OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Frequently Asked Questions

Cost

What will the program cost you?

For someone who wishes to become an Oregon Master Naturalist, enrollment in the Oregon Master Naturalist Program includes the following courses, each with its own fee. The price breakdown is as follows:

Course Offerings

Oregon Master Naturalist Online Course
  • $325 The Online Course is designed to be the core curriculum for the Oregon Master Naturalist Program. It is an instructor-led course. You must complete this course before becoming an Oregon Master Naturalist. It is recommended that you take the Online Course before taking the in-person Ecoregion course.
Oregon Master Naturalist Ecoregion Courses
  • $250 The second part of the course requirements to become an Oregon Master Naturalist is the Ecoregion Course, an in-person specialization in one ecologically distinct region of Oregon. One Ecoregion Course is required. The courses are modeled after Oregon's Ecoregion concept, a geographical approach to dividing up Oregon. These courses are explained in more detail here.

The cost of the Oregon Master Naturalist Program is based upon a "cost recovery" model. This program operates on revenue generated by the fees collected through course participation and support provided by Oregon State University Extension.

 

Scholarships for Ecoregion Courses

If the Ecoregion course you are enrolling in offers scholarships, you will be given the option to apply for one at the payment step. We are slowing opening up more courses to a limited number of scholarships each year, and will make that information available on the main course schedule page. If you are unsure if the course you are enrolling in offers scholarships, please contact us at ormasternaturalist@oregonstate.edu.


We now accept AmeriCorps funding to pay for the Online Courses

Please note: We are working on the ability for you to use AmeriCorps funds to pay for our Ecoregion courses. Thank you for your patience as we finalize the process.

If you would like to use your AmeriCorps funding, here's how it works:

Important information:
AmeriCorps requires participants to be enrolled before they will approve funding. Here are the steps for utilizing AmeriCorps funds:

  1. Complete your registration, including full payment
  2. Contact AmeriCorps and submit a request for funds
  3. If approved, we will receive a check for half of the funds around the first day of the course. We will then reimburse the participant for the same amount.
  4. We will receive a second check approximately half way through the course for the remainder of the funds and we will then process a refund to the participant for the second part of the funding.

If funding is not approved or if the course is not completed, OSU Professional & Continuing Education (PACE) will not process refund(s) to the participant.

There are no exceptions to these steps.

PACE Refund Policy
Please review our refund and cancellation policy.

Please contact Meddie Sims at meddie.sims@oregonstate.edu to notifying her of your intent to use AmeriCorps funds, the Online Course you are registering in and the amount of the funding requested. She will be happy to answer any other questions you have about this process.

Course Information

Which Ecoregion Specializations are currently being offered?

Courses in three Ecoregions are currently being offered. These include: The Oregon Coast, Willamette Valley, and East Cascades. For more information on Ecoregion Specializations, click here.

When are Ecoregion Specialization courses offered?

Ecoregion Specialization courses are offered annually. When they are offered varies by Ecoregion, but in general, we strive to hold one course per Ecoregion per year. We are working on consistently offering the Ecoregion Specialization courses shortly after the completion of the Winter Online Course (the one that begins in January). Occasionally, Ecoregion Specialization courses are offered in the Fall, which means that they would overlap with the Fall Online Course.

What are the course requirements for becoming an Oregon Master Naturalist?

To become an Oregon Master Naturalist, you must complete the following: 1) the core curriculum offered through an Online Course - learn more at https://pne.oregonstate.edu/catalog/oregon-master-naturalist-online; and 2) at least one Ecoregion Specialization course, which is offered at various locations in Oregon and taught in person. For more information on the required coursework, click here.

What topics are covered in the Online Course?

The Oregon Master Naturalist Online Course serves as the core curriculum for the Oregon Master Naturalist Program. It covers basic concepts in ecology, natural history, and natural resources management. The content provides an overview of the entire state of Oregon. For more information on the core curriculum, please click here.

