Texas Master Naturalist
Hays County Chapter

...dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within our communities.
Welcome > Members > Operating Handbook
Operating Handbook

A: Dues
B: Additional Board Members
C: Duties of Officers
D: Duties of Other Board Members
E: Standing Committees
F: Ad Hoc Committees
G: Adoption and Amendment of the Chapter Operating Handbook (COH)


  1. Establishment of Dues. The Board of Directors may, with approval of a majority of members present at a duly called and convened general membership meeting, set and change the amount of an initiation fee, if any, and the annual dues, if any, payable to the Chapter. The Board of Directors must notify all voting members 60 days prior to the general meeting that subject of increased dues will be brought before the convened general membership for action. The Board of Directors under special circumstances may waive individual membership fees, on a case-by-case basis, if set by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.

  2. Dues Schedule. Dues shall be payable in advance of the first day of January in each fiscal year. If dues are not paid by March 31 in each fiscal year, then all privileges afforded a certified member are rescinded until dues are paid.


  1. Past President
  2. Chair - Training Committee
  3. Chair - Membership
  4. Chair - Volunteer Service Projects Committee
  5. Chair - Advanced Training Committee
  6. Chair - Newsletter Committee
  7. Chair - Outreach Committee
  8. Chair - Host Committee
  9. Historian


  1. President.
    1. Preside at all meetings of the Chapter.
    2. Serve as Chair of the Board of Directors.
    3. Appoint, subject to the Board's approval, committees and committee chairs
    4. Be an ex-officio member of all committees.
    5. Sign all Board-approved documents that may be legally binding on the chapter
    6. Co-sign checks with another officer in the absence of the Treasurer.
    7. Present an annual report at the last annual meeting of the chapter
    8. Become Immediate Past President upon completion of term as President.
    9. Works with the membership chair to fulfill and submit the chapter's annual report to the state office annually.
    10. Votes when there is a tie.
    11. Recipient of any scholarship given periodically to the Hays County Master Naturalist chapter by the State Master Naturalist program for the sole purpose of defraying a portion of the registration fees for attending the State Annual Master Naturalist Meeting. If the Chapter President is not available to attend the annual meeting, the scholarship will be given to another member of the Board for attendance. If no Board member can attend, the Board will select a chapter member to receive the scholarship.

  2. Vice President.
    1. Assist the President and act for the President in his absence.
    2. Chair the Program Committee.

  3. Secretary.
    1. Conduct all necessary chapter correspondence.
    2. Record, publish and preserve the minutes of all meetings of the Board of Directors, General Membership meetings or special meetings;
    3. Furnish the minutes to all Board members and make them available to other Chapter members when requested
    4. Keep a record of attendance at each meeting and whether a quorum is present.
    5. Maintain a hard copy file of all minutes and correspondence.
    6. Bring to each meeting the minute book, a copy of the bylaws, rules and policies, a list of all committees and a copy of the parliamentary authority adopted by the Chapter;
    7. Publish notice of membership meetings and field trips.

  4. Treasurer.
    1. Maintain budget and accounting records.
    2. Receive all dues and monies for the association and maintain them in a separate chapter bank account.
    3. Keep an account of all income, expenses, disbursements and other financial matters.
    4. Pay all bills upon receipt of a written statement or receipt. Treasurer or President and one other officer shall sign all checks, drafts or other instruments for payment of money or notes of the Chapter.
    5. Make a monthly report to the membership
    6. Develop an annual budget for approval by the Board of Directors.
    7. Present the financial records for audit on or before the last day of the fiscal year.
    8. Submit all annual financial records and audits as required by law


  1. Past President
    1. Assist the President.
    2. Chair the Nominating Committee.
    3. Provide continuity from prior Board of Directors
    4. Assume the responsibility as the State Representative for the chapter if that position is not otherwise filled.
    5. In the absence of a past-president, the president will reassign necessary responsibilities.

