Seven of the eight Idaho Master Naturalist Chapters were underway with their educational programming and volunteering for 2020 when the Governor issued the "Stay-at-Home" order for Idaho on March 25th. Most chapters provide a syllabus of planned classes for their members that total or exceed the 40 hour educational requirement for Idaho Master Naturalist Certification.
Several chapters moved quickly to modify their education efforts to webinars and recorded presentations. Other chapters had the flexibility to pause all educational sessions until later this summer/fall.
"I was pleased with how all the chapter leaders took quick action to consider the options and make a decision for their chapters, " commented Sara Focht, the Program's State Coordinator. "There were considerable technological hurdles and learning to make online meetings work, and those who choose that route were successful."
Participants also seem to be adapting to the online learning environment well. Some Master Naturalists have expressed their appreciation for the online classes.
Most volunteer work is on hold for now. Master Naturalists need to follow the Stay-at-Home Order. Some volunteer work has been deemed essential (timely, solitary, wildlife monitoring work). IDFG Regional Volunteer Services Coordinators would be the best resource for chapters if they have questions about particular volunteer work being appropriate or allowed. Master Naturalists from 2008-2020 who are active and working toward certification, "...should not worry or be concerned about meeting the education and volunteer requirements for certification in 2020. Requirements to certify will be modified if necessary in the future," assures Focht.