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Classes in Willmar train Master Naturalists

Do you enjoy learning about the natural world? If so, consider becoming a Minnesota Master Naturalist volunteer.

Mid-Central Research and Outreach Center in Willmar is hosting a Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer Training beginning Thursday, February 23, and running through Thursday, May 3, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Master Naturalist volunteers complete a 40-hour hands-on class with expert instructors and fellow learners - studying natural history, environmental interpretation, and conservation stewardship. Final certification comes with the completion of 40 hours of volunteer service. The program offers three classes that correspond to Minnesota's three major ecosystems - entitled "Big Woods, Big Rivers," "Prairies and Potholes" and "Northwoods, Great Lakes."

This class will cover the natural and cultural history of the 'Prairies and Potholes' Region, including an in-depth overview of its ecosystem. Through the class, participants will develop their ability to observe nature and will learn tools to improve these skills. In addition, participants will improve their communication skills by sharing knowledge with other participants and working on a group project.

Two Saturday field trips will be on March 24 and April 21. The cost for the class is $200, including materials. Scholarships are available. Register on-line at, call Julie or Amy at 1-888-241-4532, or e-mail

Minnesota Master Naturalist is sponsored by the University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Minnesota Master Naturalist is supported, in part, by grant ESI-0540358 from the National Science Foundation.