A seven-year wetland monitoring program; a growing network of solitary bee hotels; the multi-year stewardship of Roper Pond Natural Area; the TUNNEL Project (“Toward an Urban Network of Native Edible Landscaping”); the creation of the Edmonton Urban BioKit guide to local biodiversity – these projects are a small sample of the diverse volunteer work undertaken by over 200 Edmontonians who have graduated from the City of Edmonton’s Master Naturalist Program in the last seven years. The intent: to inspire enthusiasm for the stewardship of local natural areas among Edmontonians. The approach: bringing together knowledgeable community leaders and experts, city staff and passionate community members through collaborative learning to create a vibrant community of practice. The program has a learn-and-serve model; in exchange for 35 hours of training (classroom and field), 35 Master Naturalists with wide-ranging interests, expertise and experience dedicate 35 hours to volunteer work that directly benefits Edmonton’s natural areas – through stewardship, monitoring, naturalization and shared community learning. With the support and training they receive – from a team of city staff and more than 20 enthusiastic partner organizations, who together serve as instructors and mentors – Master Naturalists have become knowledgeable, passionate ambassadors for conservation in our city.
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