St. LOUIS, Mo.—For anyone with the desire to enhance their knowledge of the natural world, to serve both community and nature, and to share that passion with others, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the University of Missouri (MU) Extension have the perfect answer: the Missouri Master Naturalist Program.
Missouri Master Naturalist mix science with service. They engage Missourians in the stewardship of our state's natural resources through science-based education and volunteer community service. To get started as a volunteer, MDC and MU Extension will be holding a Master Naturalist training course in St. Louis.
The 14-week course runs from June 20 through Sept. 19. It provides an opportunity to experience the state’s diverse ecosystems with the help of expert environmental scientists from MDC and MU Extension. Participants develop their own skills as educators and stewards of the natural communities where they live.
Class locations will rotate between several local conservation sites, including Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center, August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area, Shaw Nature Reserve and Columbia Bottom Conservation Area. Classes will be held Tuesday evenings from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., with a few Saturday field trips.
To become accepted into the program, each student must agree to complete at least 40 hours of volunteer service and eight hours of continuing education within a 15-month period. Students must also join one of three Master Naturalist volunteer chapters in Franklin, St. Louis and St. Charles counties. The chapters provide many service opportunities with local partners.
Those interested in the course should contact the St. Louis County MU Extension Office at 314-400-2115. Class openings are limited and registration fills quickly. For more information, go to www.goo.gl/HdFC9H.
Missouri Master Naturalists become part of a locally-based team of volunteers who work to conserve Missouri’s natural communities by surveying plants and animals, restoring landscapes to their natural state, help friends and neighbors appreciate the natural environment, and develop hands-on nature programs, new trails and educational sites. Naturalists gain a wealth of natural science information in many settings given by some of Missouri’s finest natural resource specialists.
For more on the Missouri Master Naturalist Program, go to http://extension.missouri.edu/masternaturalist/home.aspx.