Apply to be a Master Naturalist and learn how to protect and preserve natural resources by training with the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension.

The Master Naturalist program focuses on education, outreach and service to manage local natural areas and resources. It includes: land stewardship to eradicate invasive species and restore natural habitats; bluebird stewardship which includes monitoring local populations, data collection and educational outreach to local grade schools; pollinator protection; speaking engagements; and partnering with organizations that share the common goal of protecting natural resources. The mission is to develop knowledgeable and dedicated volunteers who are active in promoting awareness, understanding and stewardship of the natural heritage of Kansas.

Training begins March 6 and runs each Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m. through mid-May. The application deadline is January 16.

All classes will be conducted at the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Office, 11811 S. Sunset Drive, in Olathe, KS. Two sessions will include a Friday night and a Saturday morning outdoor adventure. Class members must be a resident of the greater Kansas City metro area. There is a $120 administration fee for those accepted into the class. Acceptance notices will be sent out in early February. The class is limited to 35 participants.

Applicants who are selected will receive 40 hours of classroom and hands-on instruction from experts in natural resource concepts. In return, newly-trained recruits will be required to volunteer 30 hours each year on community environmental projects.

For more information or to apply, contact Jessica Barnett, county agriculture and natural resources agent with Johnson County K-State Research and Extension at 913-715-7010, Jessica.barnett@jocogov or to the volunteer link at K-State Research and Extension.