2018 marks the 10 year anniversary for the Idaho Master Naturalist program. A program created by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers that actively work toward the stewardship of Idaho’s natural world. The very first Master Naturalist chapter in the state was the Henrys Fork chapter created in 2008 in the Island Park area, near Yellowstone. Since then eight other Master Naturalist chapters have been formed across the state, bringing the total number of chapters in Idaho to nine.
Each chapter operates differently depending on their regions and the entities they support. Along with volunteering for Fish and Game, members of the Idaho Master Naturalist program assist the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and countless other government and non-government agencies. So chances are, if you get out into the wild places of Idaho at all, you have probably run into one of their 900 members acting as stewards over our wildlife and wild places.
To certify as an Idaho Master Naturalist, each member completes an initial 40 hours of classroom training covering a broad array of natural resource topics. In addition to class time, they also volunteer a minimum of 40 hours with a conservation agency within their first year. Members in the group are extremely diverse and represent all ages and backgrounds, however, what they all have in common is their dedication to learning about our natural resources and generously giving their time and abilities to improve them. There can be no doubt that their efforts make a difference to the places and animals they love.
From 2008 to 2018 the Idaho Master Naturalist chapters in Idaho have donated over 122,000 hours of volunteer service in their mission to improve wildlife habitat and the natural resources of Idaho. To date, 37 Master Naturalists have put in over 500 hours, and 20 have donated over 1,000 hours of volunteer service. When wildlife calls, they answer.
The Fish and Game wishes to extend our gratitude to the Idaho Master Naturalists and all they have accomplished over the past 10 years. We look forward to what we can accomplish together in the future.
To learn more about the program visit: Idaho Master Naturalist Program