How is the Online Course delivered? Can I sign up and complete it anytime I want?

The Oregon Master Naturalist Online Course is offered twice a year, starting in January and again in September. The course is delivered through a web-based learning tool called Blackboard, supported by Oregon State University. Blackboard contains all the course content. At this time, you cannot sign up for the Online Course and complete it at your own pace. The course is instructor-led and presented on a weekly schedule, with new topics covered in weekly lessons. Participants are expected to access the content weekly and interact with fellow students and the course instructor through a "discussion board". There are no pre-scheduled meeting times when everyone is expected to be online. Participants can post and respond to messages in the Discussion Board each time they log into the course. Course content includes primary readings, a weekly assignment and class discussion, weekly content review quizzes, and a final exam.

I live in another state and I am interested in taking the Online Course. Can I take this course?

Yes, you are welcome to take the Oregon Master Naturalist Program Online Course. However, it is recommended that you take the non-Oregon Master Naturalist certification option for the Online Course. You would select Option 2, which is for those who aren't going to become an Oregon Master Naturalist, but want an instructor-facilitated online course. You can learn more about the course options at https://pne.oregonstate.edu/catalog/oregon-master-naturalist-online. If you spend part of your time in Oregon, however, and wish to volunteer while you are here, you should consider choosing Option 1, which puts you on the track to becoming a fully certified Oregon Master Naturalist.

Do you have a waiting list for the courses?

Yes, currently we have a waiting list set up for the Online Course. To be added to this list so that you are notified as soon as enrollment opens for the next Online Course, click here to complete the form.

Why did you decide to require an Online Course? I am an outdoors person who learns best in person and in the field!

This is a valid question and concern! We firmly believe that to be the best Master Naturalist possible, one must actually experience learning in the outdoors in a hands-on way. That said, we thought seriously about the limitations and challenges we face in OSU Extension to deliver courses in the most cost-effective way, while still maintaining a high quality educational experience. The Oregon Master Naturalist Program was developed during the latest economic downturn and on the heels of a major OSU Extension reorganization, which made it difficult to expect a new program to be adopted and disseminated widely across Oregon. To compensate for these limitations, as well as the vast distances participants would have to travel, and to ensure that even the most remote areas of Oregon are served, we developed a certification process that combines both online and in-person coursework. The Online Course was designed to be a core curriculum, universal to the entire state of Oregon, a course that can be delivered widely across Oregon without duplicating the process at greater expense. The in-person coursework is meant to hone naturalist knowledge and skills and provide an authentic learning opportunity within a smaller region, and presented by some of the top experts in their disciplines. In the end, we feel we've developed a dynamic and interactive Online Course and offer some of the best in-person natural resources education in the state. And, we think we offer coursework that plays to the strengths of all the learning styles.

What are the time commitments for the Online Course? I don't have a lot of free time in my busy schedule.

This is a valid concern. We know that on average it takes participants 6 to 9 hours a week to complete the weekly lessons. Most people report that they are able to complete the weekly lessons in 6 hours. Lessons vary in length from week to week, so it is possible to spend much less or much more time each week. It depends upon how involved one gets in the course. The course is designed so that a participant can dig into the content at different depths. This is accomplished by providing plenty of content in different places throughout the weekly readings, including links to websites, videos, publications, and other supplementary content. You choose how deep you dig. In any case, plan your involvement in the course according to your other personal commitments.

Do I need to complete the Online Course before starting an Ecoregion Specialization course?

Ideally, you should complete the Online Course before you begin the Ecoregion Specialization course. The Online Course provides a comprehensive overview of Oregon's natural resources, in preparation for a more in-depth and focused course on a specific Ecoregion. However, we know schedules don't always allow for taking the coursework in this order, so we will allow you to take the Ecoregion coursework before the Online Course. When an Ecoregion Specialization course is offered, preference will be given to those who have already completed the Online Course.

