Interested in becoming a Master Naturalist? Learn more about our training.
Master Naturalist training is a 40-hour series of sessions and field experiences that presents a consistent, statewide perspective on Wisconsin’s natural history, ecological processes, and conservation issues. Master Naturalist trainings are open to all adults over 18 years of age with a $275 registration fee. Reduced registration fees are available for those facing financial hardships during the registration process. Typically, 10-15 Master Naturalist trainings are held across the state annually, and their locations, dates, and schedules vary based on the host organization. Registration begins on the second Monday every January.
Trainings emphasize outdoor learning experiences in a variety of conditions and locations, please contact email@example.com if you have questions about the activity level.
Trainings are offered across the state through partners and host organizations, and although each takes on the unique flavor of the region, the following key topics remain consistent across trainings:
Photo Credit © Thom Gerst
To synthesize and implement their knowledge, participants will work in small groups to complete a training project related to education/interpretation, stewardship, or citizen-science. The training project is a fun, low-stakes opportunity to try out volunteer activities in a supportive environment. They usually take 2-4 hours to complete outside of the scheduled training time. Examples of training projects include: developing and/or delivering an educational presentation, collecting native seeds for an organization’s restoration efforts, or participating in a frog and toad survey. Instructors help participants find a training project the meets their interests and abilities.
In-Person Master Naturalist Trainings
In-person Master Naturalist Trainings are primarily outdoor learning experiences which may include extended periods of standing, hiking on both flat paths and off-trails with inclines, and a variety of weather conditions. There may be some indoor presentations and activities, but most of the learning will take place out in nature. The key concepts are reinforced by guest experts from across many disciplines and field experiences. These trainings are a minimum of 40 educational hours with strict attendance requirements to become certified with only 4 hours of excused absence allowed.
This training is the preferred method of delivery for those interested in becoming a Master Naturalist. Learning experientially allows for an increased comprehension and retention of the content. There is also a high value placed on the networking experience between participants, instructors, and guest experts with many people developing friendships and a new peer network.
The Master Naturalist program understands that it can be difficult to fit a 40-hour training into busy schedules. A hybrid (both online and in-person) training is in development allowing participants to cover content online and at their own pace together with a small cohort over a designated period, usually 8-12 weeks. The training will be facilitated by host organizations and will be interspersed with online Zoom discussions, and at least one in-person field day. A pilot hybrid training will be offered in 2024 with feedback helping to inform future delivery of a hybrid Master Naturalist training.