Advanced Training

Iowa Master Naturalists – Upcoming Advanced Training Opportunities 

**Please double check event pages and/or with contact listed ahead of time, in case of any schedule changes or cancellations.**

*Idea: You may be able to get involved in a volunteer capacity for some events. Consider contacting the organization to ask if they need any help.*


MondaysJohnson County “Paddle in the Park” Series

A naturalist will lead paddling programs on different water bodies throughout the county. This series is designed to help the public explore new natural areas, but also to further the conversation on water quality. During each paddle, time will be set aside for citizen science. Paddlers will help the naturalist gather water quality data and sample for aquatic macroinvertebrates (insects and other small creatures that tell us a lot about the health of the water body). Paddlers are helping to gather a snapshot of the health of each aquatic system, data that will ideally be built on year after year. Email or call 319-645-1011 to register. Spaces very limited so register early!

  • July 8, 2-3:30pm – Pechman Creek Delta – Info here
  • July 22, 2-4pm – Kent Park – Info here
  • July 29, 2-3:30pm – Pechman Creek Delta – Info here
  • Aug 5, 10am-1pm – Iowa River (9 miles, adults only) – Info here
  • Aug 12, 10am-2pm – Cedar River (10 miles, adults only) – Info here

Wed, July 31, Nuts for Water Quality Tour (Iowa City)
Join Trees Forever, the Northern Nut Growers Association, and North American Fruit Explorers for a bus tour of tree farms in Iowa City. Learn about growing chestnut trees, fruit and nut trees AND meet other tree enthusiasts. This tour is part of the NAFEX/NNGA Conference July 28 – 31, but you can also sign up for just the tour (which includes the option to ride along in our bus or to drive yourself). Will include Blueberry Bottom You-Pick near Brighton, Iowa, Chinkapin Bluff Wildlife area near Columbus City, Iowa, Prairie Grove Chestnut Growers Coop in Columbus Junction, Iowa, and Red Fern Farm north of Wapello, Iowa. The day ends at the Thirsty Camel near Conesville, Iowa. Info and registration here.


Thurs, Aug 1, 6:30 pm: Woodworking for Wildlife (Conservation Education Center, F.W. Kent Park)
Come learn about and get involved in bat conservation! Participants will learn a bit about Iowa bats and construct a single chamber bat house for their own house or property. There is a $10 fee for materials for this program (please pay cash or check – written out to Johnson County Conservation). Registration required; to register, call 319-645-1011 or email Info here.

Sat, Aug 3, 8:30am-Noon: Intro to Mushroom Collection & Identification (Nahant Marsh Education Center, Davenport)
Learn the basics of mushroom identification, including characteristics of fungi including cap, gill and stipe features along with how to make a spore print and what to carry with you in the field.  Where, when, and how to collect in a sustainable way will also be covered. A portion of the class will be spent outdoors so dress accordingly and bring a basket and pocket knife. $25 Members / $30 Guests. Info and registration here.

Sat, Aug 3, 8:30 pm: Cedar Amateur Astronomers Presentation (Palisades-Dows Observatory)
Topic: University of Iowa and the Race for Space. Did you know that Iowa played a major role in the International Space Race of the 1960s? Join Professor Lang for stories of the contributions of University of Iowa scientists and students to the race for space. She will discuss the life and legacy of Professor James Van Allen and also give many examples of current spacecraft and research projects ongoing today in the Department of Physics and Astronomy that work to continue his legacy in space. More info here.

Wed Aug 7, 8:00 a.m: Kent Park Bird Walk with leader Rick Hollis. Meet at the Kent Park Conservation Education Center.  Bring binoculars.

Wed, Aug 7, 6:30 PM: Introduction to Prescribed Fire (Conservation Education Center, F.W. Kent Park). A large smoke plume, burnt trees, blackened grassland: all evidence of fire and its pivotal influence on Iowa’s landscape. Prairie enthusiasts and those interested in land restoration will enjoy this presentation on the natural history of fire in Iowa and how a safe and successful prescribed burn is planned and conducted. To register, please email Info here.

Thu-Sat, Aug 8-10: 2019 Iowa Prairie ConferenceEnsuring the Future of Prairie (Central College, Pella) The Iowa Prairie Conference is open to anyone interested in prairies. Natural resource managers, educators, students, and prairie enthusiasts will gather for education, discussion, field trips, and networking opportunities. More info and registration here.

