two AIS detector volunteers in the field
AIS Tracker participants in the field. Photo credit: MAISRC

Extension staff with a focus on Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Education programs 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. Many of our research programs have public outreach/engagement, such as those led by the Bell Museum curators.

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Aquatic Invasive Species

FWCB partners with the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center to provide Extension and public outreach in response to AIS threats. The AIS Detectors program trains citizens to identify and report potential aquatic invasive species as part of an organized statewide citizen-science-based surveillance program. 

The AIS Trackers program trains 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.

Minnesota Master Naturalist

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.

Ecological Restoration Training Cooperative

The Ecological Restoration certificate is a 150-hour program of five required courses, offered twice per year. The program provides early-career professionals with the practical skills and knowledge necessary to undertake the most common kinds of Midwestern restorations including revegetation of prairies, wetlands, lakeshores, forests and savannas.

These courses were developed in partnership with staff from several Minnesota state agencies who identified a critical need to train more restoration professionals to meet the growing demand for these skills.