COVID-19 Notice

We will be accepting applications in anticipation that the 2021 course will be held live on the following dates. If MMNP determines that this is not advisable for reasons associated with the pandemic, we reserve the right to cancel the course for 2021. If this determination is made after a student has been accepted and an MMNP course will be held in 2022, accepted students who can commit to all of the 2022 dates will be accepted into the 2022 course before it is opened to new applicants.

Advice for Wells 2021 course applicants

If you wonder whether you have the time to attend the classes and fulfill the requirements, please give careful consideration to the significant commitments involved. In addition to attending every class, you must be able to devote time outside of class studying, collecting, observing in the field, and preparing specimens.

If you worry that you do not have this amount of time available, MMNP respectfully asks that you not apply to the program. Every year students drop out  because they do not have enough time to do the work. Dropouts are regrettable because more applicants apply than the program can accept, and once the course is underway it is too late to offer a student’s spot to another deserving applicant. Read the student comments below to gain a full understanding of the time commitment.

The homework load and class time requirements were very demanding, and I had to steal time from or incorporate my nature studies with work, family, and other obligations. But what could be greater than to be *required* to spend more time in nature?

Before starting I didn’t have an accurate sense of the time the course would require. In doing the homework after the first class, it dawned on me that all the information presented in the classroom was intended as a gateway to my own explorations. I found I wanted to spend any time I had observing, sketching, and practicing. With every new topic, I’d start the process again of devoting whatever time I had to getting outside. I had to make the homework and classes a priority in my life to do justice to the course.

It is all so overwhelming for a while. The instructor kept saying that it’s all about layering, and it took me a while to get that. Now I realize that it’s really a lifetime of layering and each discovery is a delightful new layer. What worked best for me was to take a couple of days off after the class to regroup. I always came away from class feeling like soooo much information had been crammed into a short period of time, and yet I loved learning about so many different topics.

The time commitment was as promised, substantial.  The class time was scheduled and all incredibly well spent, but doing the homework was the most time-consuming piece, requiring planning and dedication.  As with anything, the more time I put into it, the more I got out of it – in this case spiritually as well as intellectually.  I love leading nature walks.

The expectations from the beginning were straightforward and I appreciated the emphasis that the course was going to be a lot of work. It was also good to be told ahead of time that there was strictness about attendance and accountability for your work. This made the program feel serious. It was also helpful to know that there were lots of applicants so it was a very precious thing to have a spot in the course!

When I first began I had not appreciated how much extra time outside of class I would be required to spend on each of the topics. But the independent study was great in the end, and I learned a lot as I kept finding new ways of discovering information about what we were studying. It’s just hard to know what that is going to be like.

2021 course dates for Wells

By submitting an application, you are affirming that you will attend every class and that you do not have conflicts with class and makeup dates. If a student does miss a class due to an unanticipated emergency, the student’s graduation will be deferred until the student can make up the class in the following year’s course.

Wednesday 1/6/2021
Wednesday 1/13/2121
Saturday 1/16/2021
snow date 1/23/2121

Wednesday 2/10/2121
Saturday 2/13/2121
snow date 2/20/2121

Wednesday 3/10/2021
Saturday 3/13/2021
snow date 3/20/2021

Wednesday 4/14/2121
Saturday 4/17/2121

Wednesday 5/12/2121
Saturday 5/15/2121

Wednesday 6/9/2021
Saturday 6/12/2021

Wednesday 7/14/2021
Saturday 7/17/2021

Wednesday 8/11/2021
Saturday 8/14/2021

Wednesday 9/15/2021
Saturday 9/18/2021

Wednesday 10/13/2021
Saturday 10/16/2021

Saturday 11/13/20201

Admissions criteria

MMNP seeks students with the following characteristics:

  • Basic knowledge of and ongoing curiosity about the natural world.
  • Time available to fulfill course requirements.
  • Demonstrated history of volunteering in the community.
  • A strong interest in learning more about Maine’s natural world and enthusiasm for sharing this knowledge with others.
  • A clear goal for what you want to get out of MMNP training and what you want to give back to your community in terms of volunteering.

Applications will be accepted here beginning September 1, 2020.
Applications will close October 15, 2020 and admission decisions released by November 15.