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Youth invited to join Junior Master Naturalist program

Does your child enjoy the outdoors, playing, and learning more about the natural world? Then the Junior Master Naturalist program is the perfect way for your 9 – 12-year-old to explore and discover nature.

University of Illinois Extension Junior Master Naturalist program provides science-based educational opportunities that connect kids with nature and helps them become engaged environmental stewards.  This is a new program that connects the 4-H and Extension Master Naturalists programs. This special interest 4-H club will inspire members to gain a sense of belonging with hands-on exploration through nature.

Former science teacher and Extension Master Naturalist Jenny Beal and Canton Park District Superintendent of Recreation Amanda Atchley are leaders of the new Jr. Master Naturalist 4-H Club. It is set to start January 16, 2023 and will meet at Big Creek Park’s Baker Recreation Center in Canton. The club will meet once a month with a wide range of nature related topics and activities planned.

Monday, January 16 – Wildlife of Illinois (No School Day)

Location: Big Creek Park’s Baker Rec. Center *dress in layers and be prepared to go outside.

Time 1-3pm.


Thursday, February 23 – Fossils/Geology

Location: Big Creek Park’s Baker Rec. Center

Time 3:30-5:30pm


Saturday, March 18 – Climate Change & Weather

Location: Big Creek Park’s Baker Rec. Center

Time 1-3pm


Wednesday, April 19 – Insects/Wildflowers/Trees

Location: Big Creek Park Bottom Area

Time 3:30-5:30pm


Wednesday, May 24 Pond Explorers/Aquatics

Location: Lakeland Park Pavilion 

Time 1-3pm


Wednesday, June 14 – Camping Adventures

Location: Big Creek Park Pavilion

Time 1-3pm


Thursday, July 20 - Pool Party & Plans for next year

Location: Big Creek Park Pool 

Time 1-3pm


Cost - $20 per child

To register, families can set up an account with the Illinois 4-H enrollment system,, and select the 4-H club named Junior Master Naturalist. If you have questions about the registration process more details are available at or by calling University of Illinois Extension at 309-547-3711.

For more information about club plans contact Amanda Atchley at 309-647-7665.