VMS Opportunity List

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Texas Master Naturalists attain certification by reporting a minimum of 40 volunteer service hours (VS) and 8 advanced training (AT) hours each year.

VMS Reporting Categories

AT (Advanced Training): Continuing education/training members choose to take in their own areas of interest
CB (Chapter Business): Chapter administrative tasks
FR (Field Research): gathering research data and reporting; citizen science
NPA (Nature Public Access): Helping people get easier physical access to nature; rather than service to wildlife
OT (Other) Partner Organization: Helping with an event that is only indirectly related to TMN’s mission [limited use]
PO (Public Outreach): Educating the public about the natural world indirectly, in an informal setting or preparing to
RM (Resource Management): Managing natural resources; improving wildlife or habitat for wildlife or preparing
TG (Technical Guidance): Providing natural resource advice or assistance to a Partner or land manager
TMN Virtual Volunteer Service: Statewide virtual service from a TVVS fair—not place-based, in our area
TR (Training): Direct Education—lectures, presentations, and demonstrations members provide to the public

Have questions? If you have a question about where an activity fits, contact the Hourskeeper.

Want a more compact version of Reporting Categories?

Advanced Training

Opportunities offered by Chapter Partners and other agencies on topics approved as Advanced Training for MCTMN members. Members choose AT in their own areas of interest. When you report, specify the Partner and title of the training.

  • AT: Lecture Series presentation – Approved sessions that are part of a series offered by AgriLife, Bay Education Center (BEC), HummerBird Celebration (HBC), UTMSI, or other Partner or agency. Report name of series & session in “Describe your training.” Example: AgriLife Brownbag—Propagating plants
  • AT: Online Training – Training from archived webinars that offer no interaction with the presenter is not approved as AT. This category has been discontinued since it only applies to noninteractive training. Report virtual training that provides interaction with the presenter to get questions answered as one of the other AT opportunity types such as: lecture series, single, or specific task. 
  • AT: Single presentation – Training that is not part of a series and not directly related to a specific project. Example: the annual Welder Wildflower Workshop
  • AT: Specific-Project – Approved training for a specific project and, generally, for a specific Partner. Training may include equipment operation, interpretation, or other skills needed. Parts of this training may be online and not directly interactive, but you will be able to interact with authorities to get questions answered. Examples:
    ~ ANWR – heavy equipment training

    ~ PAIS Sea Turtles – turtle patrol training
  • AT: TMN Tuesday – Virtual, interactive AT developed by State on various topics
  • AT: TX Waters Certification training – training for obtaining Texas Waters Certification
  • AT: with Chapter Meeting – training offered as the program at a chapter meeting. Report AT and meeting attendance (CB: Chapter Business) separately 
  • AT: with State Meet – training provided at the annual State TMN meeting. Report State-meeting AT sessions individually

Volunteer Service

Chapter Business

Any task connected with running the Chapter. Choose of from the Chapter Administration dropdown list:

Chapter Meeting
Board/Committee Work
President Duties
Vice-President Duties
Treasurer Duties
Secretary Duties

Hours Management
Website/Social Media

Project Management
Training Classes
State Meeting


~ Board/Committee—working a task for the Projects committee
Recruiting—staffing our Outreach booth at an event to interest potential new members
~ Fundraising—tasks related to business aspects of the Chapter plant sale, not educational aspects (PO: MCTMN Plant Sale)

Field Research

Planning, leading, or participating in data collection, reporting, or analysis of natural resources for ANWR, Mad Island, Mission-Aransas NERR, TPWD, WWF, or Other Partners that does not fit aquatic, insect life, or bird populations research. Specify in “Describe your service” when you report.

