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University of Minnesota Extension

Minnesota Master Naturalist: Big Woods Big Rivers

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Central time


Camp Fire Minnesota
3300 Tanadoona Dr
Excelsior, MN 55331



Benjamin Gieseke, 651-491-6407 or benjamingieseke@gmail.com

Camp Fire Minnesota

Come learn about the Big Woods region of Minnesota at Camp Fire MN's beautiful location in Excelsior. Classes will include onsite exploration of the Big Woods biome, hands-on activities, presentations led by Camp Fire's naturalist team and guest speakers, and field trips to amazing natural settings within the Twin Cities. You will learn about geology, plant communities, wildlife, ecology, aquatic systems and human impacts on this region

All students will complete a capstone service project connecting them to volunteer opportunities at Camp Fire or other local environmental organizations.

  • Class meets on Tuesdays from November 7, 2023 to January 16, 2024 from 6 - 8:30 p.m.
  • Field trips are on Saturdays on November 18 and December 16, 2023 from  9 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Potential and current Master Naturalist volunteers.


$295. Includes manuals and supplies.

If you would like to receive a scholarship do not register now. Instead, complete this scholarship form and wait to be contacted before enrolling.

About the Big Woods, Big Rivers course

In this core course, training is tailored to Minnesota's Eastern Broadleaf Forest biome. This area makes a diagonal sash across Minnesota, starting at the northwest corner of the state with a narrow band and widening out in the southeast. It encompasses approximately 12 million acres, and includes three of the largest rivers in the state.

Big Woods, Big Rivers covers topics of geology, glaciers, water, wildlife, humans, ecology, and botany using a variety of teaching techniques, ranging from lectures, classroom discussions, field trips, field work, small group work, and readings.

Participants must complete the full 40 hours of training to become a certified Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer.

Each participant must complete a group capstone project. Participants will choose a capstone that they can complete before finishing the course.

Learn more about Master Naturalist volunteer training

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