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Discover Kentucky’s natural world through UK Master Naturalist Program

Discover Kentucky’s natural world through UK Master Naturalist Program

Discover Kentucky’s natural world through UK Master Naturalist Program

Open to anyone interested in nature and the environment, the Master Naturalist program provides participants with a deep understanding of Kentucky’s natural resources and the skills and knowledge necessary to protect and conserve them.

Lexington, Ky.—

The University of Kentucky recently announced the 2023 Master Naturalist schedule, a UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment-designed initiative promoting environmental stewardship and community engagement. Open to anyone interested in nature and the environment, the program provides participants with a deep understanding of Kentucky’s natural resources and the skills and knowledge necessary to protect and conserve them. 

The Kentucky Master Naturalist Conference kicks off this year’s program activities April 14-15 at Lake Barkley State Resort Park. Events include a weekend of talks, walks and other programs. 

“While the conference is aimed at current master naturalists, it’s open to all and is a great opportunity to learn more about the program and have fun exploring this beautiful part of the state,” said Ellen Crocker, assistant professor in the UK Department of Forestry and Natural Resources. “The agenda includes wildflower walks, an owl prowl, birding, speakers and more.”  

For anyone interested in becoming a Kentucky Master Naturalist, registration is currently open for the two in-person core training cohorts offered this year, one over three weekends in various Western Kentucky locations and the other with weekly meetings at the Boone County Extension office. The core training covers 40 hours of class and field training. 

“Participants will learn about a range of topics, everything from soil and geology to botany and wildlife, with a cohort of like-minded people who share their interest in the natural world,” Crocker said. 

Training to become a Master Naturalist includes instruction in various topics, including wildlife management, botany, geology and ecology. Participants learn about environmental education, citizen science and community outreach while gaining hands-on experience in the field. 

Three components make up the program: classroom instruction, field experience and volunteer service. During the classroom portion, participants attend sessions taught by field experts. These sessions cover various topics designed to provide participants with a solid natural sciences foundation. 

The program's field experience component allows participants to observe and study the state’s natural resources. Field trips include visits to state parks, nature preserves and other areas with environmental significance. 

After completing the program's classroom and field experience sections, participants must complete at least 40 community volunteer service hours. This service may include activities such as environmental education, habitat restoration and citizen-science projects. 

Registration for the conference is $100 per person. Program costs to become a Master Naturalist vary depending on the training site but range from $200-250 (scholarships are available). For more information on the conference and workshops, visit https://naturalist.ca.uky.edu/training. Visit https://naturalist.ca.uky.edu to learn more about all the Master Naturalist Program offers. 


Environment Extension Forestry Sustainability

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Contact Information

Scovell Hall Lexington, KY 40546-0064

cafenews@uky.edu