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.
Copyright © John G. White
Realizing a need for continuing education, the Minnesota Master Naturalist program began to offer advanced courses to its volunteers in 2008. These courses provide Master Naturalists and the public with opportunities to participate in a recreational activity and learn about a new natural resource topic. Topics build on the biome curriculum.
We have offered 170 advanced trainings in the past seven years including:
- Monarch Larvae Monitoring
- Phenology Volunteer Training
- Bird Banding
- Spiders workshop
- Stream Ecology
The Minnesota Master Naturalist program has hosted an annual conference since 2008. Eight conferences, offered throughout the state, have attracted nearly 800 Master Naturalists.
In 2015, the conference changed its name to “Gathering Partners” when the University of Minnesota Extension Forestry team, the Minnesota Forestry Association, and the Phenology Network partnered with the Master Naturalist program to help facilitate the conference.
Master Naturalists socialize with others dedicated to stewardship of Minnesota’s natural resources at the conference. They also participate in workshops that count toward required continuing education.
The Minnesota Master Naturalist program began offering instructor training in 2009. Since then, we have educated 156 volunteers in 16 counties to teach biome courses and advanced topics. Many of our instructors have ties with nature centers or government agencies that offer (or plan to offer) Master Naturalist courses.
Instructor training takes place all over Minnesota, and we expand our reach every year. Volunteer instructors help us to offer many more courses than we would be able to otherwise.
National Public Lands Day
National Public Lands Day is a national day of service observed annually on the fourth weekend of September. The Minnesota Master Naturalist program coordinates at least 10 volunteer sites around the state.
Since 2012, 29 National Public Lands Day sites have attracted more than 500 volunteers in 12 counties.
On September 26, 2015, Master Naturalists hosted 13 sites and 319 volunteers who worked a total of 1,677 hours, which amounted to $41,640 worth of labor.
Projects include invasive species removal, bud capping and pollinator garden restoration.
Invasive Blitz started in 2013 as a part of a Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) grant with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The advanced training educates Master Naturalists and the public on how to identify and eradicate invasive species.
Since 2013, Master Naturalists have held 11 Invasive Blitz trainings, which attracted nearly 140 participants.
Participants who complete the training volunteer at local organizations to organize community “blitz” events and may adopt an area to monitor and eliminate invasive species.
“I had a renewed focus for my love of nature and learned of places where I could experience first-hand the natural world.”