The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) works to sustain healthy fish, forests, and wildlife. MDC relies on citizen science, private landowners, and community engagement to further these efforts for the benefit of all Missourians. That’s the idea behind Missouri’s Master Naturalist program.
This program for adults develops a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide outreach, education, and service dedicated to natural resources conservation within local communities.
The Mississippi Hills Master Naturalist Chapter in Hannibal will hold a Master Naturalist training orientation 6–8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 3, at the Burt Administration Building on the Hannibal-LaGrange University campus in Hannibal. Attendance at this orientation event is required in order to take part in the Missouri Master Naturalist training classes. Register for the orientation session by calling (573) 248-2530.
Subsequent training classes will take place 5:30–9 p.m. on Tuesdays, Aug. 31–Nov. 30, at Hannibal-Lagrange University in Hannibal. The trainings will also include field sessions on two Monday evenings and three Saturdays.
In addition to attending the orientation session, individuals must register for the Aug. 31–Nov. 30 training. Registration closes Aug. 17, but class size is limited, and early registration is encouraged. Enrollees must be at least 18-years old and pay a $110 fee. Register online for the full training course HERE.
Through a partnership with MDC and the University of Missouri Extension, the Missouri Master Naturalist program mixes science with service; engaging Missourians in stewardship of the state’s natural resources through science-based education and volunteer community service.
“The intent of the Master Naturalist program is to better connect people to the environment and to nature,” said MDC Volunteer and Interpretive Programs Coordinator Syd Hime. “There are a lot of people with an interest in nature who are looking for opportunities to develop their skills as naturalists and use those skills in volunteer service. We provide that through a community-based natural resource volunteer and education program.”
Master Naturalists receive specialized training regarding nature in the region where chapters are based. Members help MDC and conservation partners through citizen science, educational programs, and stewardship projects. To become a certified Master Naturalist, participants must complete an initial training course and eight hours of advanced training. They must also contribute 40-hours of natural resource-related volunteer service through a local chapter.
To help ensure public health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, MDC asks all participants to observe current, local guidelines regarding physical distancing and masking. MDC encourages participants to bring and wear face coverings when appropriate.
For more information about the Mississippi Hills Master Naturalist training in Hannibal, contact Chapter Training Chairman Bob Kendrick at (573) 248-7361.