  2. Advisors - Additional Duties.
    1. Advises, recommends and informs the chapter on appropriate business.
    2. Review the chapter's financial status and participate as a member of the annual audit committee.
    3. Assist the State Program Advisory Committee in implementing and enforcing program regulations and policies.
    4. Facilitate opportunities for Master Naturalist volunteers to exercise initiative and judgment within proper measure of autonomy when coordinating chapter events and activities.
    5. Participates in event planning and attends events when possible or when identified as necessary through the planning process.


  1. Training Committee
    1. Coordinates training of Master Naturalists for the Chapter's training program.
    2. Plans, implements and evaluates the chapter training curriculum and develops training calendar.
    3. With the Treasurer develops the class budget and recommends the class tuition to the board.
    4. Acquires and prepares class manuals
    5. Select all presenters and make arrangements for their class/presentation including materials, handouts and audio-visual equipment needed for the class/presentation.
    6. Arranges for speaker gifts, travel and lodging needs, and confirmation and thank you letters.
    7. Arranges for publicity - Newspaper, flyers, Internet.
    8. Arranges for location and room seating and equipment for all classes.
    9. Manages the on-going class through graduation.

    1.1 Committee Structure, Tasks And Primary Responsibilities:

    The Training Committee shall be composed of 10 key positions, with other positions and volunteers added as needed and determined by the Training Committee Chair. The key positions are:

      1.1.1 Chair \ Coordinator of Training Committee - (1 Position)
      • Implement training program in accordance with Board policy & Operating Handbook
      • Determine training needs and facilitate meetings
      • Develop list of materials and submit agenda and arrange for printing prior to class
      • Facilitate training classes, introduce speakers and oversee overall process
      • Report to Board on committee progress, class preparation, activities, events, needs, and accomplishments
      • Attend Board meetings and serve as liaison to Chapter Executive Board
      • Chair can add or modify duties to key positions as necessary

      1.1.2 Vice-Chair \ Assistant-Coordinator of Training Committee - (1 Position)
      • Assist Chair in implementation of training program
      • Assist Chair in determination of training needs, arrange for meetings, provide agenda and facilitate meetings in the absence of the Chair
      • Assist in development of list of materials and submit agenda for printing to Texas AgriLife Service prior to class
      • Facilitate training classes as directed by Chair
      • Represent Training Committee at Board meetings in absence of Chair

      1.1.3 Registration and Attendance: - (2 Positions)
      • Greet and obtain signatures for attendees on official sign-in sheets
      • Collect money, provide receipts and deposit funds with Treasurer
      • Maintain file copy of registration and submit copies by fax or mail to Chapter Records Committee Chair and Texas AgriLife Extension Service contact
      • Maintain accurate records of advanced training and volunteer hours for trainees
      • Provide trainee's attendance, advanced training and volunteer hour reports at last three classes
      • Receive, review and track class makeup reports for absentees
      • Maintain and distribute hand-out packet for absentees
      • Coordinate tape/DVD check out/in and make-up report records

      1.1.4 Program: Nature Watch Coordinator - (1 Position)
        • Arrange for artifacts, materials and plant specimens for discussion at each class
        • Facilitate 10 to 15 minute discussion at each class session Logistics & Documentation (videography): - (1 Position)
        • Determine equipment needs
        • Set-up, test and return equipment to secure location
        • Set up tripod, camera, and record programs
        • Make duplicate DVD, label each and file with Attendance Coordinator
        • For classes not recorded, submit recommended alternative assignment for committee approval
        • Set-up and breakdown tables and chairs
        • Clean up and secure building

