Guidelines for Volunteering
To be approved, volunteer service must meet the following guidelines.
- TMN State Guidelines: “In order to attain certification, a Texas Master Naturalist trainee must complete a minimum of 40 volunteer service hours (and 8 hours of advanced training) within one year of the initial training series. In order to retain the title of Texas Master Naturalist, a volunteer must complete another 40 hours in every subsequent year. A trained volunteer, no matter how little or how much volunteer service they are providing the chapter within a given year, is always considered a Master Naturalist volunteer. Master Naturalist volunteers in any given year are either ‘Certified’ or working towards certification for that given year. “ Note: Volunteers who do not complete the requirements in a subsequent year are not eligible to receive the year-pin awards for that year.
- Volunteer work must be of a type that furthers our TMN mission: “To provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within our communities.” Example: Volunteers may plant, label, and maintain a native plant garden at a non-profit or public-owned facility, but a rose garden – even at such a facility – does not further our mission. This mission includes educating the public on natural resources, but it also includes managing, maintaining, and improving the environment for the benefit of wildlife and the public.
- Volunteer work must be performed to support the Mid-Coast Chapter mission rather than to benefit another organization. Example: A member of both the Aransas Bird and Nature Club and TMN can get volunteer credit by presenting a TMN program to the bird club, but a TMN member who is also the secretary of the bird club cannot get TMN credit for hours doing that secretarial job, because it directly benefits that club and does not further the TMN mission.
- It is expected that all volunteer service will be performed in the eight-county Mid-Coast Chapter area, or in surrounding areas with approval by the Projects Committee.
- Volunteers who belong to two organizations that both require volunteer service as part of membership may not count the same work hours twice, getting credit from both organizations. Example: an individual who is both a Master Gardener and a Master Naturalist may not report the same hours to both organizations.
- Volunteer work that results in a profit to another organization cannot be approved:
- Volunteers may not count volunteer work for a for-profit organization.
- Volunteers may not count work for a nonprofit organization that results in the organization earning money for its own programs. Example: growing native plants for a Master Gardener plant sale would not be allowed, but helping them grow native plants for free distribution to promote native-plant use would be acceptable.
- Volunteer work for the Mid-Coast Chapter can be counted:
- Approved fund-raising efforts
- Hours spent by officers and committee chairs preparing for, executing, and reporting official Chapter functions
- Paid work cannot be counted for Volunteer credit. Many Chapter members do very valuable work that meets the TMN mission statement criterion, but cannot count the hours because it is part of their job. Examples:
- Reporters cannot get credit for writing an environment story for which they are paid
- Teachers cannot get credit for working with students on a nature program they are required by their teaching contract to sponsor
- Paid nature-tour announcers cannot get credit for hours spent on their tours
- All volunteer work must be approved before a Volunteer can get credit for it.
- Specific projects published through the Chapter are already approved.
- Volunteer efforts must be approved by the Projects Committee.
- Volunteer efforts for any of our Partners can be approved if they provide educational or environmental benefits toward meeting the TMN mission. A list of current partners is on the Chapter website. Note: Service hours for Partners are not automatically approved. It is quite possible for Partners to want us to take on tasks that we cannot do within TMN Guidelines.
- If an effort has not already been approved, the member can complete the Request for Volunteer Service Approval form and submit it for consideration.
- Once approved volunteer work has been performed, the Volunteer uses the online reporting system to quickly and easily report volunteer work.
- Volunteer hours credit is earned for time spent preparing a volunteer presentation as well as for making the actual presentation. Travel time to and from any volunteer service activity earns volunteer credit. (Note: travel time for advanced training events cannot earn credit.)
If you have questions about these Guidelines, contact the Projects Director.