Minnesota Master Naturalist
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Biome
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Minnesota Master Naturalist Instructors

Become an Instructor in the Minnesota Master Naturalist Program!

The Minnesota Master Naturalist Program is a volunteer program that trains adults about Minnesota`s natural resources, teaches how to educate others, and provides opportunities to do conservation projects. Your organization can offer these 40-hour courses by sending a staff member to the Instructor Training course listed above.

After you train volunteers with this curriculum at your site, you will have a pool of highly skilled and dedicated volunteers to help out with those back-burner projects you've always wanted to do. Minnesota Master Naturalist Instructors will become part of a statewide effort to increase natural resource volunteering in citizen science, interpretation, program support, and stewardship throughout Minnesota.

Who should attend: staff from environmental centers, nature centers, environmental organizations, state parks, wildlife refuges, nature preserves, etc.

The training course fee is $75.00 and includes all materials needed to teach all three biomes.  Lunch and snacks are included.  Participants are on their own for lodging and transportation costs.

Instructor Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I consider becoming a Minnesota Master Naturalist Instructor?

Minnesota Master Naturalist Instructors will generate programmatic funds for their sponsoring organization by receiving a portion of participant tuition ($50 per participant is provided to the instructors' employer). Following the completion of the class, instructors must invoice the MNat program to receive thier portion of the fee.

Minnesota Master Naturalist Instructors can train current volunteers, attract new volunteers, and strengthen community environmental education programs. They will be able to meet and work with other instructors across the state and become part of a statewide effort to increase natural resource volunteering in citizen science, interpretation, program support, and stewardship throughout Minnesota.

Minnesota Master Naturalist capstone projects will benefit your organization by providing creative ideas and improved environmental education programming.

Who can be a Minnesota Master Naturalist Instructor?

Educational requirements include a minimum of either a Bachelor's degree in environmental science, education, or related field; or demonstrated comparable practical experience providing environmental education programs.

Instructors must work for an organization-, agency, or group that places a priority on science-based environmental education and is willing to provide support for Minnesota Master Naturalist training. Instructors need a classroom and the capability to show PowerPoint slides (computer and projector) for all class sessions except the field trips.

A letter of support from the instructor's sponsoring group/agency, stating that they support the instructor in this pursuit and can provide the necessary space, time, and equipment.

How is the class structured?

Each Minnesota Master Naturalist class consists of 40 educational contact hours. We will have three classes that represent Minnesota biomes: Big Woods, Big Rivers; Prairies and Potholes; and North Woods, Great Lakes. Minnesota Master Naturalist classes can be scheduled to best fit the needs of instructors and students (daily, weekly, etc.). See the possible class schedules for more information.  Custom options can also be developed with the state program.

The maximum class size is 22 students and the recommended minimum is 10 participants. Training includes classroom learning, field trips, practical skills, and capstone projects. There is no final exam. All class materials and details on their use are provided at no cost to instructors. Class materials cover ecology, habitats, wildlife, interpretation, and other topics. The class materials are designed to assist instructors to personalize training to their region while still providing a consistent statewide perspective on Minnesota's environments, ecological processes, and conservation issues.

What are the responsibilities of Minnesota Master Naturalist Instructors?

Instructors are expected to provide a Minnesota Master Naturalist training at least once within the twelve months following the instructor training and once every two years after the first training. Instructors propose a class on the Minnesota Master Naturalist website at least six weeks prior to start of a class. (earlier is better if possible)

The instructor will fill out the dates and times of the class including field trips. This information will be reviewed by the state director and the final class schedule will be posted on the website after the credit card processing is set up.  This can take up to five days.

Participant registration is online and coordination will be done by the statewide organization.

Books for each participant will be mailed to instructors at the class site.

Instructors will lead classroom lectures, discussions, and field trips; monitor students' progress and attendance; and assist in completion of capstone projects.

Upon completion of the class, instructors will submit a list of successful and unsuccessful participants in the on-line course completion section of the website, and return unused participant books and pins to the Minnesota Master Naturalist state program office, and prepare and submit an invoice to initiate payment to the sponsoring facility.

How do I apply to become a Minnesota Master Naturalist Instructor?

