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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Minnesota Master Naturalist Program receives 2016 ANROSP Outstanding Program Evaluation Award

The Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach and Service Programs (ANROSP) concluded its national conference with an awards ceremony held at the Randall Davey Audubon Center and Sanctuary.

The Minnesota Master Naturalist Program received the 2016 ANROSP Outstanding Program Evaluation Award. This award recognizes the value and importance of program evaluation by highlighting ANROSP member program evaluation efforts, including the tools used to conduct evaluations and communications efforts employed to share results.

Founded in 2005, the occasion of the Minnesota Master Naturalist Program’s 10th anniversary prompted program managers to stop and reflect on the past accomplishments and future directions for the program. Since its inception, the program has had a rigorous evaluation process. Using data collected in a custom-built on-line reporting system, a statewide overview was conducted to examine coverage across Minnesota and then to analyze how Minnesota Master Naturalist has worked with programs nationally, demonstrating the expanding impact of one state’s program. A full-color booklet, available in print and online, was developed and circulated to share the results.

Amy Rager, Minnesota Master Naturalist Program Director, Andrea Lorek Strauss, and Britt Forsberg accepted the award on behalf of the Minnesota Master Naturalist Program, University of Minnesota Extension. Amy Rager, ANROSP President and Minnesota Master Naturalist Program Director, said "ANROSP provides member programs an opportunity to share their best work in the areas of Outstanding Educational Materials, Outstanding Volunteer Project, Outstanding Team, Outstanding Program Evaluation and Program of the Year.  Each year ANROSP is proud to highlight programs from across the United States in each of these categories." Award applications are peer reviewed and selection is made by the ANROSP Awards Committee, chaired by the ANROSP Vice President.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Volunteer Across Minnesota on National Public Lands Day, September 24th

The Minnesota Master Naturalist program is facilitating National Public Lands Day (September 24th, 2016) volunteer sites across the state. Explore the map below to find a location, view a project description, and get a link to registration. The full list of sites is also available on our website. See you in the field!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Extension Specialists Discuss Pollinators on MPR

Tune-in to Minnesota Public Radio MPR News at 11:00am this morning to hear Extension Specialists, Karen Oberhauser and Marla Spivak, and Dan Cariveau from the Department of Entomology discuss Minnesota's pollinators.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Driven to Discover Partner Wins State Environmental Education Award

Congratulations to the Milwaukee Urban Ecology Center & Ken Leinbach, recipient of the 2016 Dave Engleson Award from the Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education. The prestigious David Engleson Award is awarded to individuals, agencies, and organizations that make significant contributions to the field of environmental education.

A brief video about the award recipient includes images and an interview with a youth participant in the University of Minnesota Driven to Discover program. Urban Ecology Center was a key partner in helping University of Minnesota Extension faculty develop and test the Driven to Discover program, which involves youth and adult leaders in citizen science and conducting their own scientific investigations. A brief video on the Driven to Discover site describes an Urban Ecology Center investigation to compare bird species in different habitats.

Visit the Driven to Discover website to learn more about the program for youth and adult leaders.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Master Naturalist Volunteer Coordinates Rochester Weed Warriors Against Garlic Mustard

The Rochester Post-Bulletin has published a brief article about efforts of Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer, Terri Dugan, to coordinate "Weed Warriors" to eradicate garlic mustard at the Quarry Hill Nature Center. The paper quotes her as saying, "My hope is eventually every invasive species control class conducted by professionals will include contact information and an invitation to join the Weed Warriors." Congratulations to Dugan and the Warriors in Rochester!

Visit the Extension website to learn more about the Minnesota Master Naturalist program.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Thanks to Galen Erickson, Master Naturalist Volunteer, for Capstone Video

The Minnesota Master Naturalist program is and exciting way to learn about nature through a 40-hour course. Master Naturalist is for adults wanting to expand their horizons about the natural wonders in Minnesota's major biomes. After completing a course, they join thousands of others across Minnesota to volunteer in parks, nature centers and after school programs. Master Naturalists return thousands of hours of volunteer service annually to conserve Minnesota's natural resources. 

Galen Erickson is a Master Naturalist Volunteer from Minnesota from Plymouth, MN, who completed a video for the Master Naturalist program as his course capstone project. Galen runs New Horizon Productions INC., a company that produces short professional videos for Fortune 500 companies and Nonprofits. 


Monday, December 7, 2015

Driven to Discover Project Inspires Ecuadorians

Citizen engagement in scientific research is a hot topic among academics at the Universidad de Cuenca in Cuenca, Ecuador. FWCE Educator Andrea Lorek Strauss fanned the flame with a presentation about the Driven to Discover (D2D) project on a recent visit there.

Conservation biologists, anthropologists and geographers recently participated in a three-day seminar on Citizen Science and the potential for involving communities in gathering data relevant to their lives, including crowdsourcing of traffic patterns to aid biking and public transportation usage. Strauss, on a personal visit to the country last week, connected with University scholars in civic engagement and offered to share her expertise in training volunteers to engage youth in contributing citizen science data and pursuing independent scientific investigations. 

The research and evaluations on from the D2D project provided useful insight for the discussion. Science education in Ecuador is heavily lecture based at all levels, from primary school through University, and rarely includes lab or field experiences. The D2D curriculum guides and teaching tools provide innovative approaches for hands-on, learner directed learning experiences. 
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