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University of Minnesota Extension

Minnesota Master Naturalist: Big Woods Big Rivers

Through presentations, discussions, small group activities, hikes and other outdoor activities we will savor the region's slow roll into autumn. This course will address geology, plant communities, wildlife, aquatic systems and more. All participants will complete small group capstone service projects.

  • Class meets Thursdays, 6-8 p.m., from Sept. 14 through Nov. 16.
  • Two all-day field trips on Oct. 1 and 15 are required. 

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


Alan Holtzer has been a Naturalist for Three Rivers Park District since 2006. He particularly enjoys teaching and learning about insects, river systems, and useful wild plants, and is a certified wildlife tracker.

Anne Jaeger has been a Naturalist for Three Rivers since 2008. She especially enjoys the intersection of ecology, wellness and human responsibility for natural resource conservation.


Potential and current Master Naturalist volunteers.



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.

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, this course material is available in alternative formats upon request. Direct requests to Julie Larson, larso143@umn.edu at least two weeks in advance.

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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