Master Naturalist

Personal Enrichment

Offered through Continuing Education

@ Forest Park | Meramec | Off-Site

Become a Master Naturalist. Explore the majesty of nature, the beauty of landscape and gardening, and the importance of ecology in our world. From home gardening to birdwatching and exploring nature, the Master Naturalist program has it all!

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Continuing Education



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Love nature? Join the growing community of Master Naturalists!

STLCC's Master Naturalist program combines classroom learning and volunteerism to cultivate your interests, grow your knowledge and build your community connections. Learn more about this continuing education program, and get started today! Any of the classes on this page can be completed toward requirements of the Master Naturalist program.

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The following courses may be taken individually and/or to meet curriculum requirements for STLCC's Master Naturalist program.

Class schedules provided below may change.

It happens every so often: classes are rescheduled, moved to a different classroom, etc. Want to see the most up-date information? Simply follow the orange button above to view current class details.


Indoor Composting: Make and Take Home A Bokashi Bucket

Don’t throw away those scraps…up to 20 percent of household trash can be composted! The bokashi bucket system, which can be used year-round, is quick, convenient and produces no household smells. In this hands-on session, construct and learn to maintain an indoor composting system capable of decomposing food and house plant trimmings for a family of four. In a space-saving bokashi system, effective microorganisms transform all types of kitchen waste into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. All equipment, materials and handouts provided and included in fee. You’ll leave class with a working indoor composting system in the form of a bokashi bucket. Registration deadline 2/28. No refunds after this date.
ECOL:704 | 1 session | $59 AGE 60+ | $59 REG
P01 Th 7-8:30 p.m. | MoBot Earthways Ctr
March 12 | MC-SS, 105

Backyard Chickens for the Beginner

Have you thought about keeping chickens in your city or suburban backyard? There’s a lot to discover before you get started. Learn local ordinances and where to find more information for your area. You’ll also hear about the benefits of keeping chickens, appropriate housing and feeding, and different ways to keep your chickens healthy and happy. Instructor has years of personal and professional experience and is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable healthy-chicken farmer! Bring a sack lunch to class.
ECOL:705 | 1 session | $31.50 AGE 60+ | $45 REG
P01 Sa 10 a.m.-2 p.m. | Guy Niere
April 4 | MC-SW, 105

It’s Okay to Eat the Weeds — Wild Edible Plants of Spring

The next time you weed your garden, you might find you have the makings for a unique dish! Join Dr. Catrina Adams, Ph.D. in paleoethnobotany (how people have used plants in the past) to learn about some of the common edible plants that grow in and around St. Louis in the summer. You’ll discover where to find them, how to identify and collect them, and how to eat them! Then, take a tour of the campus to identify edible and useful plants you probably walk past every day. Some wild edibles are lovely native plants that you may want to cultivate in your own backyard. Others might be growing in your lawn or garden already, for better or for worse.
ECOL:703 | 1 session | $28 AGE 60+ | $39 REG
P01 Sa 9 a.m.-noon | Catrina Adams, Ph.D.
May 9 | MC-SO, 205


Introduction to Bird Watching

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, more than 45 million Americans list birding as a favorite pastime. Whether you are an amateur bird enthusiast or are simply interested in learning more about the identification and migratory patterns of the wildlife in your own backyard, this class is for you! Discover how to recognize bird species by sight, song, physical attributes and behavior. Also, learn about binoculars, how to use a field guide, feeder/landscaping strategies to attract more birds to your backyard and the best places to view an assortment of birds in the St. Louis area. Field trip on Saturday allows you to practice your new skills; details to be discussed in class. Provide your own transportation.
NATR:709 | 2 sessions | $39 AGE 60+ | $39 REG
P01 WSa 7-9 p.m. | STL Audubon Society
Feb. 5-8 | MC-SO, 112

