Are you passionately curious about nature? Do you care deeply about preserving local wetlands, forests, and animal habitats? Are you well-versed in the scientific names of regional trees, birds, and plants? And if not, do you want to be?
If you can answer “yes” to any of those questions, the City of Bellevue’s master naturalist training might be for you. The free program is accepting applications from now until Nov. 30.
Naturalists-in-training will learn all about Bellevue’s rich ecosystem — home to cougars, bats, bears, bobcats, birds, and other creatures. In addition, participants will become well versed in local ecology, hydrology, geology, natural resource management, and cultural history.
Training will occur every Tuesday and Thursday evening, 5:30-8 p.m., from Jan. 24 through April 11, at the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center. There will be class lectures; workshops; restoration projects; and of course, field trips.
Those who complete the program will be asked to commit at least five volunteer hours per month and a maximum of 100 hours within a two-year period.
Master naturalists report to the city’s park rangers, and commonly spend time restoring and monitoring habitats, leading nature hikes and canoe tours, and assisting with other community projects.
To qualify, you must live in Bellevue (if space allows, residents of other cities will considered); be at least 18 years old; like working outdoors; have some experience in landscaping or grounds maintenance, environmental education or interpretation, and volunteering; and understand or have an interest in botany, horticulture, native plants, resource management, noxious weeds, restoration ecology, or wildlife habitats.
Master naturalist application forms can be accessed here.