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 May to June 2022 Dickinson County Extension
Madison County March to September 2022 Madison County Extension
Black Hawk and Bremer Counties Late April to Mid-June 2022 Black Hawk County Extension
Polk County April to May 2022 Polk County Extension 
Lyon County April to May 2022 Lyon County Extension
Jasper, Marion, Mahaska and Poweshiek Counties May to June 2022 Marion County Extension
Story County April to June 2022 Story County Extension 
Henry and Des Moines Counties April to October 2022 Henry County Extension 
Clay County June to August 2022 Clay County Extension 
Scott County/Nahant Marsh April to August 2022 Nahant Marsh Education Center
Dubuque County April to June 2022 Dubuque County Extension 
Harrison County May to September 2022 Harrison County Extension 
Winneshiek and Allamakee Counties May to June 2022 Winneshiek County Extension
West Pottawattamie County April to September 2022 West Pottawattamie County Extension 
Washington and Keokuk Counties September to November 2022 Washington County Extension 
Mills County  July to October 2022 Mills County Extension 
Dallas County August to September 2022 Dallas 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 2022 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.