University of Illinois Extension, Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell counties will be offering Naturalist Core Education (Master Naturalist) hybrid training this fall October 2-6, Monday – Friday, 9am to 3pm. Space is limited.
The application process includes an online registration, a few forms, and an interview with Extension staff.
The mission of the University of Illinois Extension Naturalist Core Education 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 to ensure our world is "fit for the future." The University of Illinois Extension collaborates with local agencies to accomplish the Illinois Master Naturalist mission.
Naturalist Core Education trainees participate in a minimum of 60 hours of initial in person and digital training. The classes will be held at various locations throughout the four-county area. Hybrid training will allow participants more time for independent study, viewing videos, visiting websites and related reading. A combination of classroom instruction and field study will be used to present topics such as Archaeology, Ornithology, Entomology, Herpetology, Mammals, Botany, Ecology, Urban environment, Geology, Soil, Forest, Prairies, and Wetlands.
Master Naturalist Volunteer Option
For those wanting to become an official Master Naturalist volunteer, University of Illinois requires each applicant to complete an application, background screening paperwork and schedule an interview with Extension Program Coordinator Christine Belless.
The fee to participate is $250 and covers classroom sessions, field training, handouts, and the Master Naturalist manual. Upon completion of Naturalist Core Education, graduates who have selected the volunteer option, will become Master Naturalist Interns and have 2 years to complete 60 volunteer service hours to become Active Master Naturalist. To continue as an Active Master Naturalist volunteers must fulfill 30 volunteer hour and 10 continuing education hours annually.
Education Only Option
For individuals who only want to attend Naturalist Core Education for their personal or professional enrichment, but do not want to volunteer, the fee is $250, covering classroom sessions, field training, handouts, and the Master Naturalist manual. The education only participants will also need to complete an application and schedule an interview with Extension Program Coordinator Christine Belless.
Applications, screening paperwork, interviews, and course fee, must be received by September 18. Space is limited and registration will close once the class is full.
Complete training schedule with daily locations and topics.