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Master Naturalist Training Class 2013

19 brand new interns have been added to the University of Illinois Extension Master Naturalists Program serving Livingston, McLean and Woodford Counties. The volunteer group (a.k.a. Illinois Grand Prairie Master Naturalists) started in 2010 to fulfill extension's mission of connecting the environmental educational resources of University of Illinois to all citizens. Volunteers receive education in order to become better advocates of nature, participate in land stewardship and provide educational programming for youth and adults.

The falls class of 2013 completed over 70 hours of instruction and was awarded certificates of completion of the Master Naturalist training program. The following individuals, representing Livingston, McLean and Woodford counties will now complete a 60 hour internship on their way to becoming certified Illinois Master Naturalists volunteer.

Extension would like to welcome the following 2013 interns to the Master Naturalist program

Amy Aeschliman Ann Baughan Vicki Boyd Jay Corwin

Marge Ehlers Gary Johnson Patti Koranda Barb Moore

Nancy Osterman Tom Pankonen Melissa Paschold Jeanna Powell

Louise Reeser LeRoy Shouse MaryAnn Stork Joyce Thorpe

Susan Trotter Jan Turner Emily Walker

The curriculum covered a variety of topics such as ecological concepts; weather and climate; forests; prairies; wetlands; agriculture; soils and geology; archeology and anthropology; and other traditional naturalist disciplines (e.g. ornithology, mammalogy, and herpetology). The sessions included both classroom and field study with an emphasis on hands-on experiences. Local experts and scientists as well as University of Illinois Extension educators and Prairie Research Institute scientists provided the instruction.

Internship projects for the new graduates may include "wildscape" maintenance; prairie restoration; fish, wildlife, and plant inventories; environmental education programs for youth and adults; interpretive tours at a nature or visitor center; or program support for local chapter.

Now 77 strong, Illinois Grand Prairie Master Naturalists can be seen volunteering places like Parklands foundation, Heartland Community College, Sugar Grove Nature Center and Fugate Woods Nature Preserve. Recent successful educational initiatives have been Fugate Woods "A Winter Day of Discover," Sugar Grove Nature Center's "National Trails Day" and 4-H Science Sleepover in El Paso, Illinois. Each Master Naturalist intern averages 89 hours of volunteer community service to their community and average 33 hours of continued education. Please visit to read current and past newsletters created by the Illinois Grand Prairie Master Naturalist program.

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