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.
The local Master Naturalist program is designed to educate and train a corps of volunteers to provide support in the conservation, management, and interpretation of natural resources. The program provides science based educational opportunities that connect people with nature and help them become engaged environmental stewards.
The training will prepare volunteer Master Naturalists to more effectively participate in local environmental education and stewardship. They will learn about and may participate in citizen scientist activities. They will be able to share their knowledge, skills, and passion about the natural world with others so they also can become more engaged. Volunteer work includes, but is not limited to:
- Assisting in natural areas management
- Teaching adults or children about natural areas
- Demonstrations and presentations to local groups
- Act as a liaison between natural resource agencies and the public
- Serving as a resource person to groups in need of natural resource assistance
- Participate in citizen scientist activities
The next training session is tentatively scheduled for fall of 2020. Topics for training will be selected from the following: Ecological concepts, geology, archaeology, botany, forest ecology, grassland, ecology, ornithology, mammology, herpetology, entomology, wetlands and aquatic life. Initial training is approximately 40 hours of classroom and field trips.
You become a Master Naturalist by joining a class, completing the training, passing the end-of-class test, and providing volunteer hours to the Master Naturalist program and/or its sponsors and partners. Read more below and join our interest list.
What qualifications do I need to become a Master Naturalist?
Anyone 18 or older can become and Illinois Master Naturalist, it does not require a degree or experience. You must be willing to devote time to volunteering and to continuing education. This training session is open to residents of DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties only. Residents of other counties are welcome to apply, non-resident applicants will be accepted if space allows. Training classes are scheduled one evening a week (6-9 pm) for ten weeks plus three Saturday morning field trips.
Topics for training will be selected from the following:
Ecological concepts, geology, archaeology, botany, forest ecology, grassland, ecology, ornithology, mammology, herpetology, entomology, wetlands and aquatic life. Initial training is approximately 40 hours of classroom and field trips.
When is the next training?
The next training is tentatively scheduled for late summer 2020. Interested applicants will receive an email notification when registration is open in mid-May of 2020.
The intern phase of training involves volunteering 60 hours over the course of the first two years. In future years, Master Naturalists continue with an additional 10 hours of continuing education and 30 hours of volunteer service back to the local community.
Most classes and meetings are held at the Kendall County Extension office which is located at 7775B IL Route 47 in Yorkville. Field trip locations are to be announced.
The fee of $350 covers classroom and field training, and the Illinois Master Naturalist manual, this fee may change due to state budget support. There is no cost to remain a Certified Master Naturalist in subsequent years.