MDC offers Master Naturalist training in Joplin

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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 – as well as state agencies – can provide education, outreach information, and services. That’s the idea behind Missouri’s Master Naturalist program.

The Chert Glades Master Naturalist Chapter will hold two Master Naturalist training orientations – 6-8 p.m. on Monday (Dec. 4) and 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Jan. 4. Both orientations will be at the Wildcat Glades Conservation Center, located at 201 W. Riviera Drive in Joplin. To register for either of these events, call 417-629-3423.

Attendance at either of these orientation events is necessary to take part in the Master Naturalist training, which begins Feb. 5. Training classes will be 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Mondays from Feb. 5 to April 30 at Wildcat Glades Conservation Center. There are also three Saturday field sessions.

In addition attending either of the orientation sessions, individuals must also register for the Feb. 5-April 30 training. Registration is Dec. 4-Jan. 8 and the enrollment fee is $85.

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 the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the University of Missouri Extension.

“The intent of the Master Naturalist program is to better connect people to the environment and to nature,” said MDC Volunteer and Interpretive Coordinator Syd Hime. “There are a lot of people with an interest in nature who are looking for opportunities to develop their skills as a naturalist and use those skills in volunteer service. We provide that through a community-based natural resource volunteer and education program.”

Master Naturalists are given training regarding nature in the region where chapters are based. Members help MDC and conservation partners through citizen science, educational programs, and stewardship projects. To become a certified Master Naturalist, participants must complete an initial training course and eight hours of advanced training. They must also contribute 40 hours of natural resource-related volunteer service through a local chapter.

For more information about the Chert Glades Chapter’s training, contact MDC Education Consultant Jeff Cantrell at or 417-629-3423.

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