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Illinois Master Naturalist Training to be Held at Giant City

MAKANDA, Ill.— University of Illinois Extension will be hosting training this spring at Giant City State Park for the next cohort of Master Naturalists.

Do you enjoy spending time in nature? Would you like to provide education and service to help your local community? If so, the Illinois Master Naturalist volunteer training program may be for you!

The Master Naturalist program provides science-based educational opportunities that connect people with nature and help them become engaged environmental stewards. The program consists of 12 class sessions over a twelve-week period, taught by a diverse array of speakers on topics such as ecology, invasive species, mammals, birds, forestry, geology and much more.

The training this spring will be held on Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. from Jan. 23 to Apr. 9, 2020 at Giant City Visitor’s Center in Makanda, IL. Optional field trips will be provided based upon participants’ interest.

Following the training, participants complete a 60-hour volunteer internship within two years to become certified as Master Naturalists. After certification, volunteers continue learning and volunteering to remain active Master Naturalists by completing 10 hours of continuing education and 30 hours of volunteering each year.

Volunteer opportunities are numerous in the area, including helping with educational programs at local state parks and refuges, helping with natural areas restoration and education, or collecting data as a citizen scientist. “This program provides an opportunity for participants to make connections with local natural resource agencies and gain background knowledge on a wide range of natural resource topics,” said Erin Medvecz, extension educator and local master naturalist coordinator for Alexander, Johnson, Massac, Pulaski, and Union counties.

Applications, due January 10, 2020 can be found online at under the steps for joining tab. Acceptance into the program will require a mandatory background check and an informal in-person interview. The program has a $250 fee, which covers the cost of training and a Master Naturalist manual. If you have questions about the program, contact Extension Educators Austin Little at (618) 687-1727 or Erin Medvecz at (618) 833-6363.

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in any of our programs, please contact your local county extension office. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting access needs.

News sources:

Erin Medvecz, 618-883-6363,

Austin Little, 618-687-1727,