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Extension > Environment > Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Education > Conservation education> Master Naturalist 10th anniversary> Benchmarks

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10 years of benchmarks

From its first class offered in 2005 to its 176th biome class taught in 2015, the Minnesota Master Naturalist Program has received local and national recognition for program development and citizen engagement in natural resource conservation. Below are just some of the highlights from the program's first 10 years.


  • Received $1.7M grant over 5 years from National Science Foundation for program startup
  • First Big Woods, Big Rivers course, Fort Snelling State Park, St. Paul


  • First Prairies & Potholes course, Upper Sioux Agency State Park, Granite Falls


  • MN Monthly magazine January issue, “MN Favorites” list: “75 things that make our state great.” Recognized by Minnesota Public Radio as one of the cool things in our state.
  • Created volunteer manual that helped guide program planning and future direction


  • First North Woods, Great Lakes course, EPA lab, Duluth
  • First annual conference, Camp Courage, Maple Lake; volunteers, staff and instructors learned together and met advanced training requirements for the year


  • Award for Outstanding Program Support Materials, Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach and Service Programs, & Minnesota Natural Resource Extension Professionals
  • Bronze Award for Educational Materials: Short Publication, for the Linnaeus List series, Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals
  • Teamwork Award, Minnesota Association of Extension Educators
  • Received Bertha Lewis Environmental Trust: Unsolicited funding for programming in and around Martin County


  • Silver Award for Educational Materials: Long Publication, Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals national award for the Big Woods, Big Rivers book. Curriculum shared with Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
  • 2011 Offered freshman seminar at U of M to expose students to Minnesota‚Äôs natural and cultural history


  • 100th course: Big Woods, Big Rivers: City of North St. Paul sponsored local residents in exchange for their volunteer service in natural resource management
  • License our educational materials for use by Pennsylvania Master Naturalists
  • Program of the Year, Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach and Service Programs (only one is awarded each year by the national association)
  • Finalist for Environmental Education Award, Minnesota Environmental Initiative


  • Reported over 50,000 service hours in one calendar year


  • 176 biome courses taught. Our reach expands across the state.

Get involved

Anyone may attend Master Naturalist-led workshops and excursions. Check out our event schedule for your next environmental adventure!

Visit the Minnesota Master Naturalist website

Contact us at 888-241-4532,

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