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

* Note - The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has upset planning for the traditional instructional model for the Master Conservationist Program. Many counties are considering online or modified offerings. Please check back here to see when these offerings are arranged or when we resume normal programming schedules after the pandemic.

County(s) Dates Contact
Polk County April - May 2021 Polk County Extension
Henry and Des Moines County May - July 2021 Henry County Extension
Hamilton, Webster, Humboldt, and Pocahontas May - June 2021 Hamilton County Extension
Harrison County April - September 2021 Harrison County Extension
Dubuque County April - June 2021 Dubuque County Extension
Cerro Gordo, Worth, Mitchell, Floyd, and Franklin July - August 2021 Cerro Gordo County Extension
Black Hawk County April - June 2021 Black Hawk County Extension

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.