UTICA — The University of Illinois Extension will offer a training program at Starved Rock State Park for those interested in becoming a Master Naturalist volunteer.
The mission of this program is to provide science-based educational opportunities that connect people with nature and help them become engaged environmental stewards. Becoming a volunteer will provide opportunities to explore and expand the understanding of the natural world, provide educational outreach, and assist with environmental stewardship projects with local Extension partners.
This year, the University of Illinois – Bureau, LaSalle, Marshall and Putnam counties unit, along with Starved Rock State Park, are excited to offer volunteer training starting in the fall of 2019. The training will cover numerous subjects including Geology, Archaeology, Botany, Wetlands, Ornithology, Forests of Illinois, and Entomology. Training will be held one day a week over the course of 10 weeks, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., from Sept. 3 to Nov. 5. Classroom time will be spent at the Starved Rock State Park Visitor Center.
During training, natural areas will be visited for hands-on learning, including sites at Starved Rock State Park, Matthiessen State Park, Dayton Bluffs, the Nachusa Grasslands, and the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge.
Volunteers completing the training will then work on Extension approved environmental stewardship and educational outreach projects. To maintain Master Naturalist certification, volunteers must complete 10 hours of continuing education, and 30 hours of approved service work in the local area annually. The U of I Extension provides ongoing training and coordinates regular meetings to support volunteers.
Adults aged 18 and older are welcome to register. The cost for the training to become a certified volunteer is $250. For more information, or to sign up, visit https://go.illinois.edu/2019mntraining, or call Meg Overocker, program coordinator, at 815-433-0707.
Spaces are filling up, and registration closes Aug. 23. Preference will be given to residents of Bureau, LaSalle, Marshall and Putnam counties.
If you need a reasonable accommodation, please indicate when registering. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow time for meeting needs. For more information call the U of I Extension – LaSalle County at 815-433-0707. Extension offices are located in Princeton, Ottawa, Henry, and in Oglesby on the IVCC campus.