There is no one profile that defines a Wisconsin Master Naturalist volunteer. Our volunteers come from all walks of life and are motivated by an infinite number of interests. It's safe to say, however, that volunteer naturalists:

  • Are curious about nature;
  • Want to share knowledge about the natural world with others;
  • Are motivated to be actively involved in conservation efforts; and
  • Have a life-long love of learning.

What do naturalist volunteers do?

The volunteer naturalist works with a host organization, such as a nature center, state park, or museum. There are 240 environmental education organizations posted on EEinWisconsin.org. Many of them depend on volunteers to meet a high demand for natural resources education and conservation services. After training, naturalist volunteers choose to work with these organizations in one of three areas of service:

  • Education/Interpretive — direct or indirect outreach to the public, such as presenting natural resources information, developing educational materials, or leading natural history walks.
  • Stewardship — natural resources management activities, such as trail work, invasive species removal or restoration projects.
  • Citizen Science — gathering data to support research projects, such as monarch larval monitoring, plant or animal counts, or water quality monitoring.

Who can be a Master Naturalist volunteer?

A Master Naturalist volunteer is someone who has successfully completed the Master Naturalist Volunteer Training Course. The training course consists of 40 hours of indoor and outdoor instruction.  A variety of teaching methods are used (lectures, Power Points, activities, videos, and field trips) to provide information on Wisconsin's natural history and some hands-on experiences in interpretation, stewardship, and citizen science service activities are provided, as well. Course participants complete a Capstone Project during the course, which allows them to practice new skills in their areas of interest. Volunteers become certified after completing the course. They then must provide 40 hours of volunteer conservation service and take eight hours of advanced training each year to maintain their certification.

Any adult (18 years or older), who is curious about nature, enjoys learning, and wants to work on behalf of conservation efforts in his/her community, can be a WIMN volunteer.

How much does the Volunteer Training Course cost?

The Volunteer Training Course costs $275.00 and includes manuals and supplies.

Course Scholarships

Scholarship funds are available. If the $275.00 fee is a hardship, please fill out the scholarship form for consideration. Applications must be submitted and approved before you register online.  After receiving your application, we will contact the host organization to explore other opportunities for support as well. The applicant will then receive an email notification from the Wisconsin Master Naturalist office indicating the status of their request. Increasing the scholarship fund is a high priority goal for the Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program.

Getting Started

Check the upcoming course listings to find a training course offered in your region of the state. If a course is not available near you, please send your name and contact information, including your zip code, to info@wimasternaturalist.org. Ask to be put on the course waiting list. We can then notify you when a course is available near you.