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story.lead_photo.caption Lori Rice (left), a Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalist, watches Martha Rodriguez of Springdale spin a wheel on Saturday Aug. 17 2019 to win a prize at the 14th annual Secchi Day Science Fair at Beaver Lake. ( Flip Putthoff)

Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists are recruiting new members to participate in their spring naturalist in training courses.

Classroom and field sessions led by expert naturalists and professionals in their fields will cover topics from trees to birds to geology to stream ecology.

Classes start at the end of January and will be held in Benton and Washington counties. Classes will start in January at Eureka Springs for Carroll and Madison County residents. Classes extend into May. The cost is $135 for the training and materials, plus $30 for annual dues.

A second household member can be added for $80 if materials are shared. Spaces will be filled in the order applications and payments are received.

More than 100 hours of combined classroom and field instruction are offered. The training focuses on ecological topics specific to the Ozarks. Subjects include geology, mammals, native plants and volunteer opportunities.

A trainee becomes an Arkansas master naturalist after completing the minimum 40 hours of instruction and graduating from naturalist in training status.

To reach the next level of mastery, a naturalist completes 40 hours of volunteer work and eight hours of advanced training during the calendar year.

Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists is an active group of volunteers involved in many types of projects including invasive species removal, public nature presentations, native plant seed collection and propagation, plant sales and wildlife habitat restoration.

The group also partners with many area agencies to provide expertise or volunteers for special events. These include Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area, Illinois River Watershed Partnership, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and Botanical Garden of the Ozarks. Some of these groups are on limited budgets and rely on volunteer help. There are volunteer opportunities available for all ages and skill sets.

For information, visit ArkansasMasterNaturalists.org. Click "Join AMN" and then the link for the Northwest chapter. Questions? Email portillo.jb@gmail.com.

Sports on 11/19/2019

Print Headline: Master Naturalists seek trainees

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