Is it OK to take both the Online Course and Ecoregion Specialization course at the same time?

Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to take both courses at the same time. However, there is no guarantee that both courses will be offered at the same time.

Attendance

What is the attendance and make-up policy?

We know you all have busy lives, so occasionally, classes may be missed. However, we want your learning experience to be as engaging and complete as possible, so we must set specific attendance and make-up policies. Please consider these policies carefully before signing up for Oregon Master Naturalist coursework.

Attendance Policy

The Oregon Master Naturalist Program (OMNP) attendance policy limits you to NO MORE THAN 2 ABSENCES to successfully complete an Ecoregion course. If you know in advance that you will miss classes, please notify the OMNP coordinator or designee. If you miss more than 2 classes, you cannot get credit for the Ecoregion course. A refund is not available for classes you miss.

Make-up Policy

It is expected that you will acquire the subject matter from the class(es) you miss in some other way at your own expense. Make-up sessions must be comparable in content and length. It is your responsibility to put forth a good faith effort to find suitable opportunities. The OMNP will make every effort to facilitate finding and advertising make-up options.

You will have 18 months to make up any missed classes.

Prior approval must be given for all make-up sessions by the OMNP coordinator or designee. Please notify the OMNP as soon as you have a make-up to propose.

Make-up sessions may include:

  • Future Oregon Master Naturalist Ecoregion classes. You may sit in on only the missed classes at no additional cost AND prior notification is required. If you intend to join a class in a future ecoregion course, please contact the course coordinator as early as possible (ideally when registration opens) so they may have ample time to make arrangements. 
  • Field trips led by subject experts
  • Lectures by subject experts (a minimum of 2 hours in length)
  • Volunteer training sessions (a minimum of 2 hours in length)
  • Other opportunities, as proposed by the participant. If a unique opportunity presents itself that isn’t clearly defined here and you believe it could qualify as a make-up session, propose it to the OMNP statewide coordinator for consideration.

Teaching

What is the teaching policy?
  • OMN will make every effort to seek low or no-cost instructors who have an expertise in one or more of the OMN curriculum topics, while maintaining a longterm relationship with our established instructors within their capacity to participate.
  • The Oregon Master Naturalist Program will pay persons who cannot operate at no cost within the official duties of their employment to teach an Ecoregion Course.
  • OMN will pay an honorarium of no more than $150.00 per class to those instructors who are not supported within their official job duties. A onetime class development fee of $150.00 will be paid to new instructors who request it, for the purpose of creating and planning a class presentation, activities and materials. This is in addition to the honorarium paid to teach the course.
  • OMN will pay instructors mileage to and from the class at the official OSU rate (see http://fa.oregonstate.edu/business-affairs/travel) of $0.54/mile up to a maximum of $60.00, roughly the amount for a 100 mile roundtrip.

If you are interested in being considered as an instructor for the Oregon Master Naturalist Program, please email the Program Coordinator, Jason O'Brien, to propose which topic and Ecoregion in which you are knowledgeable. If an established instructor exists for a topic/class, you will be added to a list as a person to contact if the existing instructor cannot teach. See Course Schedules for a list of Ecoregion courses the Oregon Master Naturalist Program currently offers.

Getting on a Mailing List

Do you have an email list that I can be added to?

Yes, we do. Simply type your email address in the box labeled "Subscribe to our email list" located on the left sidebar of this website to be automatically placed on the Oregon Master Naturalist Program's email contact list. We do not share this list with any other person or group. The list is used to periodically announce upcoming courses and other important information.

Volunteering

How are volunteer hours reported toward certification?
Do volunteer hours that are done prior to completion of the online course count?

Example: I am volunteering for a nearby state park on March 9, and was wondering if those hours count even though I am still enrolled in the online course.

No, only volunteer hours completed after you have completed all course requirements count toward becoming an Oregon Master Naturalist. We realize that most of our participants come into the program with a long history of dedicated volunteering and we gladly honor your continued volunteerism to these same groups as a means of fulfilling your Oregon Master Naturalist certification requirements.

