FARM AND GARDEN: Illinois Master Naturalist Program Accepting Applications for Training | Home & Garden

MATTOON – University of Illinois Extension, serving Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Moultrie and Shelby counties, is offering 11-10

Most courses take place on Tuesdays from 5:30pm to 8:30pm at the Douglas-Hart Nature Center in Mattoon. There are also on-site classes at Warbler Ridge Woods and the Shelbyville Visitor’s Center.

The mission of the University of Illinois Extension Master Naturalist Program is to provide science-based educational opportunities that connect people to nature and help them become committed environmentalists.

“The Master Naturalist training is a great way to learn more about our local natural areas, connect with people who are interested in helping our environment, and make some great connections,” says Extension Program Coordinator Jenny Lee.

The program educates and trains adult volunteers so they are better able to share information about natural resources with others in their communities and assist with conservation and restoration activities. We all have a responsibility to protect the natural resources in the places we live to ensure our world is “fit for the future”.

For those wishing to become a volunteer Master Naturalist, the University of Illinois requires each applicant to complete an application, complete background check paperwork, and schedule an interview with Lee. The participation fee is $200 and includes classroom hours, field training, handouts, and the Master Naturalist Manual. Financial support is possible.

Upon completion of the Master Naturalist training, graduates become Master Naturalist interns and have two years to complete 60 hours of volunteer service to become an active Master Naturalist. To continue as an active Master Naturalist, volunteers must complete 30 volunteer hours and 10 continuing education hours annually. There are many great ways to hit those hours throughout the year.

Applications, exam papers, interviews and course fees must be received and completed by Monday, July 25th. For more information, contact Lee at 217-345-7034.

Illinois Extension leads public affairs for the University of Illinois, turning research findings into action plans that enable Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to change and opportunity.

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