Master Class

Master Class Program: Education for Action

A unique program of Field Trips, Lectures, and Advocacy Training 

Master Class 42

Environmental Forum of Marin's highly acclaimed Master Class has been educating the general public for more than forty years and has over 1,000 graduates. Participants in the Forum's Master Class can expect to develop an understanding of the natural world and adaptation to environmental change, learn what’s at stake for our ecosystems and what needs protection. Emphasis is placed on how citizens can participate in planning processes and develop tools to advocate for preserving a healthy environment for future generations. This comprehensive training focuses on Marin's natural landscapes and the challenges they face. Promoting environmental stewardship, the training prepares advocates for today's changing world.

Applications now being accepted with your $50 deposit (non-refundable).

Objectives and Schedule

Master Class—Objectives 

  • Develop an understanding of our natural world and adaptation to environmental change,
  • Learn what’s at stake for our ecosystems and what needs protection,
  • Learn how citizens can participate in planning processes, and develop tools to advocate 
    for preserving a healthy environment for future generations.

Master Class—Schedule

Master Class 42 schedule for Fall 2015:

8/29  Saturday   Orientation
9/12  Saturday   Geology, Watersheds
9/26  Saturday   Advocacy training
9/29  Tuesday    West Marin Agriculture and Mariculture 
10/10 Saturday  Baylands and Plant Communities
10/20 Tuesday   Critical Thinking
10/24 Saturday  Open Space/public lands
11/3   Tuesday   Governance
11/14 Saturday  Advocacy Speeches

Application and Payment

Total cost for this 9-week course and all lectures is $500. This price includes a one year Environmental Forum paid membership upon completion of requirements.

To apply, complete this application and submit with your $50 deposit (non-refundable). The Master Class Director will contact you regarding the mid-August Registration meeting.

Click here to pay your $450 balance.

A limited number of needs-based scholarships are available. Please email

Classes and Field TripsEmpowering Advocates for the Natural World

Expert-led field excursions will take Master Class Students to talk with leaders in the forefront of creating agriculture history such as Albert Straus of Straus Dairy, one of the first organic dairies in the country, Tomales Bay Oyster Farm, involved in efforts to protect the Tomales Bay watershed, and Sue Conley of Cowgirl Creamery who will show the connection between the quality of farm ingredients and the quality of food produced. 

The Master Class will include visits to local wetlands and uplands, major defenders against rising tides and providers of critical habitat along with the plant communities that they support. You will be provided an understanding of how these all come together, connecting the land and plants and the effect climate change will have upon them. 

Included is a session on critical thinking which has become a favorite session of Master Class participants. The lessons learned during this day, and reinforced throughout the program, have had a lasting impact on participants – both professionally and personally.

To be an effective advocate, communication skills are vital. Professional communications consultant, Kraemer Winslow, will teach public speaking skills. Kraemer is a graduate of the Forum and for several years has taught these techniques to Master Class participants. The skills she imparts turn reticence into competence. Each student will be given the techniques to deliver a concise, compelling speech.

Public speaking is only one aspect of the Forum’s Advocacy training. Students will also learn how to take effective action to protect the environment through first-hand experience of a project. Projects reflect each student’s concerns. A selection of past projects can be viewed by clicking here.

Participants will identify their projects and work on them as individuals or in teams.

Discussions surrounding these issues will provide Master Class participants a chance to take the environmental training and directly apply it to issues of immediate concern.

Environmental Forum’s lectures are renown for their caliber of speakers and topic coverage. Speakers review the science underlying the topic and discuss the multiple issues associated with each topic. A lively question and answer period is frequently included for attendee's participation.

Recent lectures have delved into Fracking, Sea Level Rise, GMO’s, Drought, Transportation and Land Use. A selection of past Lectures can be viewed by clicking here.

Projects—Translating Passion into Action  

This required part of the Master Class gives participants an opportunity to put knowledge to work. For some students this is the most meaningful part of the Master Class experience. Projects can range from small to large, an individual project or working as part of a team project, observational or practical, each student tailors their project component to their interest. Many projects have resulted in lasting change for Marin. For example, MALT (Marin Agricultural Land Trust) started as a class project. MALT has been the primary tool used to preserve family farming in Marin County.

Here are projects from previous Master Classes:
  MC41 Projects
  MC40 Projects

More Information
Contact the Master Class Director at
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