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Master Naturalist Applications Now Accepted for Tri-County Training in August

YORKVILLE – Do you have a passion for conservation and natural resources? Are you interested in volunteer opportunities? In August, University of Illinois Extension will begin a new season of its Master Naturalist training program for DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

The University of Illinois Master Naturalist program is designed to educate and train a corps of volunteers who specialize in conservation, management and interpretation of our natural resources. The program provides science-based educational opportunities that connect people with nature and help them become engaged environmental stewards.

In support of public health and safety priorities, training will be hosted online this year, with weekly sessions from 6 to 9 p.m. each Wednesday from Aug. 19 through Oct. 21, 2020. There also may be potential for sessions to shift to in-person meetings in Yorkville this fall, depending on future guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the University of Illinois.

Topics are presented by local experts and include botany, herpetology, ornithology, prairies, watersheds, mammals, entomology and more. Master Naturalist volunteers are required to complete 35 hours of instruction and field education, in addition to 60 hours of volunteer time. Field instruction usually includes three Saturday morning field trips or projects, and those will be determined at a later time this year.

Volunteer projects vary widely in the Master Naturalist program. Volunteers collaborate with local agencies on projects such as butterfly, frog, snake and rare plant monitoring, prairie restoration, invasive species control, and injured animal care. In 2019, a corps of 91 active Master Naturalists volunteered more than 4,000 hours working with local and national organizations such as forest preserves, Fermilab, and The Conservation Foundation.

Interested residents are invited to fill out the application form by June 26, 2020. It is anticipated that there will be more applications than spots available, and a notification email will be sent the week of June 29. Accepted applicants pay a $250 registration fee, which covers the online training and any field training, as well as the full-color Illinois Master Naturalist Manual. This year’s price is reduced due to the change to online sessions.

Go to to complete the application.  Space is limited. The program is designed for residents of DuPage, Kane and Kendall counties; non-resident applicants may be accepted if space allows.

To learn more, visit our local Master Naturalist page or visit the Illinois Master Naturalist website:

If you have any questions, contact Program Coordinator Sarah Fellerer at If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate, please make this known when you apply. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting your access needs.

Important Dates:

  • June 26: Application Deadline
  • Week of June 29: Acceptance/decline notification
  • July 15: Fee due
  • Aug. 19: First class
  • Program base office: U of I Extension, 7775B IL Route 47, Yorkville
  • Serving: DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties
  • Training Dates: Wednesdays, Aug.19 to Oct. 21, 6 to 9 p.m.