Minnesota Master Naturalist Course

June 6 – June 9
8:30-4:30 PM
  • Adults $275


Dodge Nature Center will be sponsoring the University of Minnesota Extension's Minnesota Master Naturalist course. Register on the U of M Extension website here.

Join us at one of the most diverse nature centers in the St. Paul area featuring wetlands, maple-basswood forest and acres of restored prairie along with a early 1900s working farm and a modern aviary housing non-releasable raptors used in programming and education. We will explore the flora & fauna of the nature center using it as our home base, while taking daily field trips seeking out the geologic and cultural history of the Mississippi river as it passes through the Metropolitan area. In addition we will explore the human impact of woodland native peoples right up to today as we continue to use and shape our lives around the great river. 

In addition to indoor and outdoor classroom learning, participants will complete a group service project in partnership with the host organizations. 

Come prepared to be comfortable in the early summer weather. Mini-field trips will be held each day, culminating with one full day offsite trip. 

Completion of the service project and attendance of all five days will be required for successful completion of this class. 

You will need to bring your lunch.

The course cost is $275 and includes course manuals and supplies.

If the course cost is a hardship, please fill out the scholarship application and send it to us.

Course Dates:

Meeting from 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. on:

Instructor Information

David Schmidt

David spent 35 years working in the Information Technology industry, for the past 19 years he’s been an interpretative volunteer at the Minnesota Zoo. He was a member of the citizen’s advisory board for the Farmland and Natural Areas Preservation program in Dakota Co. advising county commissioners on lands that should receive conservation easements, serving from 2001 -05. In 2005 he attended the inaugural Big Woods, Big Rivers (BWBR) Master Naturalist class, in 2008 attended the Prairies and Potholes (PP) class and in 2016 the Northwoods, Great Lakes (NWGL) class. In 2016 he also became a Dakota County Bluebird coordinator for BBRP Minnesota. 

In early 2011 he was asked to take the instructor training by the MN Zoo to teach BWBR classes for the Zoo. Since becoming a MNat instructor he has been an instructor or co-instructor of six MNat classes.

Peter Cleary

Pete Cleary is the Director of Environmental Education at Dodge Nature Center. He has worked in the environmental education field for 23 years at various nature centers and in various capacities such as plowing snow, writing curriculum, teaching programs to diverse audiences, caring for live animals, managing interns and acting as naturalist liaison to the award-winning Garlough Environmental Magnet School. Having taught thousands of people in the outdoors, he still looks forward to the opportunity to get outside and explore the natural world.

Sarah Keefer

Sarah received her degree in Biological Science and Wildlife from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her decade with the National Park Service includes professional interpretation on climate change in coastal Alaska to supervision of a habitat restoration program in Minnesota. 

With a focus on stewardship and sustainability, she chairs her city's natural resources commission, owns and advocates for electric vehicles, instructs and supports programming for the Minnesota Master Naturalist Program, and manages her small monarch waystation.

June 2017 Activities

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