Master Naturalists

University of Illinois Extension's Illinois Master Naturalist Program is designed for adults of any age that want to learn about and positively impact their local environment. The goal of the program 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 lifelong learning opportunities to further your development as a naturalist.

Master Naturalist Program participants have the opportunity to:

  • learn about 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 must complete 40 hours of field and classroom learning and 60 hours volunteer service within two years to become a Certified Master Naturalist. To remain active in the program, an additional 30 hours volunteer service and 10 hours of continuing education must be performed yearly. Read more in the Master Naturalist policies and bylaws

A training session will only be held if 10 or more participants are registered.

Next Available Training

The next training opportunity will be in Fall 2024. Please contact the Extension office at 618-344-4230 if you are interested in receiving the application and training details when they are available.

Resources for Instructors

The Master Naturalist Program is eligible for CPDU credits. The following resources may be useful for those leading courses for Master Naturalists.

Program Fees

The Illinois Master Naturalist course fee is $250.

This fee covers:

  • 48-hour general ecology course that combines both classroom and field learning (must attend min. of 40 hours to graduate)
  • One-on-one assistance in finding a volunteer position that fits your interests, abilities, and time restraints for as long as you remain a Certified Master Naturalist
  • Continuing-education events and opportunities

After an application is received and accepted, you will be notified of your payment options.

Learn More