Celebrating our partnership with Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists

by: Angela Danovi, Ozarks Water Watch Regional Project Manager

As 2018 draws to a close, I want to take a moment to recognize our partnership with the Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists and to let you know about an upcoming opportunity for you to become a master Naturalist.  

Over the last several years, I have been privileged to work with and get to know many members of the Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists.  Their support, skills, and donation of their volunteer time have been critical to the success and accomplishments of our programs.  Here are just some of the examples of how master naturalists have supported me and the Ozarks Water Watch programs:

Master Naturalist Volunteer Fair

Tom Edmiston spoke before nearly 100 master naturalists during the volunteer opportunity showcase in February promoting our StreamSmart program.  During that event, I filled all available volunteer sites for the 2018 Beaver Lake monitoring and recruited over 20 people to check out stream monitoring to help fulfill our volunteer needs and to help master naturalists members meet their annual volunteer hours.

Master Naturalist Volunteer Day at Ozarks Water Watch in Rogers

In March, Tom Edmiston, along with a team of 20 others, visited my office at the Center for Nonprofits to help prepare supplies for the 2018 monitoring season.  In one afternoon, they completed over one month’s worth of work and helped to get our supplies ready for our volunteer monitoring teams.

Master Naturalist StreamSmart Teams

This year we had three new master naturalists teams join StreamSmart, adopting existing sites in need of new teams.  I know when a master naturalist team adopts a site, they do so with purpose and I can count on them to follow through with their commitments, as well as provide important feedback and support to help improve the quality of our volunteer monitoring program.  

Master Naturalists Lake Teams

Tom and Christie Waggoner along with three other volunteer teams covered four out of seven (57%) of our sites on Beaver Lake during the 2018 summer monitoring season.  The Waggoners were previously honored for their service to our lake monitoring program. Julie Lanshe was our volunteer of the year for 2018.  

Master Naturalists Rain Barrel Workshop

In late summer, Ken Leonard with the master naturalists reached out to me to ask if I would be willing to host a rain barrel making workshop with the master naturalists.  Through our partnership with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, an organization that has written the manual and perfected leading rain barrel workshops, I brought together the two organizations for a worskshop. In October, approximately 15 master naturalists made rain barrels to take home and place on their property to capture rain water for later use.  The workshop was held at Lake Weddington and I made a rain barrel for use in the new native garden being installed at Lake Weddington by the master naturalists.  It was a fun, interactive, and informative day while serving as another effort by master naturalists to protect water quality in Northwest Arkansas.

You can become a Master Naturalist!

Master Naturalists in Training 2018 class from Eureka Springs complete their field stream training

December is the time of year that the Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists recruit new members for the spring class.  Each year, I have the privelege of teaching a portion of the stream, water, and watersheds training to the new classes.  Our class is consistently rated as one of the most well-liked among the Master Naturalists in training.  We always get at least one or two new StreamSmart teams from the incoming class.  So, I want to encourage you or your friends to consider the master naturalist training.  When you finish, you will have the equivalent experience of a first year college environmental science class.  

Access the 2019 application for the  Master Naturalist classes here

2019 Benton County Class Schedule

2019 Washington County Class Schedule

2019 Eureka Springs Class Schedule

Master Naturalists in Training 2018 class from Benton County complete their field stream training

I hope you will consider joining the master naturalists.  It is a wonderful opportunity for you to learn, grow, make friends, and help the organizations, like us, who are doing environmental science, education, outreach, and research to protect our natural resources.

If you have questions or would like more information about the Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists, please contact nwamncontact@mn4arkansas.org