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  • A Nature Journal Blog
    Experience the natural world with east central Illinois master naturalists
  • The Garden Scoop Blog
    The Garden Scoop is a collection of reflections about the Master Gardeners in Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, and Vermilion.
  • Crop, Stock and Ledger
    Crop, Stock and Ledger covers a variety of agricultural and natural resources issues.

Contact Us

Ryan Pankau
Extension Educator, Horticulture
University of Illinois Extension
801 North Country Fair Drive
Suite D
Champaign, IL 61821
Phone: 217-333-7672
FAX: 217-333-7683

East Central Illinois Master Naturalists

East Central Illinois Master Naturalists

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2. How do I Become One?

How Do I Become a Master Naturalist?

You become a Master Naturalist by joining a class, completing the training, passing the end-of-class test, and providing volunteer hours to the Master Naturalist program and/or its sponsors and partners.

When is 2018 Training?

Training for 2018 will consist of 10 sessions beginning late August. Classes are on Tuesdays from 9am - 4pm with two Saturday field trips. Class locations include the UI Extension office, The Anita Purves Nature Center, the Middle Fork Nature Preserve, Homer Lake, and Lake of the Woods.   

2018 Training Schedule - click here for a class schedule

What Is the Cost and What Will I Learn?                 

You will be asked to pay a fee to help cover the cost of materials and training. In 2018 the fee is $200. This includes the Master Naturalist manual filled with helpful resources and reference publications. Partial scholarships are available. During the training program, you'll learn about many different facets of the natural world.

A combination of classroom instruction and demonstrations is used to present information about topics such as:



Geology and Soil








Reptiles & Amphibians


Urban Environment

Agricultural Environment

Wetlands and Rivers

Environmental Ethics

OK, What Steps Should I Take?

Apply for Master Naturalist training, which usually occurs once a year in the fall. You can apply online or click here to download an application. Part of the application process is a 15-minute informal, in-person interview with current Master Naturalists. Upon acceptance into the program, you must attend approximately 70 hours of classroom instruction and field study. These sessions are typically offered one day a week over a two-month period and are led by expert educators in the region. Pass a comprehensive, open-book exam based on the classroom instruction. Complete 60 volunteer hours during the next 15 month period. Sign the Annual Volunteer Agreement Form.

To maintain your certification in subsequent years, you must complete 10 hours of continuing education and 30 hours of volunteer activities annually.