Thank you for your interest in the James L. Goodwin Conservation Center’s Master Naturalist Program. The 2023 Master Naturalist Program application period is now closed.  If you are interested in applying for the 2024 program, fill out the form below.

This program is designed for people who want to expand their knowledge and awareness of the natural environment.

Application Process

  • Submit an application form by Friday, March 10th.
  • You will learn of the status of your application by Friday, March 17th
  • If accepted into the program, submit payment of $315.00 by Friday, April 7th.

Program Requirements

  • Must be 18 years old or older.
  • Submit payment of $315.00 by Friday, April 7th. Please do not submit payment until you have received confirmation of acceptance into the Master Naturalist Program. 
  • ~65 hours of in-person learning consisting of 12 monthly field programs.. Two excused absences are allowed, but attendance at the first class (4/22/23) and last class (3/23/24) are mandatory.
  • ~16 hours of virtual learning consisting of 11 (1.5 hour) webinars which will meet once a month on a weeknight. One excused absence allowed.
  • Completion of a Phenology Project and short presentation at the last meeting.
  • Contribute 30 hours of volunteer service toward the conservation and education of natural resources and natural areas within your community.
  • Be enthusiastic about natural resource education, conservation and stewardship with a willingness to learn and a desire to share knowledge with others.
  • Attendance at 4 nature-themed educational programs offered outside of the Master Naturalist program.
  • Have access to Google Drive and Zoom via computer, tablet, or smartphone. 

Course Materials

  • Participants will receive their own copy of Naturally Curious: A Photographic Field Guide and Month-By-Month Journey Through the Fields, Woods, and Marshes of New England by Mary Holland to add to their library.
  • A copy of the book Connecticut Wildlife: Biodiversity, Natural History, and Conservation by Geoffrey A. Hammerson will be loaned out to each student the first day of the program and returned on the last day. 
  • Participants will also receive a small field notebook and loupe. 
  • Participants will have access to a Master Naturalist Google Drive folder, which will contain program documents, presentation slides, recommended readings, photos from our classes, etc.

Learning Objectives

  • An overview of the James L. Goodwin Master Naturalist Program, including the mission and objectives of the program, and the guidelines for participation
  • What a naturalist is and does and the significance of naturalists and natural history
  • Connecticut’s unique habitats and the flora and fauna that live in each
  • The importance of phenological observations
  • Basic concepts of ecology and geology
  • The art and science of nature interpretation and environmental education
  • How to get involved in community science projects around Connecticut