Purdue Cooperative Extension Service is accepting registrations for the 2013 Montgomery County Indiana Master Naturalist class. Classes will be held on March 4th, 14th, 20th, 26th, and every Monday in April from the 1st to the 22nd, from 5:00pm until 8:00pm at the 4-H Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall, Crawfordsville.

The Master Naturalist class is an Indiana Department of Natural Resources program designed to expand Indiana natural resource knowledge to citizens in the community through the use of trained volunteers. The program is open to anyone interested in learning more about natural resources and who is willing to volunteer a portion of their time to natural resource related programs and activities.

The Master Naturalist class is appropriate for anyone with an interest in nature, whether you're a beginner or long-time naturalist.  With the wide variety of classes, even experienced naturalists will be novices in some of the topics. 

The Master Naturalist program is a training program for volunteers who then help the Extension Service extend information to others.  After completing the class, interns must complete at least 35 volunteer hours in order to become a certified Master Naturalist through the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.   Upon passing a final examination and fulfilling the volunteer requirements, participants become certified Master Naturalist.

Certified Master Naturalists receive several privileges from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources that include a certificate of completion, and Master Naturalist pin and a one year subscription to the Indiana Master Naturalist newsletter.  

For information and contacts for other Master Naturalist classes in Indiana, see the state Master Naturalist website at http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/6321.htm.

The 2013 Montgomery County Master Naturalist class topics are: Natural Resources of Wabash Valley; Partners for Reclamation Program; Reptiles and Amphibians; Soil Health; Water Quality; Mammals; Forestry; Birds; Entomology; and Invasive, Medicinal and Edible Plants. A class pitch in dinner is scheduled for April 15th with the final exam to follow on April 22nd.

The Montgomery County Master Naturalist Association helps interns fulfill their volunteer requirement and coordinates several educational activities.

Cost of the 8 session class including a new Master Naturalist Binder and the cost is $75 per person or $100 per couple (one binder included). Deadline is February, 27th minimum of 10 needed for the class. Space is limited and is on a first come first serve basis. For an application or more information about the upcoming Master Naturalist program, contact the Agriculture and Natural Resource Educator, Rhonda Walker, at the Purdue Cooperative Extension Office, hours, M-F, 8-4, located at 400 Parke Avenue, Crawfordsville, Indiana, via email at walke229@purdue.edu or by phone at 765-364-6363.

Rhonda Walker is the Ag and Natural Resources Educator at the Purdue Extension Montgomery County.