YARD AND GARDEN: Illinois Master Naturalist Program Accepting Training Applications | Home & Garden

MATTOON — The University of Illinois Extension, serving Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Moultrie and Shelby counties, will offer Illinois Master Naturalist training Aug. 10 through Oct. 10. 11.

The majority of classes will be held on Tuesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Douglas-Hart Nature Center in Mattoon. There will also be on-site classes at Warbler Ridge Woods and the Shelbyville Visitor Center.

The mission of the University of Illinois Master Naturalist Extension program is to provide science-based educational opportunities that connect people to nature and help them become committed stewards of the environment.

“Master Naturalist training is a great way to learn about our local natural areas, meet with people interested in helping our environment, and build good relationships,” says Jenny Lee, Outreach Program Coordinator.

The program educates and trains adult volunteers so that they are better equipped to share information about natural resources with others in their communities and to assist in environmental conservation and restoration activities. We all have a responsibility to protect the natural resources of the places where we live to ensure that our world is ‘fit for the future’.

For those interested in becoming a volunteer Master Naturalist, the University of Illinois requires each applicant to complete an application, background check documents, and schedule an interview with Lee. The participation fee is $200 and covers classroom sessions, field training, handouts, and the Master Naturalist Handbook. Financial assistance is available.

Upon completion of Master Naturalist training, graduates will become Master Naturalist Trainees and will have two years to complete 60 hours of volunteer service to become an active Master Naturalist. To continue as an active Master Naturalist, volunteers must complete 30 hours of volunteer work and 10 hours of continuing education per year. There are many exciting opportunities throughout the year to achieve these hours.

Applications, screening documents, interviews and course fees must be received and completed by Monday, July 25. For more information, Lee at 217-345-7034.

Illinois Extension leads public outreach for the University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that empower Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.

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