Michigan Master Naturalist


This program is open to anyone who has an interest in the great out of doors! Participants in the “Michigan Master Naturalist” program will gain a greater understanding of the natural environment and conservation techniques while learning the flora native to Michigan. Throughout the program, local volunteer opportunities may become apparent. Participants can take an active role in implementing what they have learned throughout their neighborhoods and in their own backyards.


The sessions will be taught in both indoor and outdoor settings. The outdoor sessions will be lead on foot in a wide variety of locations including well-known (or somewhat secretive) parks, native preserves and bogs throughout the local training area. Some locations may have steep or rough terrain.  

These sessions will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on each Saturday date in 2023.

Topics/Dates for the Rouge River Region

Date  Topic  Location(s)  
May 6    Ornithology, Botany and Native Plants   Environmental Intrepretive Center
June 3 Intrepretive Skills, Native trees and Insect Biomass for Birds  Environmental Intrepretive Center
July 8 Michigan Geology, Climate, Soils                           Environmental Intrepretive Center
August 5 River adn lake Ecology, Ichthyology, Reptiles, & Amphibians Humbug Marsh
September 9 Insects adn Spiders, Prairie Ecosystems, Conservation LeFurge Woods
October 7

Raptor and Waterfowl Migration, Wetland Habitats

Lake Erie Metropark
October 15

 Certification Exam

Online (MSU Guest ID Required)
(Note: locations subject to change)

 Automobile transportation and a Michigan State Park Recreation Passport is necessary. Carpooling can be coordinated as needed.

What to Expect

Students must obtain required books on their own:
  • Douglas Tallamy’s Bringing Nature Home (available new and used) -required reading chapters 1-8
  • The Kaufman Field Guide to Nature of the Midwest (available new and used) and required resource
  • Managing Michigan's Wildlife: A Landowners Guide (available as a free PDF in the D2L classroom using your MSU Guest ID) Required Reading first unit and relevant related subjects. 
  • Students should plan to wear weather and activity appropriate clothing such as closed toed shoes or hiking boots, hat, long pants, etc.  
  • A camera, hand lens, field guides, related apps preloaded on smart phones and binoculars may also prove helpful on outdoor experience walks. 
  • All classes will be held rain or shine.  

 Certification Exam

  • At the completion of the core sessions a Certification Exam is made available 
  • The Certificaiton exam is hosted on a digital platform and can be accessed via the Desire 2 Learn classroom (D2L).
  • Students must obtain an MSU Guest ID to gain access to the D2L learning classroom at Michigan State University.
  • An open book certification exam is made available where MIMN Trainees have 10 days to complete it.
  • Participants are granted multiple tries to reach this percentage. 
  • Participants must earn an 80% or better to be certified as a Michigan Master Naturalist.
  • Successfully passing earns a certificate and a MIMN sew on patch.


Each Master Naturalist is expected to attend every session.  
If a participant misses sessions, then he or she may fall behind and experience additional challenges to become a certified Michigan Master Naturalist.


$200 per person includes all core sessions, materials and handouts.

Cancellations received after April 25 will incur a $100 cancellation fee.

Cancellations received one week prior to the start of class will not be refunded.

Note: Registration will close when the class is full.   


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Contact Information

For additional questions, contact Beth Clawson at clawsonb@msu.edu or 269-330-5554 or Dorothy McLeer at naturalist@umich.edu or 313-593-5338.