Welcome to the Springfield Plateau Chapter of the Missouri Master Naturalist™ program. Last year, our chapter of 60+ active members racked up more than 7,000 hours of volunteer service and training–and we’ll likely surpass that in 2013. Our chapter averages more hours per member than any of the state’s chapters. We’re proud of that record and the difference we’re making in southwest Missouri.

So what does it take to become a Master Naturalist? First, ask yourself: Are you passionate and curious about the natural world? Do you enjoy learning about and teaching  others about butterflies and moths, spiders and insects, fish and birds and all manner of four-legged wild critters in Missouri?  Do you like prairies and glades, forests and savannas, streams and caves? Would you enjoy a sunrise on a nearby prairie while counting quail coveys?

If yes, then perhaps you were meant to be a Master Naturalist™. Our class of 2013 is about to graduate but contact our advisor, Jay Barber at Missouri Department of Conservation, 895-6881, ext. 1643, to get your name on a list for a future class.

Master Naturalists is a community-based natural resource, education and volunteer program. Our mission is to engage Missourians in the stewardship of our state’s bountiful natural resources through science-based education and volunteer community service. The purpose of the program is to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach and service dedicated to that purpose.

Becoming a Master Naturalist

A Master Naturalist must give 40 hours of volunteer service every year. That’s a big commitment, but many of our members give far more than that.

To become a Master Naturalist, you will receive 40 hours of training  and contribute 40 hours of volunteer service in the next year. After the first year, each Master Naturalist must complete 8 hours of advanced training and 40 hours of volunteer service each year.

Learn more at the statewide site at Missouri Master Naturalist. Also visit our calendar, Facebook page and blog to view scheduled events and volunteer opportunities.

What We Do

Since its founding in 2006, the Springfield Plateau Chapter is one of the most active in the state. Our 60+ members rock! Among the 90+ members of the Springfield Plateau Chapter, you’ll find us in Joplin lending a hand,  in classrooms and on nature outings helping teachers introduce their students to the natural world. We may talk about the critters you’ll find in a rotten log or the types of fur-bearing animals in Missouri. We teach kids about the many uses of the American bison. We plant trees, monitor springs and streams,  volunteer for river cleanups, remove invasive species, help restore glades and prairies and participate in many other outdoor educational events with our partners and sponsors.

We get involved in projects such as planting natives and developing a rain garden at Springfield’s green Hickory Hills School and providing trees for residents of Battlefield.

Read more about our accomplishments in our annual reports:

MN Annual Report 2013  2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007

Download our flier about the classroom presentations covering bison, insects and spiders, birds, mammals and reptiles/amphibians you can schedule.  And here’s our brochure about the Springfield Plateau Chapter.

Our monthly meetings (members only) feature programs on soil, water, insects, mammals, fish, trees and plants–just about anything you can think of in the natural world. In November, we move from our current “home” at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s office in Springfield to the new C.W. Titus Education Facility at the Watershed Center at Valley Water Mill Park.

We also offer field trips to members. Most recently, we’ve visited the Springfield Zoo and Roaring River State Park. Other times we’ve visited Prairie State Park, Rocky Barrens Conservation Area and Tumbling Creek Cave. We’ve gone “down under” Springfield, led by Mike Kromrey of the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, and we’ve enjoyed wildflower walks along Bull Creek.

Our blog at http:springfieldmn.blogspot.com, is managed by member Bob Kipfer, with contributions from other members.

The Master Naturalist program is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the University of Missouri Extension.  Jay Barber with MDC and Patrick Byers with Extension participate in programs and outings, provide training and coordinate volunteer opportunities.

Missouri Department of Conservation

University of Missouri Extension

Other chapter partners are: