The mission of the Minnesota Master Naturalist Program is to promote awareness, understanding, and stewardship of Minnesota’s natural environment by developing a corps of well-informed citizens dedicated to conservation education and service within their communities.

Our core biome courses are designed to give a general overview of one of Minnesota's three biomes:

  • Big Woods, Big Rivers - Eastern broadleaf forest
  • Prairies and Potholes - Prairie parkland
  • North Woods, Great Lakes - Laurentian mixed forest

Each biome training course includes 40 hours of lectures, hands-on activities, videos and field trips that cover in-depth, specific aspects of Minnesota's natural history. After completion of the core course, you will be a certified Master Naturalist in the biome that you take, and you need only take one biome course to start volunteering.

All books and necessary materials are included in the course fee, and will be provided to you during your first class.

North Woods, Great Lakes

In this core course, 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, field work, small group work and readings.

Attendance and Capstone Project

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 work on and complete before finishing the course.

Volunteer Service

Following the completion of the training course, Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteers will be expected to complete 40 hours of volunteer service per year to be considered an active Master Naturalist. Any time spent on the capstone project and any volunteer service hours completed after graduating from the training course may be counted towards the 40 hours. There are four basic areas of service:

  • Stewardship. Natural resource management activities such as invasive species removal or restoration projects.
  • Education/Interpretation. Public presentations of natural resource information, educational materials development, or leading hikes.
  • Citizen Science. Data collection and other support for research projects. Examples include Monarch larval monitoring, plant or animal counts, or water quality monitoring.
  • Program Support. Projects include working in a store or office of the Minnesota Master Naturalist or sponsor or serving as a local chapter organizer.


Course content questions 


Registration questions

Extension Registration, ext-reg@umn.edu

User Name or Password help

UMN Help Desk, HELP@umn.edu, 612-301-4357

Get help with online learning


Visit the Minnesota Master Naturalist website for more information on this and upcoming courses.

The best way to register is to register online and pay with a credit card. If you must pay with a check contact ext-reg@umn.edu and we will provide a mail-in registration form. Thank you.


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