Master Naturalists

Are you willing to devote time to volunteering and continuing education? Anyone 18 or older can become a Master Naturalist. It does not require a degree or years of experience. The program's goal is not to teach you "everything there is to know" about the subjects being covered but to give you an engaging exposure to the natural world--one that encourages you to seek out lifelong learning opportunities to further your development as a naturalist. 

Master Naturalist Program participants have the opportunity to:

  • learn about Northern Illinois' natural history, ecosystems, plant and animal communities, and environmental issues,           
  • enhance your love of nature through hands-on training and community-based service,
  • practice lifelong learning and sharing,
  • interact and build relationships with new acquaintances with similar interests,
  • give something back to nature and your local community,
  • and learn from and work side-by-side with experts.

Master Naturalists agree to complete 40 hours of field and classroom learning during the training and 60 hours of volunteer service within two years to become a Certified Master Naturalist. To remain active in the program, an additional 30 hours of volunteer service and 10 hours of continuing education must be performed yearly.

Please note that Master Naturalist volunteer opportunities are extremely flexible and tailored to fit your interests, abilities, and time restraints. If you have any questions, please contact Program Coordinator Connie Handel at (815) 758-8194.

Nutrient Loss Reduction


Nutrient pollution can also affect the drinking water supply and may require installing costly drinking water treatment equipment. The impacts are widespread - algae blooms threaten public health, lower property values, hinder recreational opportunities, and harm local businesses and tourism. Practices can be implemented to reduce or stop nutrient pollution that benefits us and the world's ecosystems.