Friday, July 26, 2013

Master Naturalist Training Class in Springfield Scheduled for September and October

Contact: Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- If you love the outdoors and natural world, have an innate curiosity about wild critters and native plants and are committed to volunteering, then the Missouri Master Naturalist program may be for you. Here’s how to become a Master Naturalist.


The Springfield Plateau Chapter, one of 12 in the state, has an active membership of more than 60.  Local training—40 hours—for the class of 2013 is conducted by sponsors Missouri Extension and Missouri Department of Conservation.  Register with Jay Barber at or 417-895-6881, ext. 269.

The schedule for the 2013 training has already been established:
·       Mandatory orientation Aug. 12 OR Aug. 20 at Missouri Department of Conservation Regional  office, 2630 N. Mayfair Drive
·       Six classroom sessions Sept. 10-Oct. 29 – all Tuesday evenings from 6-9:30 p.m. in the regional office
·       Four field trips Sept. 14 and 28 and Oct. 5 and 19
·       Graduation Oct. 29

The sessions and field trips cover such topics as the three levels of conservation, identifying singing insects, basic ecological concepts, eco-regions, watershed and fisheries management, prairie ecology, caves and karst, tree identification, invasive plants and animals, native landscaping, volunteering, educational tools and how to use them.

In addition to the 40 hours of training, each Master Naturalist in training must complete a 20-hour capstone project that can be completed with a group or done individually. A capstone could be developing a new educational training tool or course, inventorying plants, doing a bird count or helping with a rain garden.


Missouri Master Naturalists is a community-based, natural resource, education and volunteer program. Its mission is to engage Missourians in the stewardship of our state’s bountiful natural resources through science-based education and volunteer community service. The purpose of the program is to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach and service dedicated to that purpose.

Most projects are local, and each Master Naturalist chooses how to volunteer a minimum of 40 hours a year and acquire 8 hours of advanced training a year. In 2012, local Master Naturalists accumulated more than 7,000 hours of service and training. The Plateau Chapter averages more hours per member than the other chapters.

Some examples of local projects Master Naturalists are involved with are the Butterfly Festival, Young Sprouts, water festivals conducted by James River Basin Partnership, GLADE program, WOLF School, various Stream Teams, tree and shrub plantings at area schools, tree plantings in Joplin, educational trunk presentations at many elementary schools and plant inventory at Valley Water Mill Park.

Learn more about the program at



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