Thursday, October 31, 2013

Springfield Plateau Missouri Master Naturalists Chapter: Ranks Swell to Nearly 100

Contact: Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

Written by Jennifer Ailor, Master Naturalist

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Springfield Plateau Chapter of Missouri Master Naturalists of 60-plus members will be joined Oct. 29 with 30 new intern members who are completing their formal training to become “Master Naturalists in Training.”

Over the course of the next 12 months, these new trainees will complete required volunteer hours and additional training hours to become certified Master Naturalists.

Last year, the chapter’s members turned in more than 7,000 hours of service and education to retain the chapter’s hold on most-average hours-per-person in the state.  Members are well on their way to significantly surpassing the 2012 total.

Master Naturalists typically don’t create their own projects. Instead they step up as volunteers for worthy “naturalist” needs in the area or for projects of partner organizations.  For example, earlier this year, members volunteered for James River Basin Partnership and Friends of the Garden projects.

This fall, members have planted native plants at Hickory Hills Middle School, planted rain gardens with Watershed Committee of the Ozarks at Campbell Ave. and Mt. Vernon in Springfield, counted quail coveys with Greater Ozarks Audubon Society, monitored water quality in several area streams, staffed an information table at Bass Pro’s Outdoor Days and assisted the Watershed Committee with school field trips at Valley Water Mill Park. Springfield and Nixa Public Schools and Girl Scouts also have invited Master Naturalists into classrooms and meetings for presentations on bison, fur-bearing animals, insects and other critters.

Looking ahead, the chapter plans to host the 2015 Missouri Master Naturalists Conference, which will bring hundreds of members from the state’s 12 chapters to Springfield. As one member said, “That will create some cash flow in Greene County and give the Springfield Plateau Chapter the kind of positive, high-profile publicity that the Greene County Master Gardeners received in September when it hosted that organization’s state conference.”

The Missouri Master Naturalist Program results from a partnership created in 2004 between the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and MU Extension (MUE). These two organizations are the sponsors of the program at the state level. The Missouri Master Naturalist Program is recognized as a “named and branded” educational program within MU Extension. The MU School of Natural Resources is the academic home for the Program. Learn more

Since 1914, Greene County residents have sought help from Extension in areas related to agriculture, gardening, 4-H youth, nutrition, families, business and community development. To learn more go online to or call the Greene County Extension Center at (417) 881-8909.


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