counting stems-6679We are extremely excited to announce that our pilot Master Restoration Certificate (MRC) program is nearing launch. We will be partnering up with some of the most well established training programs in order to provide boundless field-based expertise and breadth to our certificate program. 2014 will be the time to join us and help create something truly special.

We’re looking for a first class of 10 individuals to help launch this program and provide us a critical review of this training methodology. Could that be you? Read more and decide for yourself.

Master Restoration Certificate

The Golden Hour Restoration Institute Master Restoration Certificate [MRC] program is an engaging, applied science program that exposes the student to a diverse set of biological and earth sciences and methods that are fundamental to the field of restoration ecology. Although this program is not intended to be comprehensive, the program will provide a survey of important cornerstones of restoration ecology. Graduates from our program will learn the foundations of restoration ecology, biological monitoring, land stewardship, and observational ecology. Service-based learning is a cornerstone of the Master Restoration Ecologist program. We believe that providing a balance of classroom time, field instruction, mentored volunteerism, and independent study is critical to our students becoming successful practitioners. Our goal is that the completion of the curriculum of this program will be rewarding to everyone from interested volunteers to seasoned professionals.


Students do not need to have academic coursework in biology or ecology as a prerequisite, but we believe that individuals who are well versed in basic scientific principles will gain the most from this program. We have recommended reading that will help bring everyone up to a reasonably high level of knowledge.  More importantly, students must have a desire to serve our natural communities via our volunteer programs.  This course isn’t a short-term 2, or 5, or even 10 week commitment, we look for people who understand that a strong educational experience arises from a long term commitment of 1-3 years, or a minimum or 400 hours.   We are working towards formalizing this certification with a group of well respected non-profits and professional organizations that hold restoration ecology core to their mission. We anticipate approaching Society for Ecological Restoration, Cal. Native Plant Society, Pt. Reyes Bird Observatory, and Society for Conservation Biology.


This certificate is intended to have value for students and also potential employers by showing that students completed a given number of formal courses, have proven they can complete independent work, and are willing and capable to serve the public good with their knowledge.  The certificate program is divided into three distinct, but intertwined sections: formal instruction, volunteer service, and independent research.  Typical formal training programs that students can select from include: vegetation mapping, GIS, plant taxonomy, wetland delineation, bird surveys, wildlife surveys, invasive plant management, and rare plant surveys to name a few. Formal instruction credits can be attained through Golden Hour workshops, or a list of other approved courses (see below). Through volunteerism, students are required to collaborate on projects with a host organization that help meet habitat improvement and species restoration needs. The volunteerism aspect allows the student to apply their knowledge and learn from professionals. The independent work is a loosely defined requirement of the program that allows the student to pursue their specific interests

and create a final deliverable that represents the culmination of their independent work. For instance, this “deliverable” may be anything from a species list, to a brochure on a natural area, to an online video that increases understanding of a certain biological phenomenon.


Courses are provided through a number of our partner organizations.  We have provided a framework for this certification, which has been vetted by experienced professionals, that allows for a student to choose between a number of different skills and courses as long as they fit a general coursework guideline.  Courses can be located anywhere, but students will be completing an independent study that is focused in a particular area.  Volunteer experiences can also occur in a number of places as long as they are approved and meet the goals of this certification.  Each Master Restoration Ecologist will attend a minimum of 100 hours of formal courses, 100 hours of independent study, and 200 hours of volunteerism.  For instance, a full day course on vegetation mapping through the California Native Plant Society meets 8% of the 100 hour formal education goal for this Certification.  Formal training courses should occur over at least a 6 month time period so that skills in different seasons can be learned.

Are you interested?

Please drop a note to lech [at] and tell us about yourself and how you would like to participate – as student, supporter, instructor, or sponsor. We’re looking to build partnerships that will work for all organizations and individuals involved.     This is an exciting time to get involved!

Written by GoldenHour

1 Comment

Corey Nelson

I have and am building upon a strong academic background in climate change and environmental (NRM) studies. However, I am lacking the practical field-based experience needed to launch a career in environmental management and restoration. I would LOVE to be a student in your program and I believe I would bring a strong background to enhance other students knowledge as well.


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