This training focuses on the Pheasant Branch Conservancy and watershed. Approaching the full curriculum through a lens of water, we explore the historic and current health of Madison lakes, nearby streams, and remediation efforts centered on prairies. At the Conservancy we consider groundwater, surface water, restoration management, education and outreach efforts, programming opportunities, plant, animal, and insect populations, policies, multiple use challenges, benefits, and partnerships. Field trips to Black Earth Creek (BEC) and Devil’s Lake offer an experience and study of water quality and the distinct topography, soils, and geologic features associated with glaciated and non-glaciated areas. We discuss several invasive species, their unique ability to survive, and strategies and tips to slow the spread, including decontaminating equipment. Climate change impacts and remediation, shifts in our understanding and relationship with nature, and learning about diverse ways that people experience natural spaces and accessibility are also addressed. Overall, this training has both indoor and outdoor time, some sitting, standing, and walking, some lecture, and several opportunities for hands-on exploration of themes and presentation of concepts.
The Wisconsin Master Naturalist program is a network of well-informed volunteers dedicated to conservation service, leadership, and lifelong learning. The Master Naturalist training provides 40 hours of education in a variety of natural history topics and Master Naturalist service areas. Through expert-led trainings, Master Naturalists are equipped to address challenges facing the state by making positive impacts through stewardship, citizen science, and educational activities. Trainings have an emphasis on outdoor field experiences with some classroom instruction and are taught by professional natural resources educators and scientists. Once trained, Wisconsin Master Naturalists record 40 hours of service and 8 hours of advanced training each year to maintain certification and receive a recognition pin.