  • FR: ANWR research – any research at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge that does not fit aquatic, insect life, or bird populations. Example: ANWR Lamar Unit – small-mammal survey
  • FR: Aquatic Life – Field research on blue crab larvae, phytoplankton, eels, and all other aquatic life, including TPWD gillnet work and fishing surveys. Report Partner, type of aquatic life, or project name. Examples:
    ~ TPWD – fish survey at Port Aransas dock
    ~ M-A NERR – blue crab larvae monitoring
  • FR: Bird Populations – Field research collecting and reporting data for all bird populations including research for the chapter or a specific partner (Examples: WWF – MAPS bird-banding; ANWR – Bird Census). Includes: the Mid-Coast Birding Survey Project, Whooping crane reports to ICF or other agencies, Christmas bird-counts, GCBO monitoring, and other specific projects. Specify organization or project name and location in “Describe your service” when you report. Examples:
    ~ Mid-Coast Birding Survey – Lamar Peninsula
    ~ ICF – Whooping crane monitoring on Lamar Peninsula
  • FR: Insect Life – Research on Emerald Ash Borer, Cactus Moth, and other insects. Report insect and the agency the research is for. Example: U.S. Forest Service – bark beetle trapping
  • FR: Mad Island – Any research at Mad Island Marsh Preserve (MIMP) that does not fit aquatic, insect life, or bird populations. Example: MIMP – vegetative survey
  • FR: Mission-Aransas NERR – Research that does not fit aquatic, insect life, or bird populations. Example: Fennessey Ranch – vegetative survey
  • FR: Other Partners – Report partner, activity, and location. Example: CoCoRaHS – Port Lavaca precipitation data
  • FR: TPWD – research for TPWD that is not reported under other opportunities: Nature-Tracker Watches (Amphibian, Horned Lizard, Monarch Butterfly, other), Adopt-a-Loop, and other projects. Example: Goliad County – Horned Lizard watch
  • FR: Water Quality – collecting/reporting water quality data at various locations for various organizations: StreamTeam, Colorado River Watch Network (CRWN), others. Check “TX Water Specialist activity” on the report if you have that certification. Examples:
    ~ CRWN – Bay City water monitoring
    ~ StreamTeam – Little Bay, Rockport water monitoring
  • FR: WWF research – collecting/reporting data for Welder Wildlife Foundation that does not fit aquatic, insect life, or bird populations. Example: assisting Welder staff research

Nature Public Access

Service at ANWR, Aransas Pathways (AP), Coleto Creek, WWF, and other locations that is more about educating people about the natural world or allowing them easier access into nature than about managing wildlife or habitat (RM). State VMS administrators and grant auditors specify use of NPA rather than RM in these instances:

    • Creating or maintaining trails or any other work that allows the public easier access to a property
    • Working on interpretive or pollinator gardens on a public property

Report the location and activity.

  • NPA: ANWR – Example ANWR HQ – maintain the Pollinator Garden
  • NPA: Aransas Pathways – Work at Aransas Pathways sites: Castro Sanctuary, Connie Hagar, Henderson, History Center, Holiday Beach Pond, Ivy Lane, Tule East or West. Report site and activity. Examples:
    ~ Ivy Lane – cleared hurricane debris from trails
    ~ Connie Hagar – added native plants to the interpretive garden
  • NPA: Coleto Creek – Example: Developing new nature trail
  • NPA: Other locations – Planning, creating, or maintaining interpretive gardens, trails, or acreage at any public location. Examples:
    ~ Aransas First – mowed birding trail
    ~ Rockport Post Office – designed/planted/maintained an interpretive garden
  • NPA: WWF – Example: River Walk Trail – pruning branches

Other: Partner Organization

Performing work that allows a Partner organization to carry out “Other” work that is only indirectly related to the TMN mission. Specify Partner and activity. Note: Do not use this category if the activity is TMN-mission-related. State reviews its use for appropriateness. Examples:
~ HBC – vendor setup or planning meetings not related to education
~ ANWR – Friends of Aransas and Matagorda Island (FAMI) support
Note: Every service a Partner requests is not automatically approved; partners may want services we cannot provide within TMN Guidelines.