Introduction to Beekeeping

Bees play an important role in agriculture as pollinators of flowering plants that provide food, fiber, spices, medicines and animal forage. Beekeeping can be a hobby, a secondary business or a full-time vocation. It is a relatively inexpensive hobby that provides a sweet bonus each year. Is beekeeping right for you? Come learn how to attract native pollinators and honeybees by installing a pollinator-friendly garden and nesting habitat. Course explores getting started with beekeeping and honeybee products of the hive.
NATR:733 | 1 session | $39 AGE 60+ | $39 REG
P01 Sa 9 a.m.-noon | Jane Sueme
Feb. 22 | MC-SO, 107


Does a land-locked state like Missouri have shorebirds? Yes, indeed! Missouri’s rivers and lakes provide habitat for an impressive variety and many of them can be seen along the water’s edge of our lands. After learning about their adaptation, anatomy, behavior, food and markings, you’ll be ready to identify local area shorebirds.
NATR:709 | 1 session | $29 AGE 60+ | $29 REG
P02 W 7-9 p.m. | STL Audubon Society
March 4 | MC-SO, 204

Forest Park Owls: Hiding in Plain Sight

Join award-winning naturalist and speaker Mark H.X. Glenshaw for an informative glimpse into the lives of a local mated pair of great horned owls in Forest Park. Mark has been closely observing and documenting the owls since 2005. Learn how he found the owls, basic facts about the species and various behaviors he observes and documents with photos and videos to illustrate these behaviors. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself looking for owls after this course in a follow-up, instructor-led owl prowl!
NATR:709 | 1 session | $29 AGE 60+ | $29 REG
P03 Th 6:30-8:30 p.m. | Mark H.X. Glenshaw
March 12 | FP-C, 219

Edible Mushrooms of Missouri

Discover ten of the most common edible mushrooms of Missouri through classroom learning, field exploration and mushroom identification. Dress for walking in the woods. Offered in partnership with Forest ReLeaf of Missouri. Bring sack lunch. Class to meet at Babler State Park Visitor's Center.
NATR:723 | 1 session | $49 AGE 60+ | $49 REG
P02 Sa 10 a.m.-2 p.m. | Forest ReLeaf of MO
March 21 | Babler State Park

Monarchs and Milkweed

Join biologist Dave Tylka to learn the plight of these beautiful animal ambassadors of the air, how you can help monarchs by planting different milkweed species around your home, and where milkweed seeds and seedlings may be obtained.
NATR:720 | 1 session | $21.50 AGE 60+ | $29 REG
P01 Th 7-9 p.m. | David Tylka
March 26 | MC-SO, 112

Common Poisonous Mushrooms of Missouri

Learn how to identify the most common poisonous mushrooms in Missouri. When you know what to avoid, it’s a lot easier to figure out what you can eat! Class combines lecture and field exploration. Dress accordingly. Class to meet at Babler State Park Visitors Center. Provide own transportation. Bring sack lunch.
NATR:723 | 1 session | $49 AGE 60+ | $49 REG
P03 Sa 10 a.m.-2 p.m. | Forest ReLeaf of MO
March 28 | Babler State Park

Identification and Natural History of Common Missouri Insects

Ever wonder why insects are the most successful and ecologically important class of animals in the world? They form a vital link between plants and vertebrate animals, such as birds and mammals. Although their biodiversity can be overwhelming, after learning some basic anatomy, you’ll be able to identify ten major groups (or orders) of insects and recognize the most commonly encountered species found in the greater St. Louis area. See close-up images of insects, discuss their natural history and receive identification resources to take home. Students are encouraged to obtain the Golden Guide paperback titled “Insects” for use in class. Book is available from most area bookstores and libraries.
NATR:715 | 1 session | $28 AGE 60+ | $39 REG
P01 M 9 a.m.-noon | David Tylka
March 30 | MC-CE


Known for their bright colors and sweet whistled song, the spring warbler is a fascinating bird. Discover facts about their size and shape, color patterns, behavior and habitat. With over 40 varieties of the species, you’ll learn which are year-round residents for our area, which breed in our area and which are just passing through in the spring and fall.
NATR:709 | 1 session | $29 AGE 60+ | $29 REG
P04 W 7-9 p.m. | STL Audubon Society
April 8 | MC-BA, 124

Spring Nature Walk

With the warm weather upon us, it’s time to get outside and see what’s blooming! Join our small group tour to explore, discover and study the spring landscape, observing the environment and splendor of Shaw Nature Reserve. Naturalist Nancy will guide you along a two- to three-mile walk on well-maintained, mostly level paths through gardens and trails. Wear comfortable shoes and dress appropriately for the weather. In case of rain, class will be rescheduled to April 25. Meet at the picnic tables across from the visitor’s center.
NATR:704 | 1 session | $21.50 AGE 60+ | $29 REG
P01 Sa 10 a.m.-noon | Nancy Gelb
April 18 | Shaw Nature Reserve

Spring and Summer Night Skies

Observe and enjoy the night skies of later spring and early summer. Learn how to find and identify the basic constellations and planets of this time of the year with the unaided eye, binoculars and telescopes. Discover how to observe meteors, auroral displays, artificial satellites and other naked eye phenomena. An introduction on how to observe the moon, planets, stars, constellations and nebula with a telescope will also be covered. Bring a planisphere 35-45 degree latitude, such as Phillip’s planisphere 6” or larger, and current issue of “Sky & Telescope” ($5.99) magazine. Field trip to be discussed in class. Class meets on Mondays and Wednesdays.
NATR:732 | 4 sessions | $29.50 AGE 60+ | $49 REG
P01 MW 7-9 p.m. | Michael Malolepszy
April 20-29 | MC-SW, 105

Close Encounters With Insects: A Photographic Journal

Whether you are out gardening, birding, botanizing, or just enjoying nature in general, you are surrounded by a magical world of insects. Close-up photography of insects can open up a new world that frequently goes unnoticed by many of us. Through their photos, Pat Garner and Yvonne Homeyer will share their fascination with small creatures such as butterflies, dragonflies, caterpillars, wasps, robber flies, tiger beetles and other insects. Insects in the photos will be identified, but taxonomy and identification are not the primary focus of this class. Binoculars and a camera will be helpful on the field trip but are not essential. Location of the field trip will be announced in class.
NATR:720 | 2 sessions | $45 AGE 60+ | $45 REG
P02 TuSa 6-8 p.m. | Yvonne Homeyer
April 21-25 | MC-SO, 107

Forest Park Owls: Mating, Nesting and Owlets

Join Mark H.X. Glenshaw, an award-winning amateur naturalist and speaker, for a class focusing on the mating, nesting behavior and the owlets raised by great horned owls he has been observing, documenting and researching in Forest Park since December 2005. Learn what Mark has been able to observe and document including mating, nest selection, feeding of the owlets, fledging and gradual maturation of owlets, and the dispersal of the owlets with photos and videos to illustrate these behaviors. You will be amazed at the delights and challenges these owls have when they raise their families.
NATR:709 | 1 session | $29 AGE 60+ | $29 REG
P05 Th 6:30-8:30 p.m. | Mark H.X. Glenshaw
April 30 | MC-SO, 204

Insects of Missouri

Join Chris Brown, research entomologist, conservationist and photographer, as he shares information on the broad variety of insects with specific habitat associations within Missouri’s ecoregions. Through photos, learn about the fantastic diversity, introductory level morphology and taxonomy, along with some of the fascinating natural history aspects of Missouri’s insects.
NATR:715 | 1 session | $35 AGE 60+ | $35 REG
P02 W 6-8:30 p.m. | Chris Brown
May 6 | MC-SO, 205

Go Native!

Native plants are species that have evolved and occur naturally in local geographic areas. In the Midwest region, native plants are adapted to local soil conditions, rainfall and temperature patterns, and generally do not require any special maintenance needs after they are established in the right environment, saving you both time and money. Most importantly, native plants function in the landscape by attracting and furnishing a habitat for a host of wildlife including birds, butterflies and beneficial insects and providing you with a healthy environment in which to live.

