"The program is designed to train volunteers in natural resources so they can become natural area stewards, educators, and advocates," explains Christine Belless, program coordinator with Extension.
The program provides science-based educational opportunities that connect people with nature and help them become engaged environmental stewards.
The following subjects will be taught during the program: Ecological Concepts, Botany, Geology, Anthropology, Forest Ecology, Grassland Ecology, Ornithology, Mammology, Herpetology, Entomology, and Aquatic Systems.
The Master Naturalist program is a combination of education and volunteer service. With the help of local experts, U of I Extension provides the educational support for the program, while the internship service time will be done with their primary partners: The Nature Conservancy, Dickson Mounds Museum, University of Illinois-Springfield at Emiquon, Forest Park Nature Center, Camp Wokanda, Jubilee State Park, Chautauqua Wildlife Refuge, Soldwedel Program Center, and Wildlife Prairie Park.
The classes will meet every Tuesday, August 26 to October 28, 2014, from 9 am to 4 pm. One or two Wednesday field trips are planned for hands-on training. A graduation and recognition ceremony will be held Saturday, November 1, 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at Dickson Mound Museum.
All applicants must attend a mandatory orientation meeting. These are scheduled as follows:
- Dickson Mounds Museum - Tuesday, June 24, 10:00 a.m.
- Fulton County Extension office - Tuesday, June 24, 6:00 p.m.
- Peoria County Extension office - Tuesday, July 15, 10:00 a.m.
- Wildlife Prairie Park - Wednesday, July 16, 2:00 p.m.
For additional information, please call 309-547-3711.