      1.1.5 Field Trip and Site Visit Coordinator - (2 Positions)
      • Contact field trip host and make necessary arrangements
      • Provide sign-in sheet and submit completed form to Attendance Coordinator
      • Obtain or prepare map and one page public relations flyer
      • Distribute, collect and summarize evaluation forms, and report to Training Committee
      • Site Visits: meet with Texas AgriLife Extension Agent, review suggestions and develop calendar
      • Obtain map, directions, areas of interest and submit to Chair 10 days before each visit
      • Meet host/hostess prior to visit, provide sign-in sheet and turn in to Attendance Coordinator at next meeting
      • Facilitate tour to highlight areas of interest
      • Determine if workday is appropriate as class volunteer project/education opportunity
      • Oversee proposal, coordinate event and publicize event

      1.1.6 Secretary - (1 Position)
      • Maintain "Master Course " binder with a full set of handouts for each class
      • Maintain class files, including applications and insurance waiver forms
      • Create class directory with phone, e-mail, and addresses
      • Match trainees and mentors; take digital pictures, match photos in chart format
      • Record committee meeting minutes and e-mail draft to Committee prior to next meeting
      • Make edits and provide official minutes to Executive Board and Texas Cooperative Extension Service

      1.1.7 Speaker's Contact (includes logistics, gifts and evaluation) - (1 Position)
      • Contact speakers and discuss Master Naturalist course and needs: fill our Speaker Data Form
      • As reminder, contact speakers one week before class to confirm engagement
      • Obtain and present appropriate unique speaker "thank you" gifts
      • Obtain PowerPoint handouts and provide to Coordinator 1 week before class
      • Set-up equipment and assist speaker in connecting and testing prior to presentation
      • Write personal Thank You note to each speaker and present speaker gifts
      • Collect and tabulate evaluation forms for new speakers
      • Distribute summary report to Training Committee as needed

    1.2 Ad Hoc Training Committees:

      The Training Committee shall have ad hoc committees established by the Chair as determined necessary to fulfill the needs of the Training Class. Two such committees should include:

      1.2.1 Meals: supported by Chapter's Host Standing Committee - (Coordinator and helpers as needed)
      • Develop menus and coordinate food donors for class meal
      • Maintain stock of paper goods and essential supplies
      • Provide reimbursement forms, review and get signature approvals before submitting to Treasurer
      • Provide names of volunteers to be included in agenda
      • Operate within a specified dollar amount per person for the meal budget as determined by the Chair

      1.2.2 Graduation: (Chair and volunteers as needed)
      • Arrange for graduation speaker
      • Arrange for location
      • Arrange for food (caterer) and associated needs
      • Order, size, pick up and pay for shirts
      • Obtain State and County Certificates and Master Naturalist Dragonfly pins (1st year award for completion of training program)
      • Order and pay for name tags
      • Arrange for any extra event/activity if applicable
      • Coordinate efforts with Chapter representatives

      1.2.3 Other: Volunteers as needed and determined by Chair and Vice-Chair

    1.3 Training Committee Membership:

      1.3.1 Training Committee Chair shall be nominated by the Chapter President, and approved by the Board.

      1.3.2 The Board will appoint a Training Committee Chair no later than August of the year prior to the start of the next Training Class.

      1.3.3 The Training Committee Chair will appoint the Vice-Chair. Board approval is not necessary.

      1.3.4 All Chapter members shall be notified in a timely manner that the Board is taking requests for volunteers to serve on the Training Committee. The descriptions of the key positions to be filled shall be attached to the notice. Names of individuals applying for a position shall be submitted by the Board to the Training Committee Chair for consideration.

      1.3.5 Appointments to key positions as stated in 3.4 (does not include Chair and Vice-Chair) shall be nominated by the Chair and approved by the Board. The Board will consider the requests of individuals desiring to be on the Committee and the Chair's needs in forming the Committee in a fair and equitable manner and with the assumption that some training committee membership rotation will occur.

      1.3.6 All members of the Training Committee should be appointed by the end of October of the year prior to the next Training Class.

