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State Master Naturalist Conference

Grassy area with yellow flowers and Master Naturalist monarch logo overlay.
Event Date(s)
Touch of Nature

Plan a trip to southern Illinois for this year’s State Master Naturalist Conference. The event is hosted by Extension Master Naturalist volunteers and staff serving the southernmost counties of the state. The conference is planned to be a fun-filled learning experience for all. The conference will be held at Touch of Nature on Thursday, September 21, with an optional field trip day on Friday, September 22. Join us for the days of the conference that work best for you. 

A keynote presentation by Chris Benda, Illinois Botanizer, will be followed by a combination of indoor and outdoor sessions led by fantastic local speakers and experts. Shop our vendors, visit our exhibitor booths, and enjoy time networking with other Master Naturalist volunteers from across the state. Registration is required. Conference costs, lunch selections, and optional t-shirt add-ons are available at the registration link. 

Check out the event schedule with full descriptions in the 2023 Master Naturalist Conference Booklet

Conference Schedule

Thursday, September 21
9 a.m. - Registration opens
10 a.m. - Welcome and Keynote Presentation (Chris Benda, Illinois Botanizer)
11 a.m. - Breakout Session 1
12 p.m. - Lunch
1 p.m. - Breakout Session 2
2:30 p.m. - Break
2:45 p.m. - Breakout Session 3
4:15 p.m. - Wrap-Up

Friday, September 22
9 a.m. - Registrants will meet at their designated field trip location
9:30 a.m. - Field Trips and Guided Hikes
12 p.m. - Dismissal from individual field trip sites 

The deadline to register is Wednesday, September 6, unless capacity is reached sooner. 

Lodging for the Illinois Master Naturalist State Conference

Lodging for the conference is not provided by Illinois Extension. Participants may want to explore local cabin rentals within the Shawnee National Forest area. There are also additional hotels nearby. Links below: 

For general conference questions, contact Erin Garrett at or 618-524-2270 or contact Kim Rohling at or 618-687-1727.

If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate, please contact