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Master Naturalist training planned

Enjoy learning about the natural world? If so, consider becoming a Minnesota Master Naturalist volunteer.

The Northland Arboretum in Brainerd/Baxter is hosting a Minnesota Master Naturalist volunteer training beginning April 12.

Master Naturalist volunteers complete a 40-hour hands-on course with expert instructors and fellow learners—studying natural history, environmental interpretation and conservation stewardship. Final certification comes with the completion of 40 hours of volunteer service. The program offers three courses that correspond to Minnesota's three major ecosystems—titled "Big Woods, Big Rivers," "Prairies and Potholes" and "North Woods, Great Lakes."

This course will cover the natural and cultural history of the "North Woods, Great Lakes" region. Participants will be provided an in-depth overview of the boreal forest ecosystem and will observe and learn about the variety of plant and animal communities of the region. Through the course, participants will develop their ability to observe nature and will learn tools to improve these skills. In addition, participants will improve their communication skills by sharing knowledge with other participants and working on a group project.

The classes will be 6-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, April 12 to May 17. Two Saturday field trips are scheduled for April 21 and May 5. Instructors include Eleanor Burkett, Tish Laske and Rick Meyer. Meyer may be reached at or 218-251-1199. Burkett may be reached at 218-232-4827 or

For more information and to register online go to For registration assistance, call Julie Larson at 320-589-1711, ext. 2120; 1-888-241-4532; or e-mail Scholarships are available.

Minnesota Master Naturalist is sponsored by University of Minnesota Extension. Minnesota Master Naturalist is supported, in part, by a grant from the National Science Foundation.