Go Native! Native Landscaping With Sun-Adapted Perennials

Did you know that prairies and glades are the two most diverse and colorful natural communities in Missouri that thrive in the sun? Learn basic characteristics of the soil and moisture conditions of these communities and how they can be emulated in your home landscape. Presentation will focus on native prairie and glade species that can be successfully grown in the St. Louis area, the height and spread of each species and where each species will grow best in your yard.
HORT:713 | 1 session | $39 AGE 60+ | $39 REG
P01 F 9 a.m.-noon | Susie Van de Riet
Feb. 28 | MC-CE

Go Native! Small Native Trees and Shrubs for Yards

Do you have a location in your yard that is just too small for a large tree, but would like to plant something native to Missouri? Join Cory Knoblach with Forest ReLeaf of Missouri to learn all about some great options for your yard. We will look at and discuss what native trees and shrubs are suitable for planting in small spaces, where to find them, and how to take care of them. Wear comfortable shoes and dress for walking outdoors.
NATR:723 | 1 session | $29 AGE 60+ | $29 REG
P01 Th 6-8 p.m. | Forest ReLeaf of MO
March 5 | MC-SO, 205

Go Native! Gardening With Beneficial Insects for Native Plants

Did you know there are ways you can support native predators as your own “biological control agents” to address garden pest problems like aphids or Japanese beetles? This course will take a look at some native invertebrates, their favorite prey, and how to support these beneficial populations in your garden through specific gardening techniques and native plants. Practices discussed can be applied to formal, informal or agricultural garden settings.
HORT:713 | 1 session | $39 AGE 60+ | $39 REG
P02 F 9 a.m.-noon | Susie Van de Riet
March 6 | MC-CE

Go Native! Identification and Ecology of Common Missouri Wildflowers

Have you ever wanted to explore the scientific approach to identifying wildflowers? This is your chance to get an introduction into flora classification. Missouri is a crossroads of several different natural communities across the Midwest and supports a wide array of native and non-native wildflowers. You’ll explore basic flower parts and leaf arrangements, then determine the distinguishing and unique characteristics of over 80 common species organized by color and chronology. You are encouraged to bring a copy of Denison’s Missouri Wildflowers (6th Ed.) published by the MO Conservation Dept. for use in the class. Book is available at most area bookstores, nature centers and libraries.
HORT:713 | 1 session | $28 AGE 60+ | $39 REG
P03 W 9 a.m.-noon | David Tylka
March 25 | MC-CE

Go Native! What’s Up With Wasps?!

Have you ever pondered the purpose of a wasp? With approximately 115,000 species in the world, wasps serve as pollinators and are arguably among the best biological control agents of invertebrate populations helping keep ecosystems in balance. Explore the different kinds of wasp species you may come across in this area, their benefits, examples of invertebrates they target and how to support them through specific gardening techniques and native plants.
HORT:713 | 1 session | $39 AGE 60+ | $39 REG
P04 F 9 a.m.-noon | Susie Van de Riet
March 27 | MC-CE

Go Native! Create a Beautiful Landscape With Native Plants

Enrich the diversity in your yard by discovering and planting species native to Missouri. You can create a beautiful and interesting landscape with a progression of plants perfectly adapted to our unique soil and climate. We’ll explore native plants that reduce mowing and improve biodiversity while fitting nicely into your home landscape. Some native specimens are ideal for your perennial gardens and problem areas. You’ll be delighted at how beautiful the native plants are and enjoy learning some plant folklore.
HORT:713 | 1 session | $26 AGE 60+ | $35 REG
P05 Sa 9-11:30 a.m. | Nancee Kruescheck
March 28 | MC-SO, 109

