Master Conservationist Program

Planting the seeds of conservation in IowaIowa's Master Conservationist Program logo

The Master Conservationist Program is a collaborative program offered by ISU Extension and Outreach, County Conservation Boards, and local conservation leaders and professionals. The intensive blended online and in-person curriculum is developed to equip Iowans interested in natural resource conservation with the knowledge and skills necessary to make informed decisions about natural resources and to become local leaders and educators. Master Conservationists are individuals that share an interest in the sustainability of Iowa's natural resources and in becoming better stewards of those resources.

The curriculum is structured into four modules that combine technical information presented and curated by Iowa State University researchers and educators with in-person sessions led by local conservation leaders, practitioners, and experts. Module 1 'sets the stage' for the course, exploring the history and current structure of conservation in Iowa and also exploring the landforms and waterways that make up the state's land area. Module 2 digs deep into the structure, function, and challenges facing Iowa's natural prairie, forest, and aquatic ecosystems. Module 3 explores the wide range of conservation practices developed and implemented to address conservation challenges in Iowa. The final and fourth module then examines the human elements of conservation and explores how to communicate the importance of conservation to Iowa and Iowans.

Course graduates are awarded a certificate and encouraged to get engaged locally to apply the information they learn and continue to build their local connections to conservation professionals and other passionate conservationists.

Current and planned offerings

County(s) Dates Contact
Dickinson County Planning for Fall 2023 Dickinson County Extension
Hamilton, Pocahontas, Webster, Humboldt Counties May to June 2023 Hamilton County Extension
Greene County  July to December 2023 Greene County Extension
Emmet County  May to June 2023 Emmet County Extension 
Black Hawk and Bremer Counties Planning for Fall 2023 Black Hawk County Extension 
Cerro Gordo, Franklin, Floyd, Mitchell, Worth Counties July to August 2023 Cerro Gordo County Extension
Polk County April to May 2023 Polk County Extension 
Nahant Marsh/Scott County April to August 2023 Nahant Marsh Education Center
Madison County March to September 2023 Madison County Extension
Harrison County June to September 2023 Harrison County Extension
Dubuque County April to June 2023 Dubuque County Extension
Story County  May to June 2023 Story County Extension 
Dallas County Planning for late Summer  Dallas County Extension 
West Pottawattamie County May to October 2023 West Pottawattamie County Extension 
Howard County July to August 2023 Howard County Extension
Warren County August to October 2023  Warren County Extension 
Adair and Cass Counties  May to October 2023 Cass County Extension 
Keokuk County Planning for Fall 2023  Keokuk County Extension 
Jefferson County August to November 2023 Jefferson County Extension 

*Offerings of the Master Conservationist Program ordinarily start in Spring, Summer, or Fall and are planned during preceeding seasons. Please check back here as offerings are scheduled and promoted for 2023 and beyond!

Are you interested in enrolling in a Master Conservationist Program class?

Offerings of the program are organized and coordinated by county extension offices throughout the state at the discretion of individual offices and partners. If you can't make one of the offerings listed above and want to have an offering in your county reach out to your local county extension office to inquire about future plans.

You can also fill out this form to be notified when an offering is coming to your home county or a nearby county you're willing to travel to.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach employees interested in learning more about organizing an offering of the Master Conservationist Program can learn more on the Program Catalog description, find resources in the CyBox folder, and communicate with the program coordinator.