Spring 2019:
Master Composter Volunteer Training
Information for Students

Bernalillo County Extension Master Composters

MC trainees sifting compost
Photo courtesy of Diana Chantalle


The Master Composter volunteer training prepares individuals to be composting educators for the community. Please see our Mission and Vision. This is a train-the-trainer program. Applicants are expected to continue participating in the Bernalillo County Extension Master Composters Association, volunteering a minimum of 10 hours per year educating the community in the science, benefits, methods, and techniques of composting.

Course Content

The training will consist of an orientation session plus eleven training modules, most two hours long. The curriculum is modeled on other successful Master Composter programs in the USA. Here is the Spring 2019 Schedule and Syllabus.

Who is Eligible?

This training is for those who are willing, able, and can commit to spending volunteer time teaching composting methods. People whose only objective is to learn more about composting are not eligible for the training but are welcome to attend any number of our free public classes or longer workshops offered for a nominal fee.

Applicants must have some prior composting experience, using any method. We also suggest that you take at least one of our free composting classes beforehand to get a sense of the education commitment. If you do not have composting experience please take some of our public classes and gain some hands-on experience, then we hope you will apply next year.

There is no residency requirement. You do not need to be a resident of Bernalillo County in order to participate in the training.

Dates and Times: April 3-27, 2019

Orientation for the training will take place Wednesday, April 3, from 6:30 to 9:00 pm. Training will be held on the following Saturdays from 8:00 am to approximately 3:00 pm: April 6, 13, 20, 27.


All classes will be held at the Bernalillo County Extension Office, 1510 Menaul Ext Blvd. NW Extension, Albuquerque. See map. The Extension Office can be tricky to find. Leave a little extra time the first time you come. The Extension Service property is surrounded by a chain link fence. Entrance to the fence is on Indian School.

Course Requirements

Certificates and Master Composter name badges will be awarded to those who complete all of the following course requirements:

  • Attend and participate in all of the training modules. If you must miss a module due to unanticipated circumstances, you must make arrangements with the coordinator to make up the work. Excusals will be granted on an individual basis, and depending on the module, missing the training may mean automatic withdrawal from the program. A fundamental benefit of the training is the classroom interaction with the instructors, other master composters who frequently attend, and fellow students who bring a variety of experience to the course. Simply reading the class preparation material is not sufficient to compensate for missing the classroom experience.
  • Complete and submit class evaluation form for each individual class.
  • Read all course materials. Handbook and syllabus will be provided.
  • Read at least one book from Reading Materials.
  • Familiarize yourself with all entries on the left menu of the BCEMC website.
  • Complete final exam. The exam is an open book, take home test. The completed exam must be submitted no later than May 31, 2019. 80% is a passing score.
  • As a course project each student will create a teaching outline for a short composting class to be taught in the future, or an alternative project approved by the coordinator. Deadlines for projects will be June 30, 2019.
  • Complete and report ten volunteer hours of community outreach in your community prior to October 15, 2019. For a list of activities that you can do, please see Volunteer Opportunities. Report hours directly to the BCEMC Outreach coordinator.
  • Abide by the policies and procedures of the BCEMC.
  • Complete and sign the NMSU Volunteer Agreement and the Photo Release Form.

Cost and Application Process

The cost of the training is $90. This includes your first year's dues ($20) for your BCEMC Association membership. If you meet the eligibility requirements listed above and wish to apply, details are below. (If you have problems or questions, please contact webmaster@nmcomposters.org.)

  • Here is the application form. Please print it and fill it out.
  • Print, complete, and sign the NMSU Volunteer Agreement and the Photo Release Form. Include with your application.
  • After filling out the application and the two release forms, either (1) send them via US mail to Master Composter Program, Bernalillo County Cooperative Extension Office, 1510 Menaul Blvd. NW, Albuquerque, NM, 87107 or (2) scan and email to mctraining@nmcomposters.org.
  • To pay, either (1) enclose check for $90 payable to Bernco Master Composters or (2) pay online via the button below. You will have the option to pay via debit or credit card if you do not wish to use a PayPal account.
  • The application deadline is March 15, 2019.
  • If you need to withdraw your application, you must cancel by March 15 in order to receive a full refund.
  • If you submit an application and are not admitted into the program because of lack of space or other reason, your full payment will be refunded.

Other Information

Before the first class, please familiarize yourself with the following:

  • Arrive a little early for all classes as they will start on time.
  • After class, depart the premises in a timely fashion as the gates to the property will be locked shortly after class has ended.
  • Please silence your electronic devices and do not text during class.
  • Your class evaluation will be used to take attendance so please fill it out and submit it before you leave class each day.
  • Two of the Saturday mornings will consist of a hands-on demonstration, outdoors, at the Extension Office; please wear appropriate layered clothing and bring work gloves.
  • Wifi is available in the building; details are on the bulletin board to the right of the screen in the classroom.
  • Bring your own refreshments and a lunch bag if you wish. There are restaurants close by.
  • Bring a pen and notebook and a 3-ring binder for hand-outs.
  • You are welcome to bring your own flash drive to download presentations.
  • Please familiarize yourself with all of the left menu items of the BCEMC Website prior to the training.
  • Note the style, organization, methods and teaching aids that instructors use. This may benefit you in your future community outreach teaching.
  • Composting is both an art and science. You will hear from various instructors whose opinions may vary. You will develop your own particular skills through reading, research, teaching, and most importantly, practice.