Discover Nature Grants Program

The Springfield Plateau Chapter of Missouri Master Naturalist has long been engaged with southwest Missouri schools and students through our trunk presentations; participation in GLADE, LAD, and Junior Achievement programs; and hands-on learning projects.  In 2020, the chapter will expand its outreach to schools and teachers participating in the Missouri Department of Conservation's Discover Nature Schools program.  Specifically, we will offer a total of $1,500 annually (budgeted January 1 through December 31) in the form of $250 and $500 grants.

Who's eligible for grants - Schools already in the Discover Nature Schools program at any of the program levels.

What's eligible for a grant - The Master Naturalist grants are not meant to compete with the one-time-only grants MDC offers for approved instructional and outdoor classroom materials and field trip reimbursement of bus transportation costs and experiences.  Rather, the Master Naturalist grants are for other expenses incurred in using the Discover Nature curriculum, such as scopes and binoculars; outdoor classroom development; and stipends for teachers' personal time for training and projects.  Since the MDC Grants are one-time-only funding, the Master Naturalist grants could be used to expand or modify an existing project.

Application process and timing - Grant applications must be submitted by September 1 to the education coordinator for the Southwest Regional Office of MDC, at 2630 N Mayfair Ave, Springfield, MO 65803.  Applications will be forwarded to the Discover Nature Grants Committee and evaluated by October 1.

Reports - Teachers receiving grants must submit a summary report at the end of the project and/or year to The Springfield Plateau Master Naturalist, and in turn the committee will use a scoring guide to evaluate the project.

Master Naturalist involvement and evaluation - A Master Naturalist will be assigned as a "consultant" to the responsible teacher and will provide guidance as requested and will complete the scoring guide at the end of the project.  The guide is available for access by teachers at any time of the year so they will know how their project will be evaluated.  See the Evaluation Form link below.

Questions - Contact  Georgia Virnig, 417-2341-4751,, chairperson.



Our mission is to engage people in the stewardship of our state's natural resources through science-based education and volunteer community service.


1. Improve public understanding of natural resources ecology and management by developing a pool of local knowledge about natural resources ecology that can be used to enhance education efforts within local communities.


2. Enhance existing natural resources education and outreach activities by providing natural resources training at the local level, thereby developing a team of dedicated and informed volunteers.


3. Develop a self-sufficient Missouri Master Naturalist volunteer network. 

  • Facebook Social Icon