Extension Logo
Extension Logo
University of Minnesota Extension

Minnesota Master Naturalist: Prairies and Potholes

Event information



Central time


Lac qui Parle Area
14047 20th Street NW
Watson, MN 56295



Lac qui Parle

You will not find a better place on the tallgrass prairie to learn about the Prairies and Potholes biome. Lac qui Parle State Park (LqPSP) has both a river floodplain and prairie hillsides and is home to a very diverse collection of wildlife. The course will also access DNR Wildlife Management Area properties. The area boasts a phenomenal migratory flight territory with a variety of birds to see and learn about. In addition to the physical and natural features of the park there is a rich history with the Dakota people who include this part of the river basin as part of their ancestral homelands. Class will cover topics of geology, water, botany, wildlife, humans, and interpretation.

All participants will complete a group capstone service project over the course of the week. Daily schedules will vary to take advantage of weather, guest presenters, field trips and natural occurrences. This course will be taught by multiple instructors and with access to the outdoors, and will provide participants the opportunity to immediately connect with relevant examples of content presented. Attendance at all class sessions and completion of capstone required for graduation.

The course will meet Monday through Friday, 9-8:30 p.m.,  beginning June 26 and ending June 30, 2023.

MEALS: You will need to bring your lunch and snacks. There is a fridge on site but space is very limited. On Wednesday evening, the local chapter of Minnesota Master Naturalists will host a potluck dinner and guest speaker providing the participants the opportunity to learn first-hand from locals what makes the tallgrass prairie an amazing place to experience. In the past, we have organized dinners out at local places for interested people.

LODGING: There are a variety of locations in the area that provide both sleeper cabins as well as camping options. Lac qui Parle State Park, Upper Sioux Agency State Park, Chippewa County Park (between Granite Falls and Montevideo on Hwy 212, Lagoon Park in Montevideo, Memorial Park in Granite Falls, Prairies Edge Casino, Resort and RV Park and various Air B & B options.


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.

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 of the course start date.

About the Prairies and Potholes course

The official name for the ecological province called the Prairies and Potholes by the Minnesota Master Naturalist Program is the Prairie Parkland Province. This biome was historically composed mainly of tallgrass prairie. Today it is used for agricultural purposes. The glaciers deposited between 100 and 600 feet of drift over the entire region. The Prairies and Potholes biome covers just over 16 million acres on the western edge of the state.

The biome is a hot and dry place, where evapotranspiration is annually higher than precipitation. In the northern portions of the biome, glacial kettles have filled with water and form the "potholes" that dot the landscape. These bodies of water are important for migratory waterfowl, and waterfowl production. The Minnesota River now flows through the old channel carved by Glacial River Warren, an outlet for Glacial Lake Agassiz.

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

Upcoming events

© 2023 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.