Extension staff with focus on Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Education programs (pdf) are located in statewide offices and University of Minnesota campuses. They deliver programs that educate and engage citizens and professionals in a rich community of stewardship and teaching about Minnesota wildlife, fish, and critical habitat. These programs include:
The mission of the Minnesota Master Naturalist program is to promote awareness, understanding, and stewardship of Minnesota's natural environment by developing a corps of well-informed citizens dedicated to conservation education and service within their communities. Students participate in 40 hours of classroom instruction covering the basics of ecology for one of Minnesota's biomes, then complete a capstone project. Upon graduation, Master Naturalist volunteers conduct 40 hours of volunteer service each year to remain active in the program. Over 900 citizens from 80 Minnesota counties are part of this volunteer network!
Driven to Discover: Enabling authentic inquiry through citizen science
A program that trains 4-H and other volunteer youth group leaders in the background knowledge and methods needed to lead them in conducting citizen science projects and then to develop their own ecology research projects. U of M Extension: Enabling authentic inquiry through citizen science.
Aquatic Invasive Species
As the threat of AIS continues to grow across Minnesota, there is a need for an organized statewide surveillance program that targets high-risk areas with trained observers. This program trains citizens to identify and report potential aquatic invasive species. In addition to the need for AIS detection in high-risk areas, there is also a need for a monitoring system to collect and share AIS treatment response data. The AIS Trackers program will train citizen scientists and professionals to monitor changes in populations of AIS over time in specific locations (i.e., a lake or river reach) and to generate data useful for management.
Monarchs in the Classroom
The Monarch Lab promotes and facilitates inquiry-based education through original curricula and research opportunities. The lab uses monarchs and other insects as focal organisms in inquiry-based teacher workshops and conducts an annual Ecology Fair to spotlight student research. The Monarch Larva Monitoring Project provides teachers, students, and other interested citizens an opportunity to be involved with nationwide research on monarch populations.