Are you fascinated with nature? Do you enjoy sharing your knowledge and skills with others? The Wisconsin Master Naturalist (WIMN) program is a statewide effort to promote awareness, understanding and stewardship of the state’s natural resources. Modeled after the Master Gardener program, WIMN is developing a corps of informed volunteers throughout the state. You can become a WI Master Naturalist Volunteer!
Master Naturalist Volunteer training is made up of 40 hours of classroom and field trip work, completion of a capstone project with a small group (typically about 3 hours) and then completing 40 hours of volunteer work. The information below relates specifically to the training at Hartman Creek State Park - each session offered around the state is different because of class times, locations and seasons.
Class days are typically 9:00 to 4:00 with lectures and study in the morning, followed by field trips and/or guest speakers in the afternoon. Field trips vary depending on the weather and the season. Previous field trips have included hiking the Ice Age Trail and Barrens, Allen Lake, and the Oak Wilt cut and deer exclusion fence at Hartman Creek State Park.
Course Topics Include
- Plant Communities
- Aquatic Life
- Human Impacts
The capstone project allows class participants to use what they’ve learned to work together in small groups to complete a project and present it to the class. Class participants can choose their topic based on their interests and past experiences in one of three categories - Citizen Science, Interpretation or Conservation Stewardship. Some examples of projects done by past class participants include:
- Citizen Science
- Bird survey
- Predation on deer carcass
- Butterfly sign
- Early childhood exploration activity
- Hellestad House brochure
To complete Master Naturalist certification, each participant must complete 40 hours of volunteer hours outside of class time. This can be one large or several small volunteering opportunities. Some examples of volunteer hours by past Master Naturalists at Hartman Creek include:
- Butterfly Garden enhancement
- Host at the Hellestad House
- Help naturalist with interpretation
- Invasive species work
- Bluebird monitoring route
To maintain certification, a Master Naturalist Volunteer must complete 40 hours of volunteer work and 8 hours of advanced training. Advanced training opportunities can be found on the Wisconsin Master Naturalist website. http://wimasternaturalist.org/upcoming-advanced-training-courses
Once trained, a WI Master Naturalist provides volunteer service in one of three areas: education/interpretation, stewardship, or citizen science. Volunteer opportunities are available in state parks, nature areas and many other places.
Wisconsin Master Naturalist course participants receive 40 hours of training in natural history, interpretation, and conservation stewardship, focusing primarily on Wisconsin. This includes classroom time with the instructors and guest lecturers, and field trips in the park. One part of the course is completing a capstone project of your choosing, with help from the instructors. This project provides an opportunity to apply some of the knowledge and practice some of the skills learned in the course. The projects are completed as individuals or in small groups, and involve up to 3 hours of out of class time.
After completing the course, a volunteer must complete 40 hours of service each year and 8 hours of advanced training to maintain certification.