Master Naturalist Programs

Master Naturalist program evaluation and reporting guide

Who should use this guide

Extension staff involved in coordinating or providing programs related to the Master Naturalist program should use the Master Naturalist program reporting and evaluation guide and self review.

What is covered in the guide

Educational programs

Core training

  • Program for volunteers generally following the Master Naturalist standard curriculum.  See core training reporting and evaluation section below .
  • Report as MG/MN program type = “core training” on the custom data page
  • Report as a single program activity with multiple sessions
  • Total participants = number enrolled in whole course.  Extra attendees at specific sessions should be reported using guidance for “extra” attendees below.

Continuing education

  • Programs designed for continuing education and expected to be reported as continuing education hours.
  • Report as program activity using naming format MN/CE/Program name
  • Report as MG/MN program type = “continuing education” on the custom data page

Other education for volunteers

  • Programs or meetings delivered to Master Naturalist volunteers/trainees/interns that have planned educational content but that are not designed to be continuing education or expected to be reported as CE hours.
  • Report as program activity using naming format MN/Program name
  • Report as MG/MN program type = “other education for volunteers” on the custom data page


  • Meetings, planning sessions, and recognition ceremonies are generally NOT considered educational programs and should not be entered in PEARS.
  • Report a meeting only if it includes planned educational content (e.g. an expert speaker), in which case it would be “other education delivered to volunteers” (above).

Volunteer-led education for public

  • Volunteer-led educational programs are entered in PEARS if Extension-staff are present and have helped coordinate or facilitate in any way.
  • NEW: Volunteer-led educational programs where Extension staff are NOT present at event may also be entered in PEARS (optional).
  • Report as program activity using naming format MN/Program name.
  • Tag VOLUNTEER (Master Naturalist) as collaborator.
  • Report as MG/MN program type = “volunteer-led education for public (with staff present)” OR “volunteer-led education for public (no staff at event)” on the custom data page.
  • Optional: collect data from volunteer using the Volunteer Education Report.

Extension-supported gardens

Report on all gardens that receive some Extension staff or Master Naturalist support during a reporting year. Gardens may be used for demonstration, education, food donation, pollinator support, life skills training, community garden plots, and many other uses.  See the Garden reporting webpage for information.

Volunteer hours reporting

Volunteer hours reporting is currently in VCMS.

Core training evaluation and reporting

Evaluation—core training

All core training courses should use the standard statewide evaluation.  Local coordinators should distribute the statewide evaluation via email at the conclusion of the training course, and send a follow up email reminder a week later.  See sample language and link below.  If you have a local survey you’d like to use as well, provide participants with that link directly, or consult with Karen to link a local survey to the main one in Qualtrics.

PEARS reporting—core training

  • Create a single program entry, even if training is held at different locations
  • Use program activity naming format: MN core training/your location
  • List all sessions under that program entry
  • Tag yourself and other staff who presented as collaborators
  • Report total participants and demographics for your trainees.

Sample evaluation distribution language

Distribution email language. Distribute within three days of final training meeting

Thank you for participating in the Master Naturalist training program.  We would like to request your feedback on this training so that we can continue to improve our Master Naturalist program.  We aim to hear from 100% of participants.  The evaluation should take 5-10 minutes to complete.  Link to survey:

Reminder email language. Distribute a week after initial request

At the close of Master Naturalist training last week, we asked for your input so that we can continue to improve our Master Naturalist training program.  If you have already responded to the evaluation survey, thank you!  If you have not yet responded, we respectfully request that you complete the evaluation now.  We’d like to hear from all training participants so that we can better understand the strengths and weaknesses of this training.   Thank you!  Link to survey:

Extra attendees at core training

Occasionally Master Naturalists who have already completed training, or others, attend core training sessions.  We want to count these participants but make sure they are differentiated from the trainees. 

If a session has extra attendees besides trainees, enter a separate program activity for the session and list the number of session-only participants using this naming format: MG core training/Extra/topic.