2017 Indiana Master Naturalist Class

05 Feb 2017 Indiana Master Naturalist Class

2017 Annual IMN Report

Photo caption:  Six members of the 2016 and thirteen members of the 2017 Kosciusko Indiana Master Naturalist classes completed the classroom/field work and volunteer hour requirements to become certified Indiana Master Naturalists.  Pictured: (front row left to right):  David Hippensteel, John Peterink, Darren Baier, Laura Snipes, Aubrey Rife, Carole Koos (back row left to right):  Peggy Wihebrink, Andrea Nichols, Lisa Llewellyn, Sarah Baier, Beverly Fish, Jeff Schenher, Sherry Gigous

SWCD Expanded Master Naturalist Class

Kosciusko County Soil and Water Conservation District sponsored and expanded its Kosciusko-Indiana Master Naturalist class (KIMN) in 2017.  Due to increased interest in the program, the KIMN committee expanded the cap on participants to twenty.

Classes began in March and ended in November. Sponsored on the state level by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the Kosciusko Master Naturalist classes investigated several topics specific to the natural resources of Kosciusko County and/or the State of Indiana.  Meeting once a month, the instructional meetings typically included a lecture followed by a field trip with hands-on learning.  Topics investigated included: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic, Native Americans in Northern Indiana, birds, citizen science, wildflowers, geology and soils, wetlands, lakes and streams, forestry, mammals, habitats and astronomy.  The program concluded with a comprehensive exercise and gathering in November.

Of the twenty participants this year, seventeen completed the required 24 hours of classroom/field work and passed the test with 70% or better.  Additionally, thirteen 2017 class members and six 2016 class members fulfilled the mandatory 24 hours of volunteer service needed to become a certified Indiana Master Naturalist.

The mission of the Indiana Master Naturalist program is to bring together natural resource specialists with adult learners to foster an understanding of Indiana’s plants, water, soils and wildlife, and promote volunteer service in local communities.  “Based on those goals, the program has been a resounding success,” commented Darci Zolman, program administrator with SWCD.  “We have met some amazing class members who have volunteered many hours to the community.”

SWCD is currently taking applications for the 2018 class, which begins in March.  For more information, please contact Darci Zolman, darci.zolman@in.nacdnet.net or 574-267-7445 x5374.