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Iowa Master Conservationist Program to begin in Hamilton, Webster, Pocahontas and Humboldt counties

Course will provide hands-on interaction with Iowa’s rich natural resources

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will offer the Iowa Master Conservationist Program starting May 18. The program will take place at different locations within Hamilton, Humboldt, Webster and Pocahontas Counties, providing participants with hands-on interaction showing the diversity of the state’s natural resources. The program teaches about Iowa’s natural ecosystems and the diversity of conservation challenges and opportunities within the region. Graduates of the course learn to make informed choices for leading and educating others to improve conservation in Iowa.

The program consists of approximately 12 hours of online curriculum and seven weekly three-hour face-to-face meetings. The online modules will include lessons and resources by Iowa State University subject-matter experts to be reviewed at the participants’ own pace at home or at the ISU Extension and Outreach County office. Module topics include conservation history and science, understanding Iowa ecosystems, implementing conservation practices in human dominated landscapes and developing skills to help educate others about conservation practices.

The face-to-face meetings held on Tuesday evenings will build on the online lessons. The program schedule is as follows:

• May 18 – Camp Wanoki, Fort Dodge for introductions to the program

• May 25 – Bells Mills Park in Hamilton County to learn about Setting the Stage: Land, Water and Conservation in Iowa

• June 1 – Brushy Creek in Webster County to learn about prairies

• June 8 – Joe Sheldon Park in Humboldt County for forests

• June 15 – Lizard Creek in Pocahontas County for aquatic environments

• June 22 – Smelter Farm near Otho to hear about watersheds

• June 29 – Frank A. Gotch Park in Humboldt County for Planting the Seeds of Conservation.

All programs are from 6-9 p.m. Each face-to-face meeting will be led by local subject-matter experts to demonstrate how the principles covered in the online curriculum play out locally.

Steering committee partners include: Humboldt County Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS), Webster County Conservation, Webster County Pheasants Forever, Hamilton County Conservation, The Nature Conservancy and Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship.

Registration for the course is $125 and includes all materials and refreshments and is due at the time of registration. Please register online by May 11 at: http://bit.ly/masterconservationist

For more information, contact Sue Schmitz, Hamilton County Extension Program Coordinator at 515-832-9597 or sschmitz@iastate.edu

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