Minnesota Master Naturalist

Course Registration

BWBR - Online Course- Spring 2021 morning

BWBR Online Course- Spring 2021 morning website

46352 State hwy 329
Morris, MN 56267

The Big Woods, Big Rivers Course is being offered as an online course, taught by the state program staff, Amy Rager and Andrea Lorek Strauss. The Big Woods, Big Rivers Course will teach students about the natural and cultural history of the area of Minnesota that runs from the Northwest corner to the Southeastern side of the state. The Class will cover the same topics (geology, water, botany, wildlife, humans, interpretation) as an in-person class, but will take place on line, using Zoom for class meetings and the learning platform Canvas. As a student in this course, you will feel the thrill of being a trendsetter with support and assistance from Minnesota Master Naturalist staff. You will find opportunities for personal and professional growth, and a way to connect with others who have similar interests.

Books and supplies will be sent directly to you once you register for this class. Attendance at each week’s Zoom session is required in order to complete the Minnesota Master Naturalist training. Outside of class time participants will spend 2 hours per week completing assignments such as reading the text, viewing lecture videos, researching on the internet, visiting a nature location near home, and completing journal entries.

This is a virtual course, but we are offering optional in-person field trips. If you choose to participate in these field trips, you will be required to follow the most current COVID-19 safety guidelines, including social distancing and mask wearing. There will be 2 sets of field trips offered, one set early in the course, one set later. You will choose one from each set, and sign up in class according to the date and location that best suits your needs, with a maximum number of 25 participants per session. Field trips will be:

EARLY SET: (Choose 1 one) • March 24, 9 AM - noon, River Bend Nature Center, Faribault • March 24, 1 PM - 4 PM, River Bend Nature Center, Faribault • March 27, 9 AM - noon, Robert Ney Memorial Park, Maple Lake • March 27, 1 PM - 4 PM, Robert Ney Memorial Park, Maple Lake • Self-Guided Field Trip on your own

LATER SET: (Choose 1one) • April 30, 9 AM - noon, Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, Zimmerman • April 30, 1 PM - 4 PM, Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, Zimmerman • May 1, 9 AM - noon, Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Bloomington • May 1, 1 - 4 PM, Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Bloomington • Self-Guided Field Trip on your own

In order to fully participate in this online class, you will need to have access to technology that will allows you to access Zoom and Canvas and other internet locations on the internet as directed in class. This can be done with You may use a tablet, desktop computer, laptop, or a cell phone. The experience will be best on the largest screen possible, so a desktop or laptop is best. You will need to have a working webcam and microphone on this device. Good internet connection is important. Technical skills required for this course include: ability to access Zoom (including breakout rooms), Canvas, Padlet, Google Slides. Ability to mute and unmute yourself. Ability to open and view multiple windows simultaneously.

We will offer a Tech Check before class, to make sure that you are ready to learn the first night of class. We will ask you to check in on February 23, either at 9:30 AM or at 6:30PM, to make sure you can connect properly. This can take as little or as long as you need to be prepared. When class is in session, instructors will have limited ability to provide one-on-one technical assistance.

The course cost is $295 and includes course manuals and supplies.

If the course cost is a hardship, please fill out the scholarship application. After the scholarship is fully processed, you will receive a code to be entered in the on-line registration process. Please wait until you receive that code to complete registration.

Course Dates:

Meeting from 9:30 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. on:

Instructor Information

Amy Rager

Amy received a BA in Elementary Education from the College of St. Scholastica and a MEd in Environmental Leadership and Learning from the University of MN. She has worked for cooperative extension for 28 years in various positions, but has always tied her work to the environment. She is currently the state program director for the Minnesota Master Naturalist Program.

Andrea Lorek Strauss

Andrea Lorek Strauss grew up playing outdoors at every opportunity. Today, she is an environmental educator with the University of Minnesota Extension with an undergraduate degree in Education and Communication Arts, and a MSEd in Curriculum and Instruction/Outdoor Education. Past work gigs include 9 years with the International Wolf Center in Ely, MN, 2.5 years with the Prairie Ecology Bus Center in southwest Minnesota, and various naturalist roles in the Boston area, northern Minnesota, and New York state.

Caitlin Potter

Dr. Potter is the education and community engagement coordinator at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. Her background is in wildlife ecology, and she holds a B.S. in Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology as well as a masters and Ph.D in ecology and evolutionary biology. She studied wildlife and animal behavior all over the world (mostly monkeys in Ethiopia) before finding her true passion doing environmental education! Now, she runs school field trips and public events at CCESR, works with scientists to get their results into the hands of students, and organizes several citizen science projects.

Sponsor Information

University of MN Extension

Register Now!

Seats Taken: 50 of 50

Log in to register!