My local National Wildlife Refuge requires a training before I can volunteer for them. Would this count toward volunteer hours? Or just the hours I volunteer after my training?

You would only be able to count your actual volunteerism for the National Wildlife Refuge as your initial 40 hour certification and ongoing 40 hour per year volunteer requirement. This would not include the Refuge's own training required of their volunteers. However, you would be able to count the volunteer training toward your 8 hour annual continuing education requirement to maintain Oregon Master Naturalist certification.

My Oregon Master Naturalist Account

How do I record my continuing education hours?

Please use the icon in the right hand column to access the online continuing education reporting form.

Instructions for recording hours:

  1. Log in to your account using the button above.
  2. The Continuing Education form will appear, ready for you to log any continuing education event you have attended since achieving your Oregon Master Naturalist certification. Note: you must have already completed your initial coursework and 40 hours of volunteer service before this form is available to you.
  3. The form will ask you to choose a "Sponsor" from an existing list, or create a new one. You will also be asked to choose a "Course/Event" from an existing list associated with your Sponsor, or create a new one. Then, add a description to the "Course/Event Description" box. You can also choose to enter a location of this event. Finally, enter the specific date or date-range for your continuing education course or event, and how many actual contact hours in which you participated. Note: Please count only hours that you were actually engaged in learning from the course or event.
  4. Once you have entered all required information (marked with *), a "Submit" button will appear at the bottom of the page. You may submit or save the record, however, if you save the record, you must go back and submit it in order for it to count.
  5. You are allowed to go back into the record you submited and edit information if you find errors or need to add additional details.
  6. Your records will appear in your account under the "Tracks" tab in the "Annual Re-Certification" category. You will also see records listed on the "Student Home" page, along with volunteer records in a table near the bottom of the page.

Technical Difficulties?

If you feel that you should already have access to this form and you are unable to access it, please contact Jason O'Brien at . If you have problems logging in or have basic questions about using the form, please contact Jason O'Brien at . If you have technical issues with the form, please contact the system administrators by clicking on the Online Volunteer Reporting Help Icon link in the upper right corner of your online account screen.

How do I log into my Oregon Master Naturalist account?

If you simply want to check on your Oregon Master Naturalist Account, please click on the icon in the right hand column to be taken to your account homepage.

Once you have logged into your account, you'll see your Student Home dashboard. From here, you can click on buttons to record Volunteer Hours (if you have already completed the required coursework) and Continuing Education Hours (if you have already achieved the title of Oregon Master Naturalist).

  • You have access to other tabs to view your status. The Portfolio tab shows you what courses and the classes you've completed in the past, as well as any additional information you want to include about yourself. The Tracks tab gives you a quick view of your progress toward becoming an Oregon Master Naturalist. Here, you can see the courses you've taken, and how many volunteer and continuing education hours you have recorded. 

Technical Difficulties?

If you have problems logging in or have basic questions about using this system , please contact Jason O'Brien at . If you have technical issues with the system, please contact the system administrators by clicking on the Online Volunteer Reporting Help Icon link in the upper right corner of your online account screen.

How do I record my volunteer hours?

Please use the icon in the right hand column to access the online volunteer service reporting form.

 

Instructions for recording hours:

