Become a ‘Gorge Master Naturalist’

OSU Extension is offering the Oregon Master Naturalist Gorge Eco-Region course beginning April 7.

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OSU Extension is offering the Oregon Master Naturalist Gorge Eco-Region course beginning April 7.

The Columbia River Gorge is a place of amazing beauty, diverse ecosystems, outdoor recreation opportunities and natural resources. It is a place where the line that separates human beings from the natural world largely overlaps. Those of us who call the Gorge home are called to understand our place here and how we can thrive, and at the same time as protect, the place that we treasure and call home.

With this in mind, the Hood River and Wasco extension programs of Oregon State University offer the Oregon Master Naturalist Gorge Eco-Region course. This course is one piece of the Oregon Master Naturalist program. The mission of the Oregon Master Naturalist Program is to develop a statewide corps of knowledgeable, skilled, and dedicated volunteers who enrich their communities and enhance public awareness of Oregon’s natural resources through conservation education, scientific inquiry, and stewardship activities.

To become an Oregon Master Naturalist, participants will complete an eco-region course plus an online course covering natural systems of the whole state of Oregon. Courses may be taken in any order. With this knowledge, you will be in high demand from the many organizations that offer nature-based educational programs, land stewardship and/or citizen science research projects. Once you complete 40 hours of volunteer service, you will be certified as an Oregon Master Naturalist.

The Gorge Eco-Region course includes seven all-day, field-based sessions. They start April 7 with an overview of the course and exploring “A Sense of Place.” The sessions that follow include: April 22, Oak Woodlands of the Mid-Columbia; May 19, Grassland Prairie of the Eastern Gorge; June 9, Columbia River Tributaries and Fisheries; July 7, Alpine Habitat on Mount Hood; Aug. 11, Boreal Rainforest and Sandy River Delta; and Sept. 15 (this date subject to change), Sub-Alpine Habitats of Mount Adams. Each session is taught by a team of local experts.

If you would like to expand your knowledge of the outdoor world and apply what you learn by volunteering, this program is for you! We invite you to join us and to share this information with others. Please consider people that you know who are under-represented in natural resource and outdoor-based programs and organizations: people of color, older teens to seniors, people of varied abilities, people of all nationalities and income levels. Diverse participation leads to wider support for the wise use, care and protection of the Gorge. Some scholarships are available.

To register, go to For more information, contact either Ann Harris,, or Michelle Sager,

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