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!
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.
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.
Aquatic invasive species
Aquatic invasive species (AIS) in Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands are a major concern. Each year, there are many efforts around the state to reduce populations of AIS in order to maintain recreational opportunities, biodiversity, and other benefits of our water resources. However, there are critical gaps in monitoring and evaluating the outcomes of these control efforts, leading to missed opportunities for improving management effectiveness. The AIS Trackers program will address these gaps by training citizen scientists and professionals to monitor changes in AIS populations in response to management. Monitoring results obtained by Trackers will be entered into a centralized database and analyzed by FWCB faculty to support adaptive management of AIS.