Minnesota Master Naturalist

Master Naturalist Explorers

The Minnesota Master Naturalist Explorers program will pair current adult Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteers with staff in existing after-school programs across the state of Minnesota.  A goal of the Explorers Program is to offer fun, outdoor, science-based educational opportunities for 4th and 5th grade students to learn about the ecology and natural history of their schoolyard, neighborhood, nearby natural areas, and the entire state. 


Currently, the Minnesota Master Naturalist team is working on developing Explorers lessons and youth education training materials for volunteers.  The lessons will focus on the physical changes in the seasons and their effects on plant and animal life. These lessons will be divided into three units -- Fall, Winter, Spring -- linked to The Minnesota Weatherguide calendar.  Each unit will include supplies for the volunteer to use while implementing the lessons.


The pilot-testing and field-testing phases will be a collaborative effort between Master Naturalist staff, students, volunteer instructors, and after-school staff to develop lessons that are appropriate for teaching diverse audiences in schoolyard and park settings. Pilot-testing will occur at four sites during the spring of 2012.  Additional schools will be involved with the field-testing in the fall of 2012.  Final roll-out of the Explorers Program will include at least fifty locations in Minnesota.


The Explorers program is funded by a grant from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.


If you are interested in learning more about the Explorers Program please contact Darren Lochner at dlochner@umn.edu or 612-626-2690.