ST. JOSEPH Mo -- A Master Naturalist chapter is being formed in St. Joseph, giving northwest Missouri residents an opportunity to help with nature and education projects in the region.
“We are looking for motivated volunteers who really want to make a difference for the outdoors,” said T.J. Peacher, chapter advisor and a conservation education supervisor for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).
Forming the chapter is a cooperative effort between MDC and the University of Missouri Extension Service. Master Naturalists get involved in a variety of projects such as collecting seed for prairie restoration, monitoring bird populations, controlling invasive species and giving educational presentations about forests, fishes, wetlands and wildlife.
A Master Naturalist informational meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Jan. 25 at the MDC Northwest Regional Office, 701 James McCarthy Drive, on the Missouri Western State University campus in St. Joseph. Those interested can also pick up an application at the MDC office.
Applications to participate in the program must be received by Feb. 8. Classes will be from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays starting on Feb. 22 and ending with graduation on May 24. The classes will be held at the MDC office.
The program offers 40 hours of initial training in ecology, wildlife management, soils, geology and nature interpretation. To become certified Master Naturalists, participants must donate 40 hours of volunteer service and take an additional eight hours of training in a specialty area. There are also four field trips on Saturdays, and participants must attend at least two.
There is a $100 charge for the Master Naturalist classes, which covers educational materials and money for the chapter to host special events or guest speakers. No other dues or fees are required.
For more information, call Peacher at 816-271-3100 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.