    1.4. Class Time Frame:
      The training class schedule should begin in February and extend through class graduation in October of the same year. Class timing should be consistent with this schedule within reason but can vary with the needs of the Training Committee. Any significant change in scheduling must be presented by the Chair to the Chapter Board for approval. The Chapter President will make a determination of the significance of the change before it is determined necessary to bring the action before the Board.

    1.5 Training Class Location:

    Training Class location and meeting facility shall be determined by the following:

      1.5.1 Class location shall rotate geographically within each year to include seminar locations that provide relevant, diverse and effective learning environments to the county population.

      1.5.2 Class room facility shall be: Determined by the Training Committee Chair and Vice-chair. Guidance can be given by the Board but the Training Committee shall maintain its responsibility to acquire a suitable class room setting that meets the needs of the Training Class.

    1.6 Future Amendments To Training Committee \ Class Structure:

    Any future amendments to the items addressed in 1.1 - 1.5 above must be brought before the Board and approved before being incorporated into the Chapter Operating Handbook.

  2. Membership Committee
    1. Maintain a roster of the Chapter's member names including in-training members plus addresses, phone numbers and Internet addresses.
    2. Maintain a record of volunteer and advanced training hours and class training attendance.
    3. Notifies the Board of members meeting certification and threshold hour achievements.
    4. Orders and maintains the member certification and recognition awards (e.g. shirts, name tags, certificates, business cards, pins).
    5. Ensures members have a current signed liability form on file.
    6. Maintain a record of high level interests and specific expertise of members.

  3. Volunteer Service Projects Committee
    1. Approves and notifies chapter membership regarding Volunteer Service opportunities and projects.
    2. Uses the State Master Naturalist Program Chapter Management Guidelines section on Volunteer Service Requirements and Chapter guidelines (see Chapter Policy and Procedures Volunteer Service section) to review projects or activities for approval.

  4. Advanced Training Committee
    1. Approves and notifies chapter membership regarding Advanced Training.
    2. Uses the State Master Naturalist Program Chapter Management Guidelines section on Advanced Training Requirements and Chapter guidelines (see Chapter Policy and Procedures Advanced Training section) to review Advanced Training for approval.

  5. Program Committee
    1. Develops and maintains chapter calendar of activities
    2. Schedule chapter programs and field trips for membership meetings
    3. Notifies membership of field trip requirements (i.e. water, safety, maps, logistics, etc.)
    4. Ensure speakers or trip leader is recognized appropriately.

  6. Newsletter Committee
    1. Responsible for collecting chapter and state news, producing and distribution of the Chapter Newsletter.
    2. Officers and members will contribute the contents of the Newsletter.

  7. Outreach Committee
    1. Responsible for the chapter outreach activities
    2. Staffs outreach booths
    3. Creates and maintains chapter brochure
    4. Acquires and maintains a chapter display board
    5. Builds and supports a chapter web page
    6. Assists the Training Committee in promoting the chapter.

  8. Historian
    1. Maintains the historical records of the chapter.
    2. Historical records include but not limited to: Training classes, projects, recognitions, events, elections, meetings, and Chapter Newsletter archives.

  9. Host Committee
    1. Assist Training Chairman with class host activities - drinks, snacks, catered lunches, making handouts.
    2. Coordinates General Membership meeting host activities - drinks, snacks, party activities.


Ad Hoc committees are formed for a particular and specific short term purpose.
  1. Audit Committee. Responsible for conducting the annual audit of the financial records of the chapter. Members will include the vice-president, secretary and advisor (at least one).

  2. Nomination Committee. Responsible for selecting the annual ballot of officers and board members. Will also serve when an officer vacancy occurs that requires filling. The committee will present a slate of candidates at the annual meeting.

  3. Awards Committee. Responsible for nominating recipients for the award categories described below, following the given guidelines. Will draft a short biography of the award nominees describing the justification for the award and forward award nominations to the Chapter President for final approval.

