Master Class


Master Class Program

Application and Payment

This remarkable program is offered only once per year, and our class for 2017 is full.  Applications for our next Master Class will start being accepted in the spring of 2018.

Total cost for this 11-week course, including field trips and lectures, is $600. This price includes free attendance to other Forum Programs  and a 1-year membership to the Environmental Forum of Marin, upon completion of all course requirements*. Tuition is non refundable once the classes begin. 

* Graduation requires attendance at all classes, an advocacy speech and completion of a stewardship project.

Please email MasterClass@MarinEFM.org for information or with questions. Scholarships are available. Please visit our Scholarship page for details.


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 advocacy to preserve a healthy environment for future generations.

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, elected policy makers, environmental advocates, and land use and open space 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 with a cadre of supportive partner organizations

  • The opportunity to design a mentored project of deep interest to you, improving skills and potentially enhancing your community

2017 Master Class Schedule  (most classes run from 8:30 to 3 pm)

Saturday 8/26/17  |  Orientation

Saturday 9/9/17  |  Face to Face with Climate Change

Tuesday 9/12/17  |  West Marin Agriculture & Mariculture

Friday 9/15/17  |  Film Night: "Time To Choose" ($10 admission)

Tuesday 9/26/17  |  Plant Communities & Baylands

Saturday 10/7/17  |  Marin's Public Lands

Tuesday 10/10/17  |  Geology & Watersheds

Tuesday 10/17/17  |  Adapting to Sea Level Rise

Saturday 10/28/17  |  Critical Thinking

Saturday 11/4/17  |  Advocacy Education

Tuesday 11/14/2017  |  Advocacy Speeches & Luncheon

Saturday Spring 2018  |  TBD Project Presentations & Graduation


If you have questions or concerns regarding the schedule or timings of class meetings, please contact us at  MasterClass@MarinEFM.org 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.


The Master Class

For 45 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.

Therefore, 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, the Marin Open Garden Project, and the "Deep Greening" of an additional  7 municipalities including the County of Marin.

For more information on Projects, view the Student Project Presentations.

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, and  inspire people to take actions in support of the environment.

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 change, habitat, and natural ecosystems. The Master Class will introduce climate change in a broad regional context, identifying the nexus between transportation, housing, sea level rise and how adaptation strategies can preserve our local ecosystems.

An Exceptional Experience

Every meeting is led by experts in their respective fields, offering history, insights, and critical detail about the subject matter of that day. The dedication and caliber of our presenters and their willingness to dialogue with students creates a wonderful learning experience. Students learn: the historical efforts made to protect our open spaces; how our ecological systems have evolved; and to 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), Cowgirl Creamery, the owners of Hog Island Oyster Company and the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT). 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 series includes Adapting to sea level rise, a very special opportunity to play "Game of Floods", which fosters collaborative dialogue and deeper understanding of the environmental, economic and social choices that communities will face in preparing for sea level rise. A new class this year, "Face to Face with 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.  

Link to Master Class 44 Page:  Students Only




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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