Individuals interested in becoming an instructor apply online on the Minnesota Master Naturalist Website. To apply, you must email to rager001@umn.edu, fax to 320-589-4870, or snail mail to 46352 State Highway 329, Morris, MN 56267, a signed letter of support from your organization's director or supervisor on official letterhead. This letter should indicate that the organization is willing to host a Minnesota Master Naturalist class.

Approval of applications will be determined by qualifications of the applicant, appropriateness of the sponsoring organization, and geographic considerations.

Approved applicants must attend a 2-day Minnesota Master Naturalist Instructor Training Workshop. Instructor training workshop information is available on the website. Instructors will be notified of acceptance status via email.

Class Overview for Instructors

  1. Overview
    • Each Minnesota Master Naturalist class consists of 40 educational contact hours. We will have three classes for Minnesota: Big Woods, Big Rivers; Prairies and Potholes; and North Woods, Great Lakes.
    • Minnesota Master Naturalist classes can be scheduled to best fit the needs of both the instructors and participants (daily, weekly, etc.) Please see "possible class schedules" below for specific examples.
    • The maximum class size is 20 participants and the suggested minimum is 10 participants. Training includes classroom learning, field trips, practical skills, and capstone projects. There is no final exam.
    • Instructors need a classroom and the capability to show PowerPoint slides (computer and projector) for all class sessions except the field trips.
  2. Instructors for the class
    • Educational requirements include a minimum of either a Bachelor's degree in environmental science, education, or related field; or demonstrated comparable practical experience providing environmental education programs.
    • Instructors must work for an organization, agency, or group that places a priority on science-based environmental education and is willing to provide support for Minnesota Master Naturalist training.
    • We encourage two instructors to collaborate, with both attending all class sessions, when teaching a class. Two or more organizations can co-teach a class.
    • The state program will monitor progress and provide a mentor to each instructor for each class.  This mentor will be available to assist with classroom issues, suggest field trips, or help to make classroom improvements as needed.  They will also attend the class graduation.
  3. Finances
    • The participant fee is $200.
    • The sponsor (the instructors' employer) will receive $50 per participant in the class.
  4. Registration
    • The statewide program will coordinate the participant application, registration, scholarship application/granting and payment process.
  5. Class Materials
    • All class materials (PowerPoint presentations, instructor guide and participant books) are provided by the statewide program. Most are available for download on this site.
  6. Attendance policy
    • Participants must complete 40 hours of training during the class. Only one class session (two and half hours) can be missed.  Field trips are mandatory.
    • Because of the unique aspects of the field trips, participants cannot miss either field trip. In the case of an emergency that results in a missed field trip, participants may be able to arrange an alternative option at the discretion of the instructor and the state director.
  7. Possible Class Schedules
    Field trip note: All class schedules involve two 7.5 hour field trips. The goal of the field trips is to practice what has been taught during the class sessions; therefore we recommend that the field trips occur approximately after the first and second thirds of each class. Saturday is the suggested day for the field trips.
    • One Session per Week: 11 weeks
      This schedule is designed for class sessions to occur once a week for 2.5 hours, for example, every Tuesday from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Weeks 1 - 9 are devoted to instruction. Week 10 is a make-up session. Field trips are encouraged to be scheduled after week 4 and after week 8. The final week of class consists of a capstone project presentations and graduation.
    • Two Sessions per Week Schedule: 6 weeks
      This schedule is designed for class sessions to occur two times per week for 2.5 hours each session. Suggested time is 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Weeks 1 - 5 are devoted to classroom instruction. Field trips are encouraged to be offered after Week 2 and Week 4. Week 6 contains one night for make up and the second night for capstone project presentations and graduation.
    • Day Schedule: 6 Weeks
      This schedule is designed for class sessions to occur one day per week for 6 consecutive weeks from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Weeks 1 - 4 are dedicated to instruction, Week 5 is a 2.5 hour group work day/make up session, and Week 6 is the capstone project presentations and graduation day. Field trips are encouraged to be offered after the second and fourth weeks.
    • Full Week Schedule
      This schedule is designed for class sessions to occur everyday for 5 consecutive days from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and for a half day one week later for the capstone project presentations and graduation. Field trips are encouraged to be offered in the afternoons of Days 3 and 4. There is no make up time built into this schedule.
    • Custom Schedule

Instructor can create a custom schedule that meets the needs of their organization and location.  Some have tried 2 days in one week and 3 in another.  All options are open here.