Master Conservationist Program

04/19/2023 05:30 PM - 07:30 PM CT


  • $200.00





Planting the Seeds of Conservation in Iowa




The Master Conservationist Program (MCP) 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.


In-person Classes


Nahant Marsh Education Center has offered the Master Conservationist program since 2012 with more than 170 participants. Our experienced naturalists, along with field experts will be leading the in-person meetings. Field trips are a wonderful way to take the lessons learned from the modules and apply them in the field. Dressing for the weather is vital for a more enjoyable experience. Hats, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, bug spray, snacks, and a water bottle are highly recommended. 




Participants are responsible for transportation. If possible, Nahant Marsh will provide transportation for some field trips.


AEA license credits 

MCP participants are now able to earn AEA license renewal credits for participation in the program! Licensed teachers that are in need of renewal credits can earn 2 credits for going through the MCP. Registration through AEA and an additional $70 fee to AEA are required. A short reflection on your experience in MCP and what you learned will be used to grade your participation. For questions, please reach out to Kaycie Waters at


Class Descriptions


Wednesday, April 19 - 5:30-7:30 pm - Course Intro
Introductions and review of materials and resources for the course. Dinner provided.

Saturday, May 6 - 8:00 am-1:00 pm - Woodlands and Geology 
Learn about the unique geological features and plant communities that make up the woodlands of Wild Cat Den. Lunch provided.

Wednesday, May 24 -5:30-7:30 pm - Aquatic Environments
Learn about water quality, conservation practices, and restoration efforts at Nahant Marsh. This session includes a guided tour of the marsh, a macroinvertebrate study, and water quality testing.

Saturday, June 10 - 8:00 am-12:00 pm - Prairies and Geology
Explore the sand dunes, plants, and wildlife at the largest sand prairie preserve in our region.

Saturday, June 24 - 9:00 am-12:00 pm- Prairies
Explore what prairie restoration looks like through a guided tour of Andress Prairie Rose Acres. Our host will also include a lesson on camp dutch oven cooking.

Wednesday, July 12 - 5:30-7:00 pm - Land and Water Conservation
This session includes a visit to a local farm to discuss conservation practices implemented on the farm. 


Wednesday, August 16 - 5:30-7:30 pm - Planting the Seeds of Conservation
For our final meeting, we will reflect upon the course and harvest seed from Nahant’s prairie. Dinner provided.

Contact Info

Amy Loving
All classes and locations are subject to change due to inclement weather.


Course fee

Nahant Marsh Members receive a discount. Non-members will receive an individual membership in their fee.
$160 Members | $200 Guests (includes Individual Membership) 


*Limited scholarships are available. Contact Amy for more info.


Please register by April 5. 

Neon CRM by Neon One