Image of a boardwalk and wetland habitat at park

Photo Credit © Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District

Capital Springs Recreation Area

Cancelled due to Covid-19

Training Dates

April 23 - May 16, 2020


All 2020 Master Naturalist Volunteer Trainings are postponed due to COVID-19. The Master Naturalist Program continues to work with host organizations to develop a 2021 training calendar, along with new training guidelines and resources to promote healthy and engaging learning environments out in nature and in the classroom. Watch for 2021 locations and dates to be announced by December 1, 2020.

The Friends of Capital Springs Recreation Area (FOCSRA) , Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District, Lussier Family Heritage Center, Dane County Parks and the Department of Natural Resources are partnering to host a Wisconsin Master Naturalist Volunteer Training Course from April 23 to May 16, 2020. Classes will be held on Thursdays and Fridays, 6 – 9pm, and Saturdays 9am – 4pm. Scholarship support is available through the Master Naturalist program, with additional support available from FOCSRA.

Centered at the Lussier Family Heritage Center and within the surrounding 2,500-acre Capital Springs Recreation Area (CSRA) in Madison and Fitchburg, classes will engage participants with a wide variety of course topics – including Wisconsin geology, water resources, plant communities, wildlife, ecology, and the interconnectedness between humans and the landscape. Participants will experience hands-on activities, field trips, and outstanding guest expert speakers to provide a focused understanding and appreciation of the natural world around us in Dane County. Specifically, participants will learn about the county’s unique glacial history, practice stream monitoring with the Rock River Coalition, take a scientist-led tour of the pristine Waubesa Wetlands, identify migrating shorebirds at Lewis Nine Springs E-Way, tour Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District’s wastewater treatment plant and the UW Arboretum, and participate in a small prairie burn demonstration with the Dane County Parks botanist.

In addition, participants can learn about exciting volunteer activities in our own backyard. CSRA’s unique features make the park a great place to volunteer: a variety natural communities (including vast wetlands, restored prairie and savanna/woodland, acres of undisturbed lakeshore), glacial features, interconnected multi-use trails, and interpretive signage. A portion of CSRA is on the National Register of Historic Places due to archaeological history dating to the late Paleo-Indian period (8500 B.C.). CSRA also includes the Capital Springs State Park on Lake Waubesa.

The Wisconsin Master Naturalist program is a network of well-informed volunteers dedicated to conservation service, leadership, and lifelong learning. The Master Naturalist Volunteer Training provides 40 hours of coursework in natural history, interpretation, and conservation stewardship. Trainings combine classroom instruction with field experiences and are taught by professional natural resources educators and scientists. Once trained, Wisconsin Master Naturalists provide 40 hours of service and take 8 hours of advanced training each year to maintain their certification and receive a recognition pin.


Thursday, April 23rd: 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Friday, April 24th: 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Saturday, April 25th: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Thursday, April 30th: 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Friday, May 1st: 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Saturday, May 2nd: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Thursday, May 7th: 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Friday, May 8th: 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Saturday, May 9th: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Thursday, May 14th: 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Friday, May 15th: 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Saturday, May 16th: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Class Size



To be a certified Master Naturalist, you will be required to:

  • Attend regularly. Only four hours of training may be missed.
  • Participate in field trips, even in inclement weather.
  • Travel in personal vehicles as necessary to reach field trip locations.
  • Experience moderate activity on uneven terrain. Please consult with the program office before registering if you have you have questions about accessibility.
  • Complete a capstone project during the course.

Financial Hardship

The Wisconsin Master Naturalist program believes that finances should not be a barrier to learning. Reduced registration fees are available for those who indicate the fee is a hardship. Reduced fees will be available during the registration process at a self-selected rate of either $200, $150, or $100. Our hope is that by participating in the Master Naturalist program you are able to give back your time to organizations that need your help. And if your financial situation changes in the future that you’ll consider a donation back to our program.

Cancelled due to Covid-19