Train to Become a Wisconsin Master Naturalist in Door County this Winter

Yes, you read that correctly – in Door County, this winter.

While Door County is a go-to destination for so many of us in Wisconsin, I think very few give it a thought in the winter months. But if you’re anywhere near Ellison Bay, and have a passion for the natural world, and the time to pursue a certification that recognizes your skills and knowledge, here is a special opportunity.

The new Wisconsin Master Naturalist program will be offering its training course at The Clearing this January and February. The Peninsula Pulse has the sign up info and more about the schedule, which includes 40 hours of instruction in the classroom, with field trips, and a service learning component.

At Long Lake in the Kettle Moraine State Forest - Northern Unit.

At Long Lake in the Kettle Moraine State Forest – Northern Unit.

That may sound like a heavy committment, and the cost of the course, $250, is significant too. But also significant is the knowledge of geology, ecology, plant life, aquatic life, wildlife, and 3 more topic areas, that you will be acquiring. So is the fact that when you successfully complete the course, you will be joining an elite new corps of informed volunteers dedicated to education and service within our Wisconsin communities and wild places.

Environmental Education Specialist Kate Reilly, the director of this new program, said that since launching in the spring of this year, two training courses, one at Saukville and one in Milwaukee have been completed, and two pilot training sessions (in Madison and Ashland) were completed in 2012. As a result there are currently 72 certified Wisconsin Master Naturalists and 16 trained instructors in the state.

Along Lake Michigan: a Door County beach, just north of Sturgeon Bay.

Along Lake Michigan: a Door County beach, just north of Sturgeon Bay.

Reilly added she is hopeful that 25 more (the maximum class size) will be trained at The Clearing. The Wisconsin Master Naturalist program is similar to Wisconsin’s well-known Master Gardner program, and also modeled on Master Naturalist programs in 25 other states.

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