Master Class

2015 Master Class Schedule

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

Master Class Program: Education for Action

A unique, comprehensive program of field trips, interactive lectures and advocacy training

To apply, complete this application form and submit with your $50 non-refundable deposit. You will be contacted within 24 hours of submission. 

The Master Class

For more than 40 years, the Environmental Forum of Marin’s highly acclaimed Master Class has been educating advocates for the natural environment. Over 1,000 students have graduated, many of whom have gone on to work for environmental protection in various fields. Whether elected officials or ordinary citizens, the Master Class encourages advocacy work among its students.

Participants in this landmark class will develop an understanding of the natural world and the impact of environmental change. They’ll learn what’s at stake for our ecosystems, and where critical protections are needed. Emphasis is placed on how citizens can participate with intelligence and confidence in the civic planning process, helping to preserve a healthy environment for future generations.

The only course in the county to offer a hands-on, comprehensive experience that includes both docent led field trips and high-level advocacy training, it brings a small class (25-30 people) together to absorb, engage, and get involved in the fascinating issues of climate, habitat, and natural ecosystems.

An Exceptional Experience

The Master Class beginning in the Fall of 2015 will be our 42nd offering.

It is comprised of day-long field trips and classes (8:00am-3:30pm) held on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Graduation requires attendance at a minimum of 7 meetings, and completion of a project.

Every meeting is led by experts in their respective fields, offering history, insights, and critical detail about the subject matter of that day. Students learn about the historical efforts that were made to protect our open spaces, how our ecological systems have evolved, and are all connected.

Field excursions expose Master Class students to leaders in Marin’s agricultural history, such as Albert Strauss (founder of the first organic dairy in the country), Sue Conley (of Cowgirl Creamery), and the owners of Hog Island Oyster Company. Classes will visit the Tomales Bay watershed, and learn the importance of our wetlands and uplands, major defenders against rising tides and providers of critical habitat for our plant communities.

The class includes a session on Critical Thinking—long a favorite of our Master Class participants. The lessons learned here have been credited with having a lasting impact on students, both professionally and personally.


Communication Skills are also highlighted, in order to prepare capable advocates for our environment. Speaking publically with confidence and grace will prepare the student to step to the podium and defend his/her ideas, far into the future.

Another critical component of the Master Class is the design and completion of a Stewardship Project. The student(s) will select a topic of particular interest and design a goal-oriented project, either independently or as part of a team. Some of our past projects have inspired real change, such as the formation of MALT, the plastic bag ban in Marin County, and the Marin Open Garden Project. Click here to learn about more of our recent Master Class projects.

Master Class Students Will Gain:

  • A comprehensive understanding of the global issues of climate change, and how they affect our communities
  • A keen awareness of the human impact on Marin’s ecosystems
  • Opportunities to interact with scientists, policy makers, environmental advocates, land use and transportation planners
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Training and coaching to speak capably in a public forum
  • Knowledge and confidence to take meaningful action in defense of the environment
  • The opportunity to design a mentored project of deep interest, improving skills and potentially effecting change

Application and Payment

Total cost for this 9-week course, including field trips and lectures, is $500. This price includes free attendance at the Lecture Series and a 1-year membership to the Environmental Forum of Marin, upon completion of all course requirements.

To apply, complete this application form and submit with your $50 non-refundable deposit. You will be contacted within 24 hours of submission.

Click here to pay your $450 balance, if you have already paid an application fee.

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

Is the Master Class for You?

If you have questions or concerns regarding the schedule or timings of class meetings, please contact us at for a conversation. Our goal is to make this essential training available to everyone, so we’d be happy to talk with you about your situation. 

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