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

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Home, home on the biome

Master Naturalists complete a 40-hour, hands-on course in natural history, environmental interpretation, and conservation stewardship. The program offers three courses that focus, in-depth, on Minnesota’s major biomes*.

*bi-ome: noun: a regional ecosystem characterized by the plant, animal, and microbial communities that developed under specific soil and climate conditions.

Big Woods, Big Rivers

The Big Woods, Big Rivers biome course covers the science and natural history behind Minnesota’s deciduous forest and Tallgrass Aspen Parklands. This biome stretches like a sash across Minnesota from the southeastern corner to the northwestern tip.

Since 2005, the Minnesota Master Naturalist program has facilitated 81 Big Woods, Big Rivers courses. These courses have reached over 1,200 people and have been taught in 20 of Minnesota’s 87 counties.

Prairies and Potholes

The Prairie Parkland Province biome was historically composed of tallgrass prairie. It covers just over 16 million acres stretching from southwestern to northwestern Minnesota. In the northern portion, glacial kettles have filled with water and form the “potholes” that dot the landscape.

Prairies and Potholes was piloted in 2006 at Upper Sioux Agency State Park; 12 people participated. Nine years later, there have been a total of 38 trainings in 17 counties reaching 416 participants.

North Woods, Great Lakes

In 2008, the program introduced its third and final biome course, North Woods, Great Lakes. The course covers the science and natural history of the arrowhead region of Minnesota and explores the Laurentian Mixed (coniferous) Forest. It is the largest biome in the state, covering approximately 23 million acres in northeastern Minnesota.

Since 2008, 53 courses have been offered in 13 counties and have involved 674 participants.

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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