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University of Minnesota Extension

Become a Minnesota Master Naturalist volunteer

Who are Master Naturalist volunteers?

Any adult who is curious and enjoys learning about the natural world can become a Minnesota Master Naturalist. If you enjoy hiking, bird watching, following tracks, or identifying wildflowers, you'll fit right in with our motivated group of fun and interesting people. Teachers, retired professionals, nature guides, hunters, eco-tour operators, farmers and more count themselves among the ranks of our members.

Training tailored to Minnesota’s unique biomes

The Minnesota Master Naturalist training course consists of 40 hours of classroom training that includes lectures, hands-on activities, videos and field trips covering Minnesota's natural history.

Each 40-hour course focuses on one of Minnesota’s three biomes:

  • Big Woods, Big Rivers – This course focuses on the Eastern Broadleaf Forest, which includes three of the largest rivers in the state.
  • North Woods, Great Lakes – Explore the Laurentian Mixed Forest that covers 23 million acres of northeastern Minnesota.
  • Prairies and Potholes – Learn about the Prairie Parkland Province biome, which is dotted with "pothole" lakes and is hotter and drier than other regions.

To become a certified Minnesota Master Naturalist you must complete the full 40-hour course. You will be certified in the biome that you take, and you need only take one biome course to be a Minnesota Master Naturalist volunteer.

Each course costs $295.00 and includes course manuals and supplies. Income-based scholarships are available.

Learn more about Master Naturalist volunteer training

Volunteer service

Becoming a volunteer in the program is easy, but it does require a substantial time commitment. After completing the training course, Master Naturalists carry out at least 40 hours of volunteer service per year in these four basic areas:

  • Stewardship projects such as habitat restoration or invasive species removal.

  • Education for the public, like teaching workshops, leading hikes or developing materials.

  • Citizen science such as monarch larval monitoring, plant or animal counts or water quality monitoring.

  • Program support for Master Naturalist sponsors or chapters.

Get started today!

Create an account on the Minnesota Master Naturalist site, then log in and choose the course that's right for you.

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