Springfield Plateau Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist News Release


Contact:    Jennifer Ailor, 417-581-4018


Master Naturalist grants get students outside to learn

In the COVID-19 school year of 2020-21, two fifth grade science teachers have turned on their students to nature and gardening, thanks to grants from the Springfield Plateau Chapter of Missouri Master Naturalists.

The grants of hundreds of dollars support teachers who have participated in the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Discover Nature curriculum and previously received grants from MDC. The Master Naturalist grants provide additional funding for building outdoor classrooms, growing plants, purchasing supplies and equipment and easing the financial burden on teachers who often pay for such items when school coffers are empty.

Montye Mickelson, fifth grade science teacher at Forsyth Middle School, and Mary Blackburn, fifth grade science teacher Willard Intermediate School, used the Master Naturalist grants to build an outdoor classroom to observe wildlife and to build garden beds and a greenhouse, respectively. Dozens of students participated, and the projects have touched many more students and teachers.


The Missouri Master Naturalist™ program is a community-based natural resource education and volunteer service program for adults, sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the University of Missouri Extension.

The Springfield Plateau Chapter of the Missouri Master Naturalist formed in the spring of 2006 with 28 graduating members.  To date, more than 150 volunteers have graduated from the program.