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Laurie George
Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms
University of Illinois Extension
4618 Broadway
Mt. Vernon, IL 62864
Phone: 618-242-0780
FAX: 618-242-0781
ljgeorge@illinois.edu

Gail DeVilbiss
Program Coordinator, Agriculture and Natural Resources
University of Illinois Extension
1163 N. Fourth Street
Breese, IL 62230
Phone: 618-526-4551
FAX: 618-526-4597
devilbis@illinois.edu

Christina Lueking
Program Coordinator, ANR
University of Illinois Extension
1404 E Main
Rt 50 East
Salem, IL 62881
Phone: 618-548-1446
FAX: 618-548-9891
lueking@illinois.edu

Illinois Master Naturalist Program

Illinois Master Naturalist Program

The University of Illinois Extension Master Naturalist program provides science-based educational opportunities that connect people with nature and help them become engaged environmental stewards. The Program educates and trains adult volunteers to help disseminate natural resource information to the public and to assist with conservation and restoration activities in their community.

With the help of local experts, University of Illinois Extension provides the educational support for the program, while volunteering is typically coordinated through local partners: US Army Corp of Engineers, Heartland Conservancy, Illinois Natural History Survery, Natural Resources Conservation Services, and Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

WHO CAN BECOME A MASTER NATURALIST?

An Illinois Master Naturalist is an adult who loves the outdoors, has a concern for the local environment and wants to provide education and service to help their local community.

You do not need to have a college degree or years of experience.  You need to have a sincere desire to learn and share information about nature and be willing to devote time to volunteering and on-going training.

WHAT TOPICS ARE COVERED?

Topics relate to local natural areas and may include: Botany, Environmental Ethics, Archeology, Climate, Forestry, Grassland Ecology, Geology, Prairies, Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, Insects, and Aquatic systems.

HOW DO I VOLUNTEER?

After training has started, each Master Naturalist must complete 60 hours of internship in a variety of approved projects which include natural resource stewardship, citizen scientist activities and public education.  Projects are geared to the needs of the local community. 

Opportunities include, but are not limited to:

  • Conservation activities in local nature areas
  • Creating and maintaining demonstration areas
  • Stream, wetland, forest and prairie restoration
  • Natural resource work for local not-for-profits
  • Environmental teaching through interpretive tours or displays

HOW DO I BECOME A CERTIFIED MASTER NATURALIST?

Certification requires the completion of the initial training and 60 hours of volunteer internship.  To remain certified, a Master Naturalist must complete at least 30 hours of volunteer time and 10 hours of continued education each year.

PRE-REGISTRATION:

Pre-registration is required prior to January 20, 2015 for acceptance into the program. Complete the mail-in application form below and submit to the address indicated.  If you wish to register online, the form can be found on the Extension "Home" page under "Online Forms and Surveys".  Once the application form is received, you will be notified by Extension staff for an initial interview.