Outdoor Idaho, an Idaho Public Television (PBS) series on exploring Idaho, recently aired a great story about outdoor education. This story highlighted Dylon Starry, Canyon County Parks, Cultural & Natural Resources Program Manager, and Robyn Foust, Parks Interpretive Specialist, who are two of the 1,500 people who are considered Idaho Master Naturalists.

The Idaho Master Naturalist Program aims to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to actively work toward stewardship of Idaho’s natural environment.

Who can become an Idaho Master Naturalist?

Anyone who enjoys and appreciates Idaho’s outdoors can be an Idaho Master Naturalist; teachers, hunters, recreationists, farmers, retired professionals, and … you!

Idaho Master Naturalists are people who enjoy outdoor recreation, bird watching, identifying plants and animals, gardening, and supporting conservation through volunteerism.

The program is coordinated by Idaho Fish & Game, and there are currently eight chapters statewide. Canyon County Parks is a partner of the Deer Flat Chapter, hosted by the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge in Nampa.

“We’re very happy to be partners with the Deer Flat chapter of Idaho Master Naturalists. Several of our staff have certified, some year over year,” said Dylon Starry, Canyon County Parks, Cultural & Natural Resources Program Manager and certified Idaho Master Naturalist. “As outdoor education providers in the Treasure Valley, we’re excited to join forces with groups that are bringing people into conservation education, as this is how we preserve our resources for people to enjoy for generations.”

One of the main requirements for the program is to attend 40 hours of education about Idaho’s natural world, and then participants must volunteer 40 hours sharing that knowledge they learned.

In addition to the Refuge, Chapter partners include the Bureau of Land Management’s Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area and the Orma J. Smith Natural History Museum at The College of Idaho. The Deer Flat Chapter was founded in 2016 to bring the Master Naturalist program to the western Treasure Valley.

Through the Idaho Master Naturalist Program, you will:

  • Participate in conservation efforts in five areas (Citizen Science, Conservation Education, Administration, Habitat Stewardship, and Chapter Formation and Maintenance).
  • Find camaraderie with a large network of dedicated and trained volunteers who work toward conservation.
  • Further your education and interest in nature.
  • Have an opportunity to give back to the community you live in.

Other Idaho Master Naturalist Chapters include:

  • City of Trees, Boise
  • Deer Flat Chapter, Nampa
  • Henry’s Fork Chapter, Island Park
  • High Desert Chapter, Pocatello
  • Lewis Clark Chapter, Lewiston
  • McCall Heartland Chapter, McCall
  • Pend Oreille Chapter, Sandpoint
  • Sagebrush-Steppe Chapter, Boise
  • Upper Snake Chapter, Idaho Falls
  • Teton Valley Chapter, Driggs
  • Palouse Chapter, Moscow

For more information about the Idaho Master Naturalist Program visit: https://idfg.idaho.gov/master-naturalist or email Canyon County Parks, Cultural & Natural Resources at parksprograms@canyoncounty.id.gov.

For more great videos about Outdoor Idaho visit: https://www.idahoptv.org/shows/outdooridaho/.

Nature as a Classroomhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEfzGF7RO-E

Idaho Master Naturalist Programhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7oDne83g50