Public Outreach

Indirect, informal education at Partner locations: AgriLife, ANWR, Aransas Pathways, Coleto Creek, M-A NERR, Texas State Aquarium, WWF, and Other Events/Partners—planning, preparing, leading, or assisting with an educational activity where participants come and go. Does not include work on interpretive or pollinator gardens (NPA) or formal, scheduled direct educational events such as lectures and presentations (TR). Specify Partner and activity. Click “Yes” beside Impact Data to add contact numbers.

  • PO: AgriLife Partner – Example: Calhoun County AgriLife Extension – build beach boxes for schools
  • PO: ANWR – Informal education such as roving/station interpreter, staffing outreach booth, and interacting with the public at the front desk or Nature Store. Example: Tower – interpreter
  • PO: Aransas Pathways – Informal education to the public on any Aransas Pathways property. Example: Castro – site interpreter
  • PO: Coleto Creek – Assisting with students and other groups. Example: Assisted staff with 5th grade field day
  • PO: HBC – indirect educational activity at the Hummer/Bird Celebration, including Partner booths but not including the MCTMN Plant Sale (PO: MCTMN Plant Sale) or the Chapter Outreach booth (CB: Chapter Business/recruiting). Examples:
    ~ Native Plant Society of Texas butterfly tent staffing
    ~ Hummer home lead, bus tour guide, assisting speakers
  • PO: Incidental – Performing an educational activity in which you don’t know who will be affected:
    ~ Writing a nature-related article for a local newspaper
    ~ Building a display to educate the public at a library or Partner site
    ~ Answering questions about a TMN activity they see you performing 
  • PO: MBNP – Assisting with school students and other groups at Matagorda Bay Nature Park
  • PO: MCBNC – Example: Staffing the Information Kiosk at Matagorda County Birding Nature Center
  • PO: MCTMN Plant Sale – Performing tasks related to education about the value of native plants rather than financial tasks (CB: fundraising). Includes: handouts, signs, labels, interactions with customers, and other educational activities. Examples:
    ~ Developed plant information signs
    ~ Educated customers informally at the sale
  • PO: Mission-Aransas NERR – Docent at any M-A NERR educational facility: BEC, Estuary Explorium, R/V Katy, Wetlands Ed Center. Example: R/V Katy – assisted staff with groups
  • PO: Other Events/Partners – Indirect public education for Partners not otherwise specified. Report event and Partner. Example: Texas Zoo – showed/talked to visitors about a Texas tortoise
  • PO: Texas State Aquarium – Interaction with the public while feeding fish in an exhibit, assisting with Wildflight show, or other activity. Example: TSA – talked about creatures in a Touch Tank
  • PO: WWF – Assisting staff with school or other groups at Welder Wildlife Foundation. Example: Sinton 6th grade – nature trail walk

Resource Management

Managing natural resources at ANWR, Aransas Pathways, ARK, Coleto Creek, Goliad SP, Goose Island, Mad Island, MBNP, PAIS Sea Turtles, Tejano Wetlands, TMMSN, WRC, WWF—planning, leading, or participating in activities that improve the health of Partner’s natural areas or wildlife such as removing invasives, planting natives, and cleanups. Report Partner and activity.

  • RM: ANWR – Example: Boathouse – Planted wolfberries for whooping cranes
  • RM: Aransas Pathways – Habitat improvement on any AP property. Example: Castro – removed Chinese tallow trees
  • RM: ARK rescue/rehab – Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation activities under the direction of Amos Rehabilitation Keep (ARK). Example: Care for injured sea turtles
  • RM: Coleto Creek – Example: Removing trifoliate orange trees
  • RM: Goliad SP – Example: Invasives removal project
  • RM: Goose Island – Example: Big Tree – pulling invasive Guineagrass
  • RM: Mad Island – Example: Planting grasses for shore control
  • RM: MBNP – Habitat improvement at Matagorda Bay Nature Park. Example: Restoring a native prairie
  • RM: Other Locations – Wildlife habitat improvement on any public property not specifically listed as a Partner location. Includes: Aransas First, Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program projects (including Nueces Delta Preserve), Egery Flats, Green Lake, Powderhorn Ranch, beach cleanups, monitoring monofilament collection bins, and wildlife rescue or rehab with other agencies than the ARK or WRC. Examples:
    ~ Egery Flats – removing trash to improve habitat
    ~ Green Lake – removing invasive black mimosa
  • RM: PAIS Sea Turtles – Activities related to endangered sea turtles at Padre Island National Seashore: cold-stunned turtle rescue or release, PAIS turtle patrol or dispatch, incubation oversight, hatchling releases, data entry and documentation, other activities as needed. 
  • RM: Tejano Wetlands – Example: Developing a Monarch waystation
  • RM: TMMSN – Marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation activities under the direction of the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Example: Feeding a stranded dolphin at the TSA facility
  • RM: WRC – Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation activities under the direction of Wings Rescue Center. Example: Care for injured birds
  • RM: WWF – Examples:
    ~ Hackberry Motte – Chinaberry tree removal
    ~ HQ – plant hummingbird nectar plants and fill feeders