Go Native! Native Landscaping for Bees, Butterflies and Other Pollinators

Butterflies go wherever they please and please wherever they go. Along with bees and other insect pollinators, they serve as environmental barometers. Healthy landscapes boast large numbers and a wide diversity of pollinators; contaminated or altered landscapes do not. The best plants lure pollinators to their flowers by offering pollen, nectar, resin and oil, and by evolving visual and olfactory cues such as nectar guides, color and fragrance. Come gain practical advice on getting started with optimal native selections that attract various groups of pollinators.
HORT:713 | 1 session | $28 AGE 60+ | $39 REG
P06 W 9 a.m.-noon | David Tylka
April 1 | MC-SO, 205

Go Native! An Introduction to Native Landscaping

Bring a bit of nature to your urban or suburban home. Come discover the many benefits of native landscaping (aka “naturescaping”) and enrich your life by bringing low maintenance plants to your yard or workplace and developing a natural ecosystem that attracts animals and beneficial insects. Learn why native coneflowers, milkweeds, viburnums and oaks are more beneficial than non-native hostas, daylilies, crape myrtles and Bradford pears. Explore why biodiversity is healthy and why cultivars should be scrutinized. You’ll also receive information on assistance and resources available through the St. Louis Audubon “Bring Conservation Home” program to help get you started. We face many environmental challenges and this is your opportunity to extend your commitment to make a difference.
HORT:713 | 1 session | $39 AGE 60+ | $39 REG
P07 Th 9 a.m.-noon | Mitch Leachman
April 2 | MC-CE

Go Native! Ways to Attract Songbirds and Hummingbirds Through Native Landscaping

Are you looking to attract more songbirds and hummingbirds to enhance your backyard viewing? Learn secrets to selecting the best native plants that furnish seeds, flowers and fruits for these birds. To attract the greatest diversity to your property at various seasons, you need to select fruiting shrubs and trees from different categories based upon the season the fruits and seeds are produced, their nutritional make-up and the length of time they remain on the plants. Bring a kaleidoscope of colors and songs to your landscape with your knowledge from this class.
HORT:713 | 1 session | $39 AGE 60+ | $39 REG
P09 W 9 a.m.-noon | Mitch Leachman
April 8 | MC-SW, 108

Go Native! Native Landscaping With Shade-Adapted Plants

Successfully growing plants under large trees can be challenging, but if you mimic nature by planting ecologically adapted natives, you can enjoy an attractive, biodiverse landscape throughout the seasons. Learn which spring native wildflowers bloom before most large trees leaf out and how shade-adapted shrubs can thrive under low-light conditions. We’ll also explore how grasses and foliage plants provide summer texture, late summer and fall bloomers welcome wildlife, and berries and bark can provide winter interest. Join us and learn how to establish and maintain shade-adapted native landscapes.
HORT:713 | 1 session | $39 AGE 60+ | $39 REG
P08 W 9 a.m.-noon | Betty Struckhoff
April 8 | MC-SW, 103

Go Native! Native Landscaping With Shrubs

Stop spending your time and money trying to maintain shrubs that are not indigenous to the Midwest and that have difficulty adapting to local soil and weather conditions. Go native and begin to add more environmentally beneficial shrub species. Native shrubs that have evolved in the Midwest are adapted to local rainfall and temperature patterns and generally do not require any special maintenance needs after they are established. Because of this evolution, these native woody species have produced unique interrelationships with many native species of wildlife. Lots of suggestions will be presented to help you get started.
HORT:713 | 1 session | $39 AGE 60+ | $39 REG
P11 F 9 a.m.-noon | Mitch Leachman
April 17 | MC-CE

Landscape and Gardening

Vegetable Gardening

Do you want to “grow your own” this season? For the best selection of seeds and plantings, you need to start planning early. Learn tips for planting, maintaining and harvesting your own fresh veggies. Topics for discussion include raised beds, container gardening and more. Bring your questions for our gardening expert and local nursery owner.
HORT:701 | 1 session | $26 AGE 60+ | $35 REG
P01 Sa 9-11:30 a.m. | Nancee Kruescheck
Feb. 29 | MC-SO, 107
P02 Sa 9-11:30 a.m. | Nancee Kruescheck
March 7 | MC-SO, 107

