Master Class

Master Class Program: Education for Action

A unique, comprehensive program of field trips, interactive lectures and advocacy training; with particular focus on the root causes and global impacts of climate change, and effective environmental advocacy to preserve our local ecosystems.

This remarkable program, offered only once per year, is now accepting applications for 2017.

Click here to apply, setup your student profile, and reserve a spot with your $50 deposit.

Please email for information.

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.

SAMPLE: 2016 Master Class Schedule, (the 2017 schedule not yet available)

8-27       Orientation to Environmental Advocacy
9-10       Getting In Front of Climate Change
9-17       Geology, Watersheds and Wetlands
9-20       West Marin Agriculture and Mariculture
10-1       Critical Thinking
10-4       Bay Lands and Plant Communities
10-18     Public Lands Management
10-29     Advocacy Education for the Environment
11-5       Government and Climate Change Management
11-15     Advocacy Speech Presentations
5-6-2017  Project Presentations and Graduation

An Exceptional Experience

The Master Class that began August 27, 2016 is our 43rd offering.

It is comprised of 11 day-long field trips and classes (8:30am to 3:30pm) held on 4 Tuesday's and 7 Saturday's. Graduation requires attendance at all classes, advocacy speech and completion of a project.  Total cost for this 11-week course, including field trips and lectures, is $600.

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: the historical efforts that were made to protect our open spaces; how our ecological systems have evolved; and identify meaningful and effective strategies for environmental advocacy.

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.

This Master Class includes a session on Government and Climate Change Management, which lays out the relationships between the State, County and local City/Town efforts to address climate action planning. A new class this year, "Getting in Front of Climate Change" will provide a broad perspective about the cultural impacts of climate change, generate local discourse and inspire people to take actions in support of the environment.

Communication and Advocacy Skills are also highlighted, in order to prepare participants to speak publicly with confidence and grace, stepping up to the podium defending his/her ideas, for preservation of our environment.

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 plastic bag ban in Marin County, and the Marin Open Garden Project.

Master Class Students Will Gain:

  • A comprehensive understanding of the root causes, global, and cultural impacts of climate change
  • A keen awareness of the human impact on Marin's environment
  • Opportunities to interact with scientists, policy makers, environmental advocates, and land use and climate action planners
  • Critical thinking skills to assess environmental issues of the day

  • Advocacy training and coaching to speak capably at 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 to you, improving skills and potentially effecting change
  • Free attendance to the Lecture Series in 2018

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.  Scholarships maybe available.

Application and Payment

Total cost for this 11-week course, including field trips and lectures, is $600. 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.

Click here to apply, setup your student profile, and reserve a spot with your $50 deposit. The balance of your tuition is due by the end of our Preview Event (details to follow). Tuition is non refundable once the classes begin.

Please email for information.

Environmental Forum of Marin is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and a United Way of the Bay Area Certified Agency.

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