The Nature Stewards program was initiated in Victoria by the McGregor family, with inspiration and advice from the well-established Master Naturalist programs in the USA. The concept was further developed with collaborators across many Victorian organisations from government, the not-for-profit sector, and other interested individuals. Outdoors Victoria runs the program, with different partners hosting the programs in given locations. In 2019 programs are hosted by the City of Melbourne and City of Melton.
Outdoors Victoria together with the Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning (DELWP), the City of Manningham, City of Melbourne and City of Melton, provide funding for the programs.
Each program consists of 10 weekly class sessions and 4 field sessions, providing a total of 46 hours basic training. During this time participants will learn together about the Victorian and local environment, through topics spanning geology, soils, climate, fungi, plants, animals, conservation land management, volunteering and citizen science, and environmental interpretation, given from western and local Aboriginal community perspectives. The class sessions have an expert facilitator, together with presentations from specialist guest presenters and local volunteering group showcases.
Additionally, the program offers a chance to meet others in the local community and gain information and practical skills to assist in connecting with and getting active in nature, and where to find local environmental volunteering opportunities.
Questions about the program
A vibrant community throughout Victoria of well-informed and trained citizens, actively engaged in conserving, observing and interpreting nature.
The Nature Stewards program promotes environmental literacy and stewardship of nature through discovery, action, and ongoing learning. The program directly supports participants in training and volunteering, thereby generating benefits for the wider community and the environment.