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Brigit Holt
Program Coordinator, Master Naturalist
University of Illinois Extension
4747 Lincoln Mall Drive
Suite 601
Matteson, IL 60443
Phone: 708-679-6889
FAX: 708-679-6855

Master Naturalists in Cook County

Master Naturalists in Cook County

2. How do I become a Master Naturalist?

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 12 sessions beginning in August. Classes will be on FRIDAYS and will be conducted between 9:30AM and 4:00PM. �Class locations include locations throughout the Cook County region. �Locations may include Forest Preserves of Cook County Nature Centers, Environmental Education Centers and local museums throughout Cook County. �Applications will be made available on January 15, 2018 and will close on April 15, 2018.

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. The fee for the 2017 training is $300. This will include the Master Naturalist manual filled with helpful resources and reference publications.

Thanks to the support of the Forest Preserves of Cook County, a waiver is offered for the cost of the manual.� This leaves a $175 out of pocket cost for participants. 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 and Fish

Urban Environment


OK, What Steps Should I Take?

Apply for Master Naturalist training, which usually occurs once a year in the fall. The application process includes an 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 to three-month period and are led by expert educators in the region. Upon completion of the class, a comprehensive, practical exam based on the classroom instruction will be taken. �Then, as an intern Master Naturalists Complete at least 60 volunteer hours within the Forest Preserves of Cook County during the next 12 month period. ��To maintain your certification in subsequent years, you must complete 10 hours of continuing education and 30 hours of volunteer activities annually.