We're updating the program for 2020, keep informed.
(you can still start the online course)
Become a Master Naturalist - An Environmental Program for Discovering Yourself and the Real Long Island
Master Naturalist certification trains registered students in Long Island’s natural history (flora, fauna, ecosystems). Students can also expect to gain hands on experience in public lands conservation and management, and to hone their skills in nature observation. Overall, the program offers a general introduction to the natural world that surrounds us. The program is customizable, flexible, and rewarding. Professional Development NYSED CTLE credits* are available upon graduation.
Master Naturalist Handbook
This Master Naturalist program includes field and classroom events, relevant service, meaningful homework, and "adopting" a home park. Registered students complete the following nine modules:
- Orientation Module is an overview of program components, and provides information about field safety and tick bite prevention.
- Long Island Explorer is an overview of Long Island natural areas. From learning how to identify common plants to understanding open space from federal to local levels, you will begin to piece together a broad regional view. Apply nature journal writing as an art of self expression and as a means to record your study of native plants, wildlife, and their habitats.
- LI Geology & Plant Communities will introduce you to how Long Island was shaped by glaciers, and the resulting soil types and habitats that follow. Learn more about native plants, life histories and various management techniques from wildfire management to ecological restoration to invasive species control.
- Freshwater Wetlands & Conservation - Clean water also feeds freshwater wetlands. Study wetland ecology, vegetation, wildlife, and water quality. Be able to distinguish between marshes, swamps, vernal ponds, and permanent wetlands. This module also addresses conservation practice (hunting and fishing heritage), and nature awareness and health.
- Trails, Greenways, and Sustainability - Long Island has hundreds of miles of trails for recreational enjoyment, including walking, hiking, jogging, mountain bicycling, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and general nature enjoyment. Learn more about sustainable trail design. Why are ATV's so incompatible with environmental protection? Read maps and trail signage. What does sustainability mean and how does it help our planet?
- Wildlife of Long Island - Delve into the wildlife of Long Island with an overview of birds and mammals of Long Island, including their life cycles, habitats, and natural history. Will also consider how coyote, turkey, bobwhite quail and other species are returning to Long Island, and the mechanisms for their reintroductions. Become more aware of such conservation biology terms as endangered species.
- Marine Ecology - Swimming, fishing, and boating in clean coastal water is a natural right. And so is protecting the planet's biodiversity. Learn more marine stewardship such restoration efforts, hurricanes, climate change and wilderness survival skills. Encounter the rich complexity and diversity of our marine environments typical of Long Island.
- Relevant Service is a great way to expand or focus your studies to be a Master Naturalist, roughly broken down to match our core modules. You will need to complete at least 20 hours, and keep a record of dates, where, and for whom, and what was discussed and shared. Relevant Service must be selected from the following list, that has been vetted [go online for details]. You may also attend an event to learn to improve your environmental education skills, especially to learn the teaching methods of the instructor. Please contact us, before attending an event not listed or with no link below for approval. Relevant Service is Long Island based, unless, you are exempted by us for various reasons.
- Graduation - Students share in a group discussion of their adopted home parks, their commonalities and challenges, so as to gain a deeper understanding of contemporary environmental issues and challenges. They will discuss onsite needs, generate alternative engineered or otherwise solutions, understand constraints, and feasibilities. Students need to bring their nature journals to refer to, during group discussions. Graduation also provides us with feedback on ways to improve the program via completion of meaningful homework.
Master Naturalist Graduates
What Graduates Are Saying
Thanks for everything. I’ve really enjoyed this process. - Jacob Tanenbaum, Master Naturalist
I’m really grateful that I committed to this. I’ve learned a tremendous amount about Long Island and hope to continue learning more as I go. Thank you! - Linda Lombardo, Master Naturalist
Participating in the Master Naturalist program and these subsequent research assignments has been a great assistance in helping me to connect with other naturalists living in New York City! - Carey Russell, Master Naturalist
Favorite, memorable days in my life include field trip naturalist training activities with Quality Parks. - Lori Blakeney, Master Naturalist
- The best part of this program was the personal learning approach each Instructor conveyed. The hike and events were fun, with each person contributing, which added to my learning and skills. I enjoyed every part of the program and look forward to more. - Peter Wimett, Jr., Master Naturalist
The course work is vigorous and thorough because we want to get people involved in a wide variety of projects and issues. A lot of people want to DO something to help save what’s left of the nature on Long Island but they don’t know how to get involved. This course answers that need. - Eric Powers, Your Connection to Nature
- It gets people outdoors to experience and learn about our beautiful environment, so they will want to protect it. - Jane Fasullo, Long Island Sierra Club
- Today was the tenth anniversary and tenth release of quail at Caleb Smith State Park. Although I live less than 5 or 6 miles from the park, this was the first time I knew about the program. Congratulations Quality Parks Master Naturalist Program, you have made me a believer! - Chris Duffner, Friends of Caleb Smith State Park
* NYSED CTLE Credits - Master Naturalist certification requires 6 core modules times 7 hrs for a total of 42 CTLE credits upon graduation. Each core session includes 2 field events that are vetted by Quality Parks to satisfy program requirements plus peer coaching and review, and meaningful homework that is completed at a home park. Orientation and Graduation are also required and are supervised by our organization. Students will need to document and share with us the date/time and hours spent each core module.