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Adventures await in Naturalist Core Education program

group out hiking

LEWISTOWN, Ill. - University of Illinois Extension's Naturalist Core Education Training is designed for adults of any age who love to learn about the natural world. The goal of the program is not to teach people everything there is to know about the subjects being covered, but to give them an engaging exposure to Illinois' natural resources that encourages them to seek lifelong learning opportunities. 

The 5-day course will be held Monday, June 10 through Friday, June 14, from 9 am-3 pm and will include hands-on learning at natural outdoor areas throughout the four-county unit and digital learning on their own. 

The mission of the 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.

After completing the course people will have the option to further their development and become an Extension Master Naturalist through completion of an internship of 60 volunteer service hours. 

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.

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 the topics of Archaeology, Ornithology, Entomology, Herpetology, Mammals, Botany, Ecology, Urban environment, Geology, Soil, Forest, Prairies, and Wetlands.

This year’s training includes adventures at Wildlife Prairie Park, Spring Creek Preserve, Tawny Oaks, Illinois Central College, Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon, Dickson Mounds Museum, Rocky Glen, Forest Park Nature Center and Alpha Park Library. 

For more information about University of Illinois Extension Illinois Naturalist Core Education, contact Christine Belless, Extension Program Coordinator,  call 309.547.3711 or visit

About Extension

Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.