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Capital Area Master Naturalists

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What Counts?

The following is from the CAMN Operating Handbook:

To preserve the goals and direction of the TMN program, prevent conflict, and ensure that all or most volunteers are aware of each activity, CAMN requires committee approval to be obtained for all volunteer service.

Approval Process

New activities must be submitted for approval in writing (postal mail, e-mail, or personally delivered) to the Volunteer Opportunities Committee Chair. The activity will be submitted to the committee for approval. Please include the following information:

  • Location
  • Date/time
  • Sponsoring organization (if appropriate)
  • Contact information (At least one person to contact for further information, directions to site, etc.)
  • Description of the activity
  • Special considerations such as equipment, water, restroom availability, etc.
  • The activity must have 3 approvals from committee members to be approved by CAMN. On rare occasions, the Chair may elect to bring the activity to the attention of the Board for a decision. This may delay approval, so that prior approval is not possible.

Criteria for approval are:

  • the activity must further the mission of CAMN
  • the activity must use the volunteer’s specialized knowledge or provide useful experience in a naturalist field.

If prior approval is not possible, a CAMN member may decide to participate in that activity with the knowledge that the activity is not guaranteed to be approved. Such activity may be submitted for approval at a later date.

The CAMN board of directors adopted a policy in the fall of 2016 that restricts approved volunteer opportunities to our service area of Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Travis, Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe, Hays, Lee, and Williamson counties. Any hours given outside of this area can be counted with the TMN program towards your milestones (250 hours, 500 hours, etc), but do not count towards your yearly certification through CAMN. This policy helps us fulfill our mission of giving back to our community.

Work on projects outside of Texas will not be approved as volunteer service.

Committee Work

Service on CAMN committees, as well as on the TMN State Advisory Committee, and the Volunteer Representatives Council, counts hour for hour as CAMN volunteer service. However, volunteers are encouraged to diversify their activities and allow the large workload of running this organization to be spread thinly and evenly among members.

Travel time

CAMN members are encouraged to concentrate their service hours on projects within their community. However, travel time of more than one hour to and from a prior-approved CAMN event may be counted hour for hour.

Reporting Volunteer hours

All hours are to be reported through the Volunteer Management System (VMS) portal, run by the state office and Texas Parks and Wildlife. See VMS for more info.

Other Guidelines

CAMN general meetings do not count as volunteer service.

Volunteers may receive unsolicited gifts or small amounts of money (as for travel expenses) for CAMN volunteer activities, but may not request remuneration either for themselves, or for CAMN. Members may not receive CAMN service hours if they are being compensated as part of their regular employment or as a paid consultant.

Volunteers may elect to work for multiple organizations. However, when volunteers must accrue hours for a certification, rank designation, etc. (such as a Certified Master Gardener), time must be counted for one organization or the other, or split among the organizations. This is to maintain the integrity of each organization when we use these volunteer hours as “match” money in applying for grants.

Administrative work for other organizations, such as serving as president or secretary, will not be approved as volunteer service. Work that is consultative in nature, such as serving on an advisory panel or coordinating a work day to remove non-native plants, may be approved.

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