Modeled after successful Master Naturalist programs in more than 25 states, the Wisconsin Master Naturalist (WIMN) program provides education, training, and service opportunities for adult volunteers who are passionate about conserving the state’s natural resources.
Program participants receive 40 hours of coursework in natural history, education, interpretation, conservation stewardship, and resource monitoring. Courses combine classroom instruction with field experiences and are taught by WIMN instructors trained to deliver the Volunteer Training Course. Training opportunities are hosted by organizations such as nature centers, state parks, and museums across the state.
The UW-Extension's Environmental Resources Center has worked closely with project partners to develop a quality, self-sustaining, education program for Wisconsin citizens, which provides:
- Improved volunteer knowledge and skills;
- Opportunities to use new skills;
- A statewide standard of achievement for Wisconsin naturalist volunteers; and
- Infrastructure to support the work of volunteers as they provide assistance to K-12 and nonformal educators, land managers and other natural resources professionals.
The WIMN program provides a variety of resources to support its naturalist volunteers, including a website of resources, a catalog of volunteer opportunities, and a variety of training opportunities that is growing with the program.
In addition, certified volunteers are welcomed into a network of volunteer and professional naturalists around the state and receive invitations to participate in related events and conferences to make this a truly life-long learning experience.