University of Illinois, Unit 23, which covers Bond, Clinton, Marion, Jefferson, and Washington Counties, graduated ten Master Naturalists and one JR Master Naturalist Saturday, November 12 at the Carlyle Lake Visitor Center.
Students attended ten sessions, which began in September. The classes covered a wide variety of subjects which included; prairies, forests, rivers and streams, wetlands, ornithology, entomology, mammals, soils, geology, environmental ethics. All classes were taught by experts in the field throughout the state. Subjects are presented with an Illinois perspective.
After graduation the students begin their volunteer service which is a requirement of the program. Master Naturalists will serve the community in a number of ways. Projects can include public land stewardship, presenting to youth and adults, monitoring species, and more.
Current Unit Master Naturalists have volunteered 1559 hours in 2015. Projects included land stewardship, prairie restoration, citizen science projects, wildlife rehabilitation, and public presentations. 2016 hours are currently being compiled.
Master Naturalist training is offered yearly through Extension. The next session begins September 2017. For additional information call 526-4551.