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University of Minnesota Extension

Become a Master Naturalist volunteer

Who are Master Naturalist volunteers?

Any adult who is curious and enjoys learning about the natural world can become a 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 in-classroom training. The classroom training includes a variety of teaching methods—lectures, PowerPoints, hands-on activities, videos and field trips that provide the participants with information on Minnesota's natural history. We offer training courses for each of Minnesota’s three biomes:

  • Big Woods, Big Rivers – The Eastern Broadleaf Forest includes three of the largest rivers in the state.

  • North Woods, Great Lakes – The Laurentian Mixed Forest covers 23 million acres of northeastern Minnesota.

  • Prairies and Potholes – The Prairie Parkland Province biome is dotted with "pothole" lakes and is hotter and drier than other regions.

Participants must complete the full 40 hours of training to become a certified Minnesota Master Naturalist. You will be certified in the biome that you take, and you need only take one biome to be considered a Minnesota Master Naturalist.

Each course costs $275.00 and includes course manuals and supplies. Income-based scholarships are available.

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 including monarch larval monitoring, plant or animals 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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