Volunteering with Extension Natural Resources is EASY!

Amy Rager, Extension Educator, Minnesota Master Naturalist State Program Director

January 2018

No matter what your passion, Extension natural resources has a volunteer opportunity just for you!  These programs all work to make Minnesota a better place by engaging citizens in their own local communities.  Data collection, monitoring, education, and stewardship are all options for involvement.

Participation varies by program.  

AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) Detectors - This program educates volunteers to identify aquatic invasive species and how to work with professionals to stop the spread of these species.  There is no application process, but requires successful completion of the online training modules and attendance in the corresponding workshop with a passing score on assessment.  

AIS Trackers (currently under development) - This program will work with volunteers to monitor known infestations of AIS.  There is no application process, but requires successful completion of the online training modules, and attendance in the corresponding workshop/field training with a passing score on assessment.

Forest Pest First Detectors - This corps of volunteers is on the look-out for invasive forestry pests, such as Emerald Ash Borer.  There is no application process, requires successful completion of the online training modules, and must attend one workshop and sign the confidentiality form.  

Master Gardeners - are county based volunteers who provide horticulture education in their local communities.  This program has an application and selection process.  Individuals are selected based on the need for volunteers in the local program and the individual’s successful completion of the application and selection process.  

AcornsMaster Naturalist - is a statewide program that trains volunteers to provide service and education for natural resources.  There is no application process, but requires the completion of the basic biome class (40 hours), and eight hours of advanced training in subsequent years.

Minnesota Bee Atlas - Volunteers place bee blocks out in a specified area, monitor and return them in the fall.  The requirements are more about the location of the block.  Blocks are not placed in urban backyards so a volunteer has to live in a place with good bee habitat or be willing to travel to a park, SNA, etc.  

Bumble Bee Survey - Volunteers catch, or photograph bumble bees, and report to Bee Lab.  Participants need to be able to identify common bumble bee species.  Volunteers gain this knowledge by attending one of our workshops, previous volunteer experience with Elaine Evans, or a course background in entomology.  

Wasp Watchers - is a monitoring program to help detect Emerald Ash Borer (one particular type of wasp will prey on EAB; its presence serves as an indicator that EAB may be present).  There is no application process, just participation in either a classroom workshop or a field training to acquire the needed identification skills.  

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