Sunday, December 27, 2015

Master Naturalist training planned for Joplin

Attendance at Jan. 4 orientation is required for participation in upcoming course.
JOPLIN, Mo. – Protecting Missouri’s natural resources is an ongoing and challenging task. The challenge is made easier when private citizen groups – as well as state agencies – can provide education, outreach information and services. That’s the idea behind Missouri’s Master Naturalist Program.
The Chert Glades Master Naturalist Chapter will hold Master Naturalist training Jan. 25 through April 18 at the Walter Woods Conservation Area in Newton County just south of Joplin. The course doesn’t start until Jan. 25, but interested people must attend an orientation that will be held 6:30 p.m. on Jan 4 at the Walter Woods Area.
After attending this orientation, participants must register by Jan. 10 for the course. The Missouri Master Naturalist program mixes science with service. Master Naturalists engage Missourians in the stewardship of our state’s natural resources through science-based education and volunteer community service. The Master Naturalist program is a partnership between the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the University of Missouri Extension.
“The intent of the Master Naturalist Program is to better connect people to the environment and nature,” said MDC Volunteer and Interpretive Program Coordinator Syd Hime. “There are a lot of people with an interest in nature who are looking for opportunities to develop their skills as a naturalist and use those skills in volunteer service. We provide that through a community-based natural resource volunteer and education program.”
To become a Master Naturalist, individuals must receive training and contribute volunteer services. Once individuals receive Master Naturalist certification, they will be required to give 40 hours of service and complete eight hours of additional advanced annually training to maintain their certification. Individuals must be age 18 or older to participate.
For more information, call MDC Conservation Education Consultant Jeff Cantrell at 417-629-3423 or e-mail jeff.cantrell@mdc.mo.gov Details about the Master Naturalist Program can also be found at www.chertglades.org or http://extension.missouri.edu/masternaturalist.