Skip to main content

Master Naturalist Applications open through April 30, 2020


COOK COUNTY, IL— Serve your community by becoming a Master Naturalist with University of Illinois Extension. Taught by regional environmental experts and by Cook County Extension Educator, Abigail Garofalo, Master Naturalist trainees receive 50 hours of classroom education and field study on the basic principles of the natural world; the interdependent nature of the plants and animals in Illinois ecosystems; the mammals, insects, reptiles and fish and birds living in Illinois; how everyone is part of and impacts nature in rural or urban areas; and, practical techniques for both teaching about and managing natural areas. Once certified, Master Naturalists volunteer 30 hours per year serving as environmental ambassadors and assisting with conservation and restoration activities.

Applications are available online until April 30, 2020, followed by interviews in May and June. Classes run from August 3 to October 10 on Monday evenings and Saturdays at locations such as Forest Preserves of Cook County Nature Centers, Environmental Education Centers, and local museums. Successful applicants must pass required background checks and pay a one-time $175 training fee. Seats are limited.

The purpose of the Master Naturalist Program is to develop an expanding corps of well-educated volunteers to provide service and support for partnering organizations in the conservation, restoration, management, and interpretation of natural resources and natural areas. In 2019, 100 Master Naturalist volunteers donated over 7,000 hours in Cook County.

Apply to become a Master Naturalist

For more information or if you require any special accommodations to participate in the Master Naturalist Program, please contact Valerie Kehoe,