The “Deer Free” Zone

Is the local deer population feasting upon the ornamental plants in your yard? Are you tired of investing time, money and hard work into your landscaping only to have it eaten away? Join us to identify deer-resistant plants, flowers and methods to deter deer from ruining the landscaping delights in your gardens and yard.
HORT:712 | 1 session | $29 AGE 60+ | $29 REG
P01 Sa 10-11:30 a.m. | Forest ReLeaf of MO
March 14 | MC-SO, 205

All About Herbs

Now is the time to plan for your summer garden! Learn how to get the most for your effort in this one-night class. From starting to expanding an herb garden, you’ll learn about soil conditions, fertilizing and the optimal placement for growth. Hear the best advice from master gardener Mike on how to plant, maintain and harvest an herb garden. You’ll also get tips on using herbs in and around your home as well as the best way to freeze and preserve herbs for future use. Bring a notebook and pen to class.
HORT:701 | 1 session | $28 AGE 60+ | $39 REG
P03 W 6-9 p.m. | Mike Ochonicky
April 1 | MC-SO, 204

Sun and Shade Perennials: What’s Best for the Midwest?

Save time and money by creating or enhancing your yard and garden with easy-to-grow perennial plants that come back year after year. Start your perennial garden with a good understanding of plant selection as well as care and maintenance based on the shade and sunlight locations in your yard. Join local nursery owner Nancee Kruescheck and discover the most popular varieties of plants and characteristics of each including size and height, blooming calendar, soil requirements and conditions in which they grow best. Take what you learn in this class and create a perennial garden that is not only beautiful, but easier to maintain throughout the season.
HORT:704 | 1 session | $26 AGE 60+ | $35 REG
P01 Sa 9-11:30 a.m. | Nancee Kruescheck
April 4 | MC-SO, 109

Really Green Thumbs

Improve your “eco-green” garden materials, better your “green thumb” gardening practices and learn how an organic sustainable approach can benefit your home or community garden. Join master gardener Mike Ochonicky as she teaches you simple ways to incorporate natural techniques to improve your garden soil, plant nutrition and pest control. Make your garden environmentally friendly and improve your gardening skills, your health and the world in which we all live. Bring a notebook and pen to class.
HORT:713 | 1 session | $21.50 AGE 60+ | $29 REG
P10 W 7-9 p.m. | Mike Ochonicky
April 8 | MC-SW, 103

Soil and Composting: Get the “Dirt” on Successful Gardening

The first step in successful gardening is working from the ground up. Learn the “dirt” on successful gardening with easy-to-understand information on soil types, practical tips on preparation and the “how-to” and benefits of composting for your home garden. A beneficial class for both beginning and experienced homeowners. Bring a notebook and pen to class.
HORT:709 | 1 session | $28 AGE 60+ | $39 REG
P01 Th 7-9 p.m. | Mike Ochonicky
April 9 | MC-SO, 206

Gardening Under Trees and Other Tough Spaces

Do you have problems successfully growing plants under the trees in your yard? Are you concerned about possibly damaging the tree roots but would really like to add some attractive plantings that would thrive there? Come learn about the art and science of gardening under trees and other tough-to-grow spots to add to the beauty of your yard.
HORT:708 | 1 session | $26 AGE 60+ | $35 REG
P01 Sa 9-11:30 a.m. | Nancee Kruescheck
April 11 | MC-SO, 111

The Other Part of Gardening: Care and Maintenance of Flowers and Shrubs

Powdery mildew taking over your plants? Are your roses in need of deadheading? What’s “bugging” your greenery and shrubs? Why are your plants not flowering? Learn how to maintain vigorous plants that continue to thrive throughout the season. With regular maintenance, you can keep your plants looking their best. Nursery owner Nancee Kruescheck will teach you tips and tricks on feeding, pruning and dealing with common pests and diseases. Bring your questions to class for this informative session.
HORT:723 | 1 session | $26 AGE 60+ | $35 REG
P01 Sa 9-11:30 a.m. | Nancee Kruescheck
April 25 | MC-SO, 111

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