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Expanding outreach and making impacts

Since the program’s inception, Master Naturalist volunteers, students and instructors have reached out to at least one person in almost every county in Minnesota. Through our advanced trainings, hosted stewardship programs and facilitated volunteer activities, we've made big impacts across the state.

2020 by the numbers

  • 1,241 active Master Naturalist volunteers across the state
  • Contributed 76,969 volunteer hours

Read the 2020 Annual Report.

Advanced training

Realizing a need for continuing education, the Minnesota Master Naturalist program began to offer advanced courses to its volunteers in 2008. These courses provide Master Naturalists and the public with opportunities to participate in a recreational activity and learn about a new natural resource topic. Topics build on the biome curriculum.

We have offered hundreds of advanced trainings since the inception of the program, including:

  • Monarch larvae monitoring

  • Phenology volunteer training

  • Bird banding

  • Spiders workshop

  • Stream ecology

Gathering Partners

The Minnesota Master Naturalist program has hosted an annual conference since 2008. Eleven conferences offered at rotating locations throughout the state have attracted hundreds of participants each year.

In 2015, the conference changed its name to Gathering Partners of Natural Resources to recognize new, expanded partnerships with the University of Minnesota Extension Forestry team, the Minnesota Forestry Association and the Phenology Network. In 2018 we welcomed the Extension Aquatic Invasive Species program to our mix, and we continue to look for ways to expand the quality programming offered to conference attendees each year.

Master Naturalists socialize with others dedicated to stewardship of Minnesota’s natural resources at the conference. They also participate in workshops that count toward required continuing education.

Instructor training

The Minnesota Master Naturalist program began offering instructor training in 2007. Since then, we have educated over 300 instructors in counties across Minnesota to teach biome courses and advanced topics. Many of our instructors have ties with nature centers or government agencies that offer (or plan to offer) Master Naturalist courses.

Instructor training takes place all over Minnesota, and we expand our reach every year. Volunteer instructors help us to offer many more courses than we would be able to otherwise.

National Public Lands Day

National Public Lands Day is a national day of service observed annually on the fourth weekend of September. Each year the Minnesota Master Naturalist program coordinates at least 10 volunteer sites around the state. Projects include invasive species removal, bud capping and pollinator garden restoration.

In 2017, Minnesota Master Naturalist hosted events at 12 sites around the state, where 227 volunteers invested over a thousand hours valued at $27,376.80!

Invasive Blitz

Invasive Blitz started in 2013 as a part of a Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) grant with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The advanced training educates Master Naturalists and the public on how to identify and eradicate invasive species.

Master Naturalists participants who complete the training volunteer at local organizations to organize community “blitz” events and may adopt an area to monitor and eliminate invasive species.

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