The Master Naturalist Program

Protect and Enhance the Nation's Natural Resource Base and Environment
Research Year: 
2004
Issue: 

Many communities, agencies and organizations rely on citizen volunteers for implementing youth education programs, operating parks, nature centers and natural areas, and for providing leadership in local natural resource conservation efforts. The Master Naturalist program in Coconino County is directed at creating a corps of well-informed volunteers to deliver quality environmental education programs and to assist in the stewardship of Arizona's natural environment.

Description of Action: 

Coconino County Cooperative Extension initiated a program called Arizona Master Naturalists in fall, 2003. Volunteers undergo ten weeks of training focusing on plants (invasive weeds and ethnobotany), wildlife habitat, water and drought issues, climatology, forest health and fire ecology, interpretation and education, geology, and the natural and cultural history of the region. At the end of the training, class participants give back a minimum of 40 hours in service to organizations and agencies of northern Arizona, including The Arboretum at Flagstaff, The Museum of Northern Arizona, Arizona Game and Fish, the National Park Service, Grand Canyon Trust, The Nature Conservancy and many other organizations.

Arizona Master Naturalists were integral in setting up and maintaining the Web log site http://azmasternaturalist.arizona.edu, used as a information and communication tool to class members and the general public. In addition, a video library of classes has been established due to the efforts of another Master Naturalist.

Impact: 

In 2004, volunteer master naturalists in the Flagstaff area participated in weed pulls, treating 15 acres of noxious weeds along trails and open spaces in the area. They have played a primary role in educating agency representatives and the Coconino County Board of Supervisors regarding the sources and distribution of noxious weeds.

Overall, master naturalist class members donated more than 2019 hours to area agencies and organizations in 2004. As of December 31, 2004 the dollar contribution made by Master Naturalists to the community, area agencies and organizations is in excess of $35,500, using the federal volunteer compensation rate of $17.61/hour. One of the Master Naturalist student's efforts in particular was cited as an “incredible contribution to Willow Bend” by one of the environmental educational center's staff.

Funding Agencies: 

Flagstaff Community Foundation; University of Arizona Cooperative Extension

Conact Name: 
Wade Albrecht
Contact E-mail: 
Contact Address: 

The University of Arizona

2304 N. 3rd Street

Flagstaff, AZ 86004-3605

(928) 774-1868 office (928) 774-1860 fax