 12 weeks, except every other spring classes are held on Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday once per month for four months.
Participants for future classes will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis and will be placed on a rolling waiting list in order of contact. For more information about the LowCountry Institute’s Master Naturalist class, to find out dates of future classes, and to join the waiting list visit the LCI webpage.
After completing the Master Naturalist program, graduates are expected to provide 30 hours of volunteer service in support of the state’s natural resources on an annual basis. Twenty two of the hours should be service projects and eight of the hours should be advanced training (continuing education about nature). Volunteer service projects may be in education/interpretation, citizen science, ecological service projects, or service to the SCMN program. Click the links to learn more about the types of activities that qualify!
It is very important that Master Naturalists report their volunteer hours through the state volunteer database! Not only are these hours a way of quantifying the success of the LowCountry Institute’s Master Naturalist program, they are used by the Clemson Extension Office to receive support for the program from the state legislature.
For each year that graduates complete the 30 service hours, they receive a gemstone that is affixed to their Master Naturalist name badge. Graduates receive the badge upon completion of the program. The badges are made from renewable wood and the gemstones are amethysts (SC state gemstone). To receive your jewel, you must report your hours to the volunteer database and then bring your nametag with you to a quarterly LCMNA meeting. If you become a South Carolina Statewide Master Naturalist (after completing training in two other biogeographical regions plus an eight hour nature interpretation course), you will receive your emerald through the state office.