  1. Log into your account. Please Note: some of you have accounts within an older database. If this is your first time logging into this newer system, you will have to set up a new account - click on the green "Start Registration" button to do this. 
  2. From the Oregon Master Naturalist Program homepage, clicking on the "Submit Your Volunteer Hours" button takes you directly to the volunteer reporting form. If you start from within your Oregon Master Naturalist account, within the tab labeled "Student Home", click the same icon you see below to record your hours.
  3. The form has two main tabs, "1. Volunteer Record" and "2. Volunteer". Click the green "Next" button to proceed to the "2. Volunteer" tab to enter your records.
  4. The "2. Volunteer" tab, begins with the section "Volunteer Information" that includes your name, email address and photo (optional) below the heading "Volunteer Details"
  5. Next comes the "Service" section. Start by clicking the gray "+ Add Service Record" button, which opens a new window containing all the details you will enter.
  6. In this window, the first thing you'll do is create a "Partner Organization". To do this, first click the gray "All Partner Organizations" button. The group you volunteer for may already be listed here, and this step will avoid duplication in our system. Click the "Select" button next to the Partner Organization name if you find your group. If your Partner hasn't already been added, click the “+ Add New” link, located in the bottom left corner of the "All Partner Organizations" list box. Type the official name of your Partner Organization, and choose the location where the Organization is based from the dropdown list, or "Add New" with the adjacent link.
  7. Once you have entered a Partner the first time, you won't have to re-enter it again - it will appear in a "Partners You Have Worked With" list the next time you use the form. All necessary details for this Partner will be saved and won't need to be re-entered.
  8. Next, set up a "Volunteer Opportunity". When entering a Volunteer Opportunity for the first time, click on the gray "Add A New Volunteer Opportunity" button. You will be asked to give it a name, then click a green "Add Volunteer Opportunity" button.
  9. Next, the form asks you to enter a brief description of this opportunity, the location (there are various ways to describe the location), type (category) of volunteer service, and Volunteer Supervisor (you don't have to add a supervisor if you don't wish or if there isn't one).
  10. Once you have entered an Opportunity the first time, you won't have to re-enter it again - it will appear in a "Your Opportunities" list the next time you use the form. All necessary details for this Opportunity will be saved and won't need to be re-entered.
  11. The last step asks you to enter the details of "Service" for this Volunteer Opportunity. Enter the date of service, how long you volunteered (hours/minutes), time (hours/minutes) spent traveling to and from volunteer location, miles traveled, number of people impacted if applicable, and which county your volunteering took place. All of these items are required. You can always enter zeros (i.e., 0) depending upon your particular volunteer situation.
  12. You will be asked to assign your volunteer hours to a particular certification requirement. At the end of the form, you are asked to apply the hours to either the initial 40 Volunteer Hours requirement (consider adding all hours of volunteering completed the first year to this category even if they exceed 40 hours), the Annual Re-Certification requirement (include which year you are applying them to - typically, it's the next year after you complete the intial 40 hour requirement - Note: this category won't appear if you have not yet entered the first 40 hours of service and/or aren't yet into the second, third, and so on year of being an Oregon Master Naturalist), or no particular requirement.
  13. Next, Click the green "Add to List" button. This adds all the above information to a master list of records, which you will eventually Submit once you have finished adding all volunteer records that you have completed.
  14. For subsequent volunteer records, you can do one of three things: 1. continue adding records for the same Volunteer Opportunity and Partner Oreganization (Gray "Record More" button); 2. enter records for the same Partner Organization but a different Volunteer Opportunity (requires that you click the "Add a New Volunteer Opportunity" button - see step #8 above); or 3. "Add a Different Service Record", which allows you to choose a new Partner Organization and Volunteer Opportunity.
  15. Finally, carefully review your information, and if you discover mistakes on any of the records, click the "Edit" link under the Actions column. You can also Delete a record by clicking the trash can icon (e.g. if you want to start over or discover a duplicate record). Once you are satisfied with the records, click the green "Submit" button. All the records that appear in the table will be recorded at once and can be viewed by going to the "Tracks" tab and looking under the "Volunteer Hours" section.
  16. If you have more hours to report from other days or another Partner Oreganization, please go back to your "Student Home" tab and click the "Record OMN Volunteer Hours" icon.

Technical Difficulties?

If you have problems logging in or have basic questions about using the form, please contact Jason O'Brien at . If you have technical issues with the form, please contact the system administrators by clicking on the Online Volunteer Reporting Help Icon link in the upper right corner of your online account screen.