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Capital Area Master Naturalists

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Why Log Volunteer Hours?

Volunteer service is central to the Master Naturalist Program and recording service hours in the Volunteer Management System (VMS) is essential to the Texas Master Naturalist Program.  The Texas Master Naturalist Program is funded by a federal grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

For a state to receive assistance under this particular grant, the state must provide a “match” of 25% of the total grant dollars received.  In other words, the grant pays $0.75 for every $0.25 that is submitted as a match.  The monetary value of volunteer service hours recorded in VMS is how our match is calculated.

VMS Hours Logging

VMS opportunities use codes that define the type of activity.  The codes and examples of activities are defined in the table below. It is important to use correct opportunity codes when you enter your hours.

All entries are reviewed by the CAMN Membership Committee. If the description of your volunteer activity does not match the code you used or you did not describe your activity, you will be asked to edit your entry before it is approved. 

For an accurate description of Volunteer Service hours, please include:

  • The location of the service
  • The sponsoring organization
  • Supervisor, if applicable
  • A brief description of what you did
  • Ex:  Watered plants in the native plants nursery and pollinator gardens at the BCP Vireo Preserve

For a description of Advanced Training hours include: 

  • The sponsoring agency/organization
  • The presenter(s)
  • A brief description of the topic
  • Ex:  BCP Wild Neighbors webinar by Wildland Conservation Division biologist Johnny Scalise on Golden Cheeked Warbler breeding habits

CODEOPPORTUNITYDESCRIPTIONEXAMPLES
TRTraining & Educating Others (Direct)Leading, organizing, instructing or staffing an educational activity where participants have a planned learning objective and generally stay for the full event (e.g., planned start and end times with a single agenda).Classroom instruction Workshops Presentations Webinars Chapter MN trainees/interns class
ATAdvanced TrainingAdvanced Training you attend as a participant*AT sessions at TMN Statewide Annual Meeting *Rainwater Harvesting Steward Program Training *Project WILD Instructor/Facilitator Training
POPublic Outreach (Indirect)Leading, organizing, or staffing an educational activity where participants come and go and are able to inquire on a broad set of topics. Writing an educational article or brochure.*Manning booth or visitor center *Writing articles or brochures *Wildlife Hotline
TGTechnical GuidanceAny work that provides written management recommendations to land owners and/or land managers.*Writing ecosystem management plans *Land Management Assistance Program (LMAP) *City/Community/Regional Habitat Conservation Plan Committee
RMNatural Resource ManagementActivities that improve the health of a natural area or resource. Natural resource management, restoration rescue and rehabilitation. Projects intended to improve the health of the resource or ecosystem for its own sake, NOT for the sake of greater public access, appreciation or interpretation.*Invasive species or trash removal *Plant rescue or seed collection *Restoring or improving natural habitat *Building/placing wildlife houses, towers, chimneys *Developing an ecosystem plan
NPANature/Public AccessField-based activities that improve and manage the public’s access to natural areas or resources. Creating and/or maintaining nature trails, wildscapes and/or interpretive areas.*Developing/improving hiking trails *Developing/improving interpretive gardens *Developing/improving wildlife viewing blinds *Developing/improving wildscapes for public access or viewing *Developing/improving interpretive hikes (NOT leading)
FRField Research (Including Surveys)Planning, leading or participating in data collection and/or analysis of natural resources where the results are intended to further scientific understanding.*Field surveys *Banding and tagging *Species watch
CBChapter & Program Business/AdministrationActivities related to managing and running a master naturalist chapter and its committees.*Board of Director or committee duties *Newsletter or website management *Management of chapter records *Hours reporting (not personal hours) *Chapter reporting *Representing chapter at multi-chapter events *Other chapter administration *Assistance to State Program and State Program Office
OTOtherAny activity approved by a chapter that is not defined above. In general a chapter should only have a small percentage of hours in this activity (< 5%). When this activity code is used a chapter should investigate the reason.*Animal rescue

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