July 21, 2022 | By: Jordan Strickler
Lexington, Ky.

Kentucky residents who want to learn more about the natural world now can with the Kentucky Master Naturalist program. 

The University of Kentucky developed the program to educate volunteers who want to advance learning, research and outreach regarding conservation and natural resource management within their local communities.  

"I think it's a fantastic opportunity for anyone interested in archaeology, geology, soil, entomology, weather, climate, water resources and botany," said Ellen Crocker, assistant professor of forest health extension in the UK College of Agriculture Food and Environment. "It's a wonderful chance for anyone interested in those kinds of things not only to learn more, but also to meet other people who share their passion." 

The UK Cooperative Extension Service is leading the program, which offers 15 Zoom classes and a choice of one of two field trainings from Aug. 26 to Dec. 16. The program includes 40 hours of online learning and fieldwork and requires participants to complete 40 volunteer hours in a natural area or with an organization of their choice. The program structure is similar to the Kentucky Extension Master Gardener Program.  

Organizers will host the two-hour Zoom sessions on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET and record them so that participants may watch them at their convenience. Participants will take a short quiz at the end of each class to track attendance. 

"Our goal is for these master naturalists to work in natural areas and various groups in their communities," Crocker said. "We believe it will have a significant positive impact on communities and nature." 

The registration fee is $150, however, scholarships are available.  

Visit https://naturalist.ca.uky.edu/ or email Forestry.Extension@uky.edu for more information on the Kentucky Master Naturalist Program. To apply, visit https://uky.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6Yx1GqrIzI62Iom. 

Contact: 

Ellen Crocker, e.crocker@uky.edu

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