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Registration opens for summer 2022 Master Naturalist hybrid training

woman swinging on rope swing out above water
The Extension Master Naturalist training is not done in the typical educational setting. University of Illinois Extension staff in the Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit coordinate engaging and fun training sessions at natural areas throughout the four counties. During a past tour at Bellrose Island, Havana, Extension Master Naturalist Jana Maxwell was one of the group who took a turn on the rope swing. To get involved as an EMN volunteer or to attend the training for educational purposes only find out more at

LEWISTOWN, Ill. - University of Illinois Extension, Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit will be offering Extension Master Naturalist hybrid training this summer, June 6 -17, weekdays, Monday – Friday, 9 am to 2 pm. Space is limited. To begin the application process, or contact Christine Belless at, 309-547-3711.

The mission of the Extension Master Naturalist program is to provide science-based educational opportunities that connect people with nature and help them become engaged environmental stewards.

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." University of Illinois Extension collaborates with local agencies to accomplish the Illinois Master Naturalist mission.

Illinois Master Naturalist trainees participate in a minimum of 60 hours of initial training. The classes will be held at various locations throughout the four-county area. Hybrid training allows participants more flexibility in their time to complete independent study. Extension staff provide participants with videos, websites and articles to learn from on their own time. A combination of classroom instruction and field study will be used to present topics such as Archaeology, Ornithology, Entomology, Herpetology, Mammals, Botany, Ecology, Urban environment, Geology, Soil, Forest, Prairies, and Wetlands.

Educators participating in the training will be eligible for 60 Professional Development hours through the Regional Office of Education #53. Upon the completion of the course, and an additional $10 fee will be due to ROE #53.

Volunteer Option

For those wanting to become a Master Naturalist volunteer, the University of Illinois requires each applicant to complete an application, background screening paperwork and schedule an interview with Extension Program Coordinator, Christine Belless. The fee to participate is $250 and covers classroom sessions, field training, handouts, and the Master Naturalist manual. Upon completion of the Master Naturalist training, graduates who have selected the volunteer option, will become Master Naturalist Interns and have two years to complete 60 volunteer service hours to become Active Master Naturalist. To continue as an Active Master Naturalist volunteers must fulfill 30 volunteer hour and 10 continuing education hours annually.   

Education Only Option

For individuals who only want to attend Master Naturalist training for their personal or professional enrichment, but do not want to volunteer, the fee is $250, covering classroom sessions, field training, handouts, and the Master Naturalist manual. The education only participants will also need to complete an application and schedule an interview with Extension Program Coordinator, Christine Belless.

Applications, screening paperwork, interviews, and course fee, must be received by May 30.

For more information about University of Illinois Extension Illinois Master Naturalist program, contact Christine Belless, Extension Program Coordinator,, 15411 N IL 100 Hwy, Lewistown, IL 61542 or call 309-547-3711.

If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in any event listed in this news release, contact your local Extension office.

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.