Technical Guidance

Activities that provide resource management advice or assistance to ANWR, Aransas Pathways, City or County, Mad Island, WWF, Other Partner Organizations or land managers. Report Partner/location and activity.

Includes volunteer service that requires serving on the board of—or attending meetings in an advisory capacity with—another organization in order to provide TMN-mission-related resource management technical expertise or guidance. Such a member volunteer will request designation as a Mid-Coast chapter technical advisor/consultant, consulting with or advising the organization while promoting the Texas Master Naturalist program/organization.

  • TG: ANWR – Example: Setting up a bird-census database
  • TG: Aransas Pathways – Providing expertise related to: Castro Sanctuary, Connie Hagar, Henderson, History Center, Holiday Beach Pond, Ivy Lane, Tule East, Tule West. Example: Henderson property – Advising project manager on habitat improvement
  • TG: City or County – Providing TG to local city or county organizations or environmental committees such as the Aransas County Stormwater committee, Victoria Alliance, San Antonio River Authority board, Wildlife Management Area boards. Example: Jackson Co – developing a website to promote nature activities
  • TG: Mad Island – Example: Performing a wildlife survey
  • TG: Other Organizations – TG to organizations or land owners/managers not specifically listed. Example: DOW – ID plants on Seadrift property
  • TG: WWF – Example: Documenting a Welder collection

TMN Virtual Volunteer Service

TMN Virtual Volunteer Fair sessions highlight virtual and place-based service opportunities to the statewide TMN Program. Virtual service does not require going to a specific place to perform work related to that place and should be reported using TMN Virtual Volunteer Service. Place-based service does require doing work at a property in the Chapter area and should be reported using the appropriate MCTMN opportunity. Examples:

  • Virtual (requested at the fair; to be done for any area of the state without leaving home):
    ~ Spanish Translation of Public Outreach Materials
    ~ Wildlife Camera Photo Review
  • Place-based (requested at the fair, but requires service at a real place in our local areas):
    ~ Report Adopt-a-Loop data collection and reporting as FR: TPWD and specify Adopt a Loop and  Loop/Site Name in the description
    ~ Report improving habitat on your adopted loop by picking up trash as RM: Other Locations and specify your loop/site name in the description.

Training – Direct Education

Planning, preparing, or leading formal, scheduled direct-education activities such as lectures, presentations, or demonstrations at Partner locations: ANWR, Coleto Creek, Mad Island, WWF, Other Partners/Organizations. Report Partner/organization and activity and click “Yes” beside Impact Data to add your audience count. Examples:
~ Local Rotary Club – Presentation on invasive plants
~ Aransas Bird and Nature Club – presentation on the importance of native plants

  • TR: ANWR direct education Shuttle bus tour, presentation to an audience
  • TR: Mad Island – presentations for the public or MCTMN members-in-training about Mad Island and its ecosystems
  • TR: Other Organizations – Examples:
    ~ HBC seminar presentation
    ~ NPSOT Native Landscape Certification Program training
    ~ State TMN annual meeting presentation
  • TR: WWF direct education – Example: Leading a public tour of the Refuge