Program offered to train Wisconsin master naturalists

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Anna Marie Lux
August 7, 2014

Lena Verkuilen and Dan Bartlett want to share marvels of the natural world with a small group of adults.

Verkuilen is director of the Welty Environmental Center, west of Beloit. Bartlett works at Beloit College, where he is curator of exhibits and education at the Logan Museum of Anthropology.

Beginning Thursday, Aug. 28, they will teach a course to promote awareness, understanding and stewardship of the state's natural resources. The class of no more than 25 will be part of a statewide Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program.

Instruction includes 40 hours of training in natural history, interpretation and conservation stewardship. The weekly Thursday class ends Oct. 30.  Most classes will be taught at the Welty Environmental Center, 8606 W. County H, Beloit.

With material developed by the UW Extension, the 10-week program is offered to develop a corps of informed volunteers. Students will get training in natural history, interpretation and stewardship.

Once they complete the class, the new master naturalists may volunteer with a number of organizations, including nature centers, parks and museums. Volunteers may teach others about the state's natural resources, interpret what is happening in nature or take part in conservation projects.

Verkuilen recommends the class to anyone who wants to know more about the outdoors.

Classes will begin with a brief lecture, followed by outdoor, hands-on learning and occasional expert guest speakers. Two all-day mandatory field trips are planned on Saturdays, Sept. 27 and Oct. 18.

Cost is $250, and scholarships are available. All materials and instruction are provided with the registration fee. Registration closes Aug. 14.



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