MDC to hold informational meeting in Joplin on Master Naturalist program

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JOPLIN, Mo. – Protecting Missouri’s natural resources is an ongoing and challenging task. The challenge is made easier when private citizen groups can coordinate efforts with state agencies to provide education, outreach information, and services. That’s the idea behind Missouri’s Master Naturalist program.

The Chert Glades Master Naturalist Chapter will hold a Master Naturalist informational meeting at 5:30 p.m. on July 5 at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center, located at 201 W. Riviera Drive in Joplin.

The Missouri Master Naturalist program mixes science with service. Master Naturalists engage Missourians in stewardship of the state’s natural resources through science-based education and volunteer community service. The program is a partnership between MDC and the University of Missouri Extension.

The July 5 meeting will have information on the program and on the Master Naturalist training course that will begin Aug. 16. This course is limited to 20 people. The deadline to enroll is July 12. The fee for the course is $110 (which is similar to the fee to become a member of the University of Missouri Extension’s Master Gardener program). Some scholarship opportunities are available.

Topics that will be covered in this training include key ecological concepts, karst topography, insects, Missouri’s natural communities, stream ecology, invasive species, birds, fish, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, ancient Missouri landscapes, natural resource management, and nature-centered public programs.

To become a Master Naturalist, participants must take 40 hours of basic training, eight hours of advanced training, and they must contribute 40 hours of natural resource related volunteer service within the following 15-month period.

The Chert Glades Chapter of Missouri Master Naturalists is based in Joplin. For more information about the chapter, go to or People can also contact MDC Conservation Educator Jeff Cantrell at or MDC Administrative Specialist Chelsea Cook at or they can call the Shoal Creek Center at 417-629-3434.

Information about the Master Naturalist program is available at For information about all MDC volunteer opportunities, visit