The Minnesota Master Naturalist Program celebrates 10th anniversary
The mission of the Minnesota Master Naturalist program is to promote awareness, understanding and stewardship of Minnesota’s natural environment by developing a corps of well-informed citizens dedicated to conservation education and service within their communities.
In Minnesota, everyday citizens gain in-depth understanding of nature and have access to professionals in environmental science through the Minnesota Master Naturalist program.
- 2,112: Master Naturalists
- 395,446: hours volunteered over the last 10 years
- 3.4 million: acres impacted by Master Naturalist activities
The program benefits the state of Minnesota through direct environmental service and by educating Minnesota’s citizens about its natural resources. Master Naturalists are trained to be stewards of our natural environment and to teach these skills to others.
Master Naturalists volunteer with science-based projects such as monitoring monarch butterfly larvae, managing invasive species, bird banding and evaluating stream ecology. These citizen scientists engage in real-world field work that helps University of Minnesota Extension researchers and Department of Natural Resources professionals assess changes in natural habitats and environments.Download PDF (728 K)
Stories from the 10-year anniversary report
Pam and Michael Pagelkopf completed the Minnesota Master Naturalist Big Woods, Big Rivers program in 2007. Inspired by their love of the outdoors and a belief that today’s youth are the future stewards of the earth, they looked for volunteer opportunities that would support student learning in the outdoors.
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.
Measuring the impact of a program as diverse and widespread in its scope and reach as Master Naturalists can be difficult. Extension educator and Master Naturalist program director Amy Rager asked three questions of a few of the graduates of the very first Big Woods, Big Rivers course taught in 2005.
Over the last 10 years, Master Naturalist volunteers, students and instructors have reached out to at least one person in almost every county in Minnesota.
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.