      3.1 Award Categories:

      3.1.1. Past-President (Outgoing) Award of Service For current HCMN Program President upon the end of the term in office.

      3.1.2. Outstanding Volunteer (Training Committee) For a volunteer nominated by the Training Committee Chair who excelled in their participation on the training committee based on hours of service, commitment, and dedication to excellence.

      3.1.3. Award of Recognition (Training Committee Chair) For current HCMN Training Committee Chairperson at the completion of their term of service as chairman.

      3.1.4. Significant Contributions to the Chapter (1 or 2 persons) For a certified member who has made significant contributions to HCMN on a continual basis based on years of service, volunteer hours, project participation, chapter leadership, public relations for HCMN, or other category as deemed appropriate by the Awards Committee.

      3.1.5. Years of Service to Chapter (5, 10, etc.) for Certified Members For recognition of certified members of HCMN upon completion of periods of time (5, 10, 15, etc. years) in which they maintained their certification. Years of service need not be continuous.

      3.1.6. Outstanding Chapter Volunteer of the Year For a certified member who has made significant contributions to HCMN for the current year based on service, volunteer hours, project participation, chapter leadership, public relations for HCMN, or other category as deemed appropriate by the Awards Committee.

      3.1.7. Special Achievement Award (case-by-case basis; used only as needed)
      For a certified member who has made significant contributions of service and volunteerism to HCMN and the local community through project participation, leadership, public relations or other category as deemed appropriate by the Awards Committee.

      3.1.8. Honorary Member (optional award each year for individual or group) For any individual, group, or organization that has exemplified the standards of a HCMN and have made significant contributions to the continued education and stewardship of the natural resources of their community.

      3.2. Nominating Process:

      3.2.1. The Awards Committee is composed of 3 members appointed by Chapter President; the Committee will nominate qualified candidates for awards.

      3.2.2. Majority vote of committee needed to recommend award recipients.

      3.2.3. The Awards Committee will draft a short write-up describing the recipients' accomplishments for the following award categories: Outstanding Volunteer (Training Committee); Significant Contributions to the Chapter (1 or 2 persons); Outstanding Chapter Volunteer of the Year; Special Achievement Award; Honorary Member.

      3.2.4. Once a person has achieved Outstanding Volunteer (Training Committee) and\or Outstanding Chapter Volunteer of the Year, they would not be eligible for either award again within 2 subsequent years. This gives other members an opportunity to receive those awards.

      3.2.5. If there are no nominations for a category or the committee feels no one merits a particular category award, then the award is not given for that year.

      3.2.6. After recommendations are made by the Awards Committee, the list of award recipients and corresponding justifications will be forwarded to the Chapter President for approval. The role of the Chapter President is to insure that all guidelines of section F.3 have been followed by the Awards Committee.

      3.2.7. Honorary Membership is subject to HCMN Bylaws, Article IV, Section C. Honorary Membership. Membership must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the membership present at the Annual Meeting.

      3.3 Award Types:

      3.3.1. All award recipients will receive a Certificate of Appreciation mounted on a plaque with the exception of the Years of Service recipients (Award 3.1.5. above) who will receive only the Certificate.

      3.3.2. Honorary Member - honorary membership to HCMN and Certificate with plaque.

  4. Other Ad Hoc Committees. Can be formed by the Board as needed to address specific tasks or purposes.


  1. Adoption. Initial adoption and ratification of the COH is by a majority vote of those present at a general meeting following written distribution of the proposed COH to the general membership ten days before the meeting with notice that the ratification vote will be held at the general meeting. Written distribution may be via conventional mail, email or other equivalent means.

  2. Amendment. Changes and amendments may be made by the board of directors at a regular board meeting with a two-thirds vote of the board members in attendance. The general membership must be notified in written form of the proposed changes or amendments ten days before the meeting and be given an opportunity at the board meeting to voice any concerns about the changes or amendments. Written form may be via conventional mail, email or other equivalent means.

Adopted by Hays County Master Naturalist Chapter, February 9, 2006,
and as amended on November 13, 2007.
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