If you enjoy nature, love the outdoors, have a concern for the local environment or want to provide education and service to help your community, University of Illinois Extension invites you to become an Illinois Master Naturalist.
The program is designed to educate and train a corps of volunteers to provide support in the conservation, management, and interpretation of the Quad-City area's natural resources.
Classes will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays, beginning Aug. 1 through Oct. 24 at the University of Illinois Extension office in Milan, and at various environmental sites across the Quad Cities.
With the help of local experts, the training sessions will include lecture, discussion, hands-on activities, and field trips. Each weekly session covers topics that relate to local natural areas and cover subjects such as botany, environmental ethics, archeology, climate, forestry, geology, prairies, mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and aquatics.
After training has started, each Master Naturalist is asked to complete 60 hours of volunteer work as a Master Naturalist intern in a variety of approved projects which include natural resource stewardship, citizen scientist activities, and public education. Projects are geared to the local community.
In order to become a Master Naturalist volunteer, all participants must complete a required background screening.
Training costs $250, which includes all classroom and in-the field training sessions, curriculum, posters, and a manual. A scholarship is available for one participant, funded by Rock Island County Extension and 4-H Education Foundation through contributions as well as from memorials made in honor of the late Liz Haynes and Mike Flaherty.
Scholarship applications can be found at web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs or at the Rock Island County Extension office. Applications are due by July 24.