What is the Master Naturalist program? 

The mission of the University of Illinois Extension Master Naturalist Program is to provide science-based educational opportunities that connect people with nature and help them become engaged environmental stewards. The program educates and trains adult volunteers so they are better equipped to share natural resource information with others in their communities, and to assist with environmental conservation and restoration activities. We all have a responsibility to protect the natural resources in the places where we live in order to ensure our world is “fit for the future.” The University of Illinois Extension partners with local agencies to accomplish the Master Naturalist mission.


What volunteer services do Master Naturalists provide? 

Volunteers participate in a variety of outreach and educational opportunities that are pre-approved by the Extension Unit to fulfill a 30-hour per year volunteer requirement. Volunteer opportunities may include, but are not limited to: assisting in the management of local natural areas; completing natural resource related office work with special interest groups or not-for-profit agencies; teaching about natural areas to adults or children; giving demonstrations and presentations to local groups; serving as a liaison between natural resource agencies and the public, and; other volunteer needs of our local area partners.

Learn. Connect. Advocate.

How do I become a Master Naturalist?

To become a Master Naturalist, you must submit an application to the University of Illinois Extension Bureau, LaSalle, Marshall, Putnam Unit. Trainees who have been accepted into the program are required to complete background checks. Trainees must also complete a required Child Protection Course. For current training options, click on “Become a Master Naturalist” or on the Training Flyer link given below. You may also wish to register on the Master Naturalist Waiting List so that you can be notified of the next training program.

2024 Master Naturalist Registration 

2024 Master Naturalist Schedule

View the Master Naturalist brochure for more information 

Public Resources

Master Naturalist Waiting List - Can't make 2024 training program? Register on the Master Naturalist Waiting List so you can be notified of the next training program.

Request a speaker - print, complete, and email to bettyann@illinois.edu


Volunteer Resources

New project/program request form 

Report volunteer hours

2019 Master Naturalist Volunteer Agreement 

Area Partners

Amboy Marsh/Gremel Wildlife Sanctuary

Dayton Bluffs

Dixon Waterfowl Refuge

Middle Rock Conservation Partners

Nachusa Grasslands

Starved Rock State Park

Youth and Adult Educational Outreach Programs