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
Jackson County Planning for Fall 2024 Jackson County Extension
Jasper, Poweshiek, Marion and Mahaska Counties May to June 2024 Jasper County Extension
Polk County April to June 2024 Polk County Extension 
Black Hawk and Bremer Counties Planning for Fall 2024  Black Hawk County Extension 
Warren County Planning for Fall 2024 Warren County Extension 
Dallas County Summer 2024 Dallas County Extension 
Nahant Marsh/Scott County April to August 2024 Nahant Marsh
Wapello and Jefferson Counties May to August 2024 Wapello County Extension 
Boone and Greene Counties June 2024 Greene County Extension 
Washington County May to August 2024 Washington County Extension
Mills County August to October 2024 Mills County Extension
Dubuque County April to June Dubuque County Extension
Lyon County Planning for Fall (August start) Lyon County Extension
Henry and Lee Counties September to October Henry County Extension
Keokuk County July to September Keokuk County Extension
Worth, Cerro Gordo, Franklin, Floyd, and Mitchell July to August Worth 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 2024 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.