Do you have a deep love for the PA Wilds? Do you want to help safeguard the outdoors for future generations? Now is your chance to learn about and get involved in protecting waterways, wildlife, woods and more through the Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward Program.

The Master Watershed Steward Program, established to conserve local watersheds by educating and empowering volunteers across the Commonwealth, has over 700 participants in 25 Pennsylvania counties. Master Watershed Stewards have collectively contributed over 50,000 volunteer hours improving Pennsylvania watersheds and have fostered strong connections to other local conservation programs and organizations.

The excitement has been so great in the PA Wilds that its opening another class this fall.

The program provides participants 40 hours of training on a variety of environmental topics, including water quality, stream health, stormwater management, native plants, wildlife, and geology. This is followed by 50 hours of hands-on volunteer opportunities with partner organizations and agencies across the PA Wilds.

Master Watershed Stewards maintain their status yearly through 20 hours of volunteer time to watershed projects or programs and attending a minimum of 10 hours of in-depth study on topics that interest them, such as fish and aquatic insect surveys, streamside plantings, teaching children about stream ecology, and organizing educational workshops.

The program is seeking folks who want to know more about their environment, have the desire and time to volunteer for their local waters, and are team players.

MWS training classes will take place 6-8 p.m. on Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on three select Saturdays, beginning Aug. 28. Thursday classes will be online, while Saturday classes will be done in-person at partner sites. The training program will conclude in early November.

The fee for the program is $125. Scholarships are available based on financial need.

To register and for more information, visit extension.psu.edu/programs/watershed-stewards/counties/cameron-elk-mckean-potter-counties. For other inquiries, contact Travis Wingard at tww5160@psu.edu.

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