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.
Prairies & PotholesIn this core course, training is tailored to Minnesota's Prairie Parkland Province, made up mostly of tallgrass prairie. This area historically
covered the far western edge of Minnesota, encompassing approximately 16 million acres. Today less than 1% of the prairie remains intact. This highly fertile land is used for agricultural purposes today. The region was covered by glaciers which deposited drift, ranging in depth from 100-600 feet over the entire area.
Prairies & Potholes 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. Capstone options will be presented on the first day of class, and participants will choose a capstone that they can work on and complete before finishing the course.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration questions: Extension Registration, email@example.com
User Name or Password help: UMN Help Desk, HELP@umn.edu, 612-301-4357
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we will provide a mail-in registration form. Thank you.