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University of Minnesota Extension

Minnesota Master Naturalist: North Woods Great Lakes

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National Loon Center
14303 Gould St
Crosslake, MN 56442



National Loon Center

Join us in the heart of lake county and the freshwater environments where our iconic state bird breeds. Follow the call of the loon to the North Woods, Great Lakes course held at the National Loon Center in Crosslake, Minn. We’ll explore common loon biology, field ecology, water quality, the species of the North Woods, stewardship, community science, and more. By the end of the course, you’ll grow your naturalist’s appreciation for the love of lake life so inherent to many Minnesotans.

The training you receive in this course will prepare you to become involved in the many outdoor stewardship activities available in the Brainerd Lakes Area, including at the National Loon Center. The 40-hour course will also include field trips, guest speakers, and hands-on activities.

  • The course will run from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays beginning April 5 and ending June 7, 2023.
  • Field trips are on Saturdays, April 29 and May 20, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

A capstone project is expected of participants, as well as the commitment to volunteer for 40 hours during the year.


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.


Cancelation requests received more than two weeks before the start of class are refunded minus a $20 processing fee. Cancelation requests received less than two weeks before the start of class are refunded minus $50.

About the North Woods, Great Lakes course

This core course's training is tailored to Minnesota’s unique Laurentian Mixed Forest biome. The largest biome of the state, it covers over 23 million acres of northeast Minnesota. The region contains a multitude of landscapes, including swampland, bogs, vast forests, lakes and exposed bedrock.

North Woods, Great Lakes covers topics of geology, glaciers, water, wildlife, humans, ecology, and botany using a variety of teaching techniques, ranging from lectures, classroom discussions, field trips, fieldwork, 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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