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Aug 25, 2016 12:01PM

Iowa Master Naturalists program begins Sept. 12

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Dr. Raymond Anderson, a retired research geologist with the Iowa Geological Survey in Iowa City, discusses some of the rock and fossil forms at Devonian Fossil Gorge at Coralville Lake with this summerís Iowa Master Naturalists Class.
Want to become a Master Naturalist? The Iowa Master Naturalists program will kick off Sept. 12.

The program is a non-profit that provides adult volunteers with science-based information about the environment and natural history of Iowa, according to a news release.

Provisional certification through the Iowa Master Naturalists program requires 40 hours of basic training, including a minimum of three field trips. While this session's curriculum has not yet been finalized, past topics have included edible wild plants, prairies, woodlands, reptiles and amphibians, birds, fungi, aquatic life/wetlands and more, the release states.

The goal of the program is to empower volunteers to spread the information to the public, participate in citizen science projects, and do the fieldwork that is necessary to conserve and appropriately manage Iowa's natural resources, the release states.

Currently, there are Master Naturalist training programs in more than 25 states. The Master Naturalist program got its start in Iowa in 2015 by Maya Ogren, who had been certified as a Master Naturalist in Texas. Ogren passed away earlier this year, but the program she started has grown steadily, according to the release.

The cost for the basic training program is $250. Full certification requires eight hours of advanced training, and 40 hours of volunteer service, which must be completed within 12 months of provisional certification. Annual recertification requires 40 hours of volunteer service, $35 dues, and eight hours of advanced training, the release states.

The fall course will run from Sept. 12 though Dec. 5. There will be no meeting on Oct. 31. Classes will meet on Monday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Social Center/Sailing Club at the Lake Macbride Nature and Recreation Area, 2095 Mehaffey Bridge Rd. NE, Solon, Iowa.

For more information or to register, email info@iowamasternaturalists.org or visit https://iowamasternaturalists.org.

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