Thu Aug 8.  9:00 AM-3:00PM: Invasive Species Workshopat SCC campus Bettendorf.  This workshop will cover a variety of invasive species in woodland, wetland, and prairie habitats. There will also be sessions on control methods, identification, and native alternatives. Participants should dress for the outdoors as a large portion of the day will be spent in the field. (Lunch included for pre-registered participants.) Click here for more info.

Sat Aug 10, 9:30-12:30: Reading Writing and Foraging Event MacBride Nature Recreation Center.  More Info Here  Questions? Contact Rachel Vanderwerff Edible Outdoors 319-358-2542

Tue-Thu, Aug 13-15: Grass Identification & Ecology Workshop (F.W. Kent Park, Oxford)
Tom Rosburg, Professor of Biology at Drake University, is offering a three-day grass identification workshop on Iowa and Midwestern Poaceae.  The course offers an advanced curriculum for professional conservationists, graduate students, and avid amateurs. Pre-registration is required. Contact Brad Freidhof, Conservation Program Manager with the Johnson County Conservation Board at (319) 645-2315 or email to register or for additional course information. The cost of the workshop is $125 (before August 5); $150 (after August 5) and $50 for students.  This fee includes workshop materials and lunch for the three days. More info here.

Sun, Aug 18, 1:00-3:30pm: Summer Foraging Field Trip (Conservation Education Center, F.W. Kent Park)
Take a walk with a JCC naturalist and learn about some of the foods and medicines that can be foraged, in summer! This program is outside and features a walk over uneven terrain. Registration required; email or call 319-645-1011 to register. Info here.

Sun, Aug 18, 8:00 a.m. Hawkeye Wildlife Area Birding Trip with Iowa City Bird Club.  Will look for shorebirds and other early fall migrants. Meet leader Chris Caster at the HWA parking lot on Swan Lake Road, across from Swan Lake. (GPS coordinates, 41.776081, – 91.675009.) We will carpool our way around HWA, finishing around noon. Expect moderate hiking at some viewing areas. Dress for the weather and wet and muddy trails. Bring binoculars and a spotting scope if you have one.

Tue-Thu, Aug 20-22: Aster Family ID & Ecology Workshop (Bur Oak Visitors Center, Whiterock Conservancy, Coon Rapids) Curious about the plant world around you? The Asteraceae family makes up the largest percent of plants in North America. Come study with professional guidance at an introduction to the identification and biology. Contact Karla Van Roekel, Guest Services at 712-790-8221 ext. 1 to RSVP. The cost of the workshop is $220 (Includes workshop materials, two nights of lodging, and meals.) Direct questions to Penny Perkins ext. 4. More info here.

Wed, Aug 21, 8:00 a.m, Kent Park Bird Walk with Rick Hollis. Meet at the Kent Park Conservation Education Center.  Bring binoculars.

Thu-Sun, Aug 23-25, Iowa Ornithologists Union Meeting Graham Hall and Conference Center ,Pella Ia.   More info here

Sat Aug 24 1:00PM -3:00PM Iowa Native Plant Society Field trip to Sunnycrest Prairie in Dubuque county.  For more info contact Brian Preston

Sat, Aug 24, 8pm Cedar Amateur Astronomers Presentation (Palisades-Dows Observatory)
Topic: TBD. More info here.


Wed, Sept, 4, 8:00 a.m., Kent Park Bird Walkwith Rick Hollis Meet at the Kent Park Conservation Education Center.  Bring binoculars

Fri, Sept 20, 9am-3pm What Has Wondered Into Backbone – Oriental Bittersweet (Backbone State Park)
This series was created to help landowners learn and cope with the threat of invasive species, which are hurting the health of our native ecosystem and woodlands. This includes lessons on plant identification and techniques on invasive species removal. This workshop will have a special focus on Oriental bittersweet. $10, info and registration here.

Sun, Sept 29, 2:00-4;15, Linn County Landowner Forum at the Monarch Research Center Event Center, Marion Ia.  Dr. Doug Tallamy author of Bringing Nature Home will offer a guide to restoring “the little things that run the world”. Cost is $12/ticket, and ticket purchases are not refundable More info here



Sat, Oct 27 3:00PM-7:00 PMCreating a Buzz Field Day Walker Homestead Farm and Winery, 3867 James AveSW Iowa City.  This Trees Forever program covers topics such asHow to establish native species, Native plant ID, Weed ID, Long-term maintenance.  Group will tour prairie plantinfs at different stages of maturation. More Info Here  Questions? Contact Emily Swihart, 563-260-1000.