Master Conservationist Program

Master Conservationist Logo

Overview of the program in Dubuque County

This is a seven week program focused on educating participants about the natural resources present in Dubuque County and the efforts being done to conserve them.  Highlighted topics include soils, forests, water, and prairies.  The program consists of a combination of in-person and online educational activities.  Most in person activities will be held outdoors and may include walking on rough terrain and long distances to reach certain activity locations.

Group of participants

2023 Master Conservationist Class Participants

Program Dates and Cost

The program will take place 6 pm Tuesdays, April 23 - June 4, 2024.  There will be a total of seven meetings.  Meetings will last from 1 to 3 hours based on daylight and the type of activity we will be doing.  Cost for the 2024 program is $30.  Payment can be made in advance of the class at the Dubuque County Extension Office or can be made at the first Master Conservationist meeting on April 23.


Online registration for the 2024 program is now open and can be accessed HERE or by typing into your browser.  The deadline to register is April 22 at 12 noon.  If you have troubles with computer access for online registration, feel free to call our office at (563) 583-6496.

Proposed Meeting Outline and Locations

The Master Conservationist Program will follow the proposed timeline for topics and meetings listed below.  Meetings will primarily take place in the rural areas of Dubuque County. Please note: Most in person activities will be held outdoors and may include walking on rough terrain and long distances to reach certain activity locations.

  • Week 1- Orientation to take place at a local park -  Ray Kruse who is the program coordinator, will go over the finalized schedule and talk about accessing the online material as well as meet fellow peers who are also interested in conservation.
  • Week 2 -  Soil resources and landscapes of Dubuque County - participants will visit a local farm and discuss the different soil landforms present in Dubuque County.
  • Week 3 -  Let's learn about forests - Participants will visit a local forest and hear from a local expert on forest management
  • Week 4 -  Let's learn about aquatic environments -  participants will visit a local stream and listen to a local expert on water quality.
  • Week 5 - Let's learn about prairies - participants will visit a local prairie and listen to a local expert discussing prairie management.
  • Week 6 - Seeing conservation at work - participants will visit a local farm where conservation practices are actively being implemented.
  • Week 7 - Sharing conservation with others -  We will visit with a local conservation organization to hear about how they help others understand the value of our natural resources.


Dubuque County Program Contact

Ray Kruse is the office contact for the Dubuque County Master Conservationist Program.  You can reach him via the information below.

Master Gardener Coordinator

Ray Kruse

Horticulture Educator

(563) 583-6496


Need Teacher AEA Credits

Participants in Dubuque County are able to earn AEA license renewal credits for taking the program! Licensed teachers that are in need of renewal credits can earn 2 credits. Registration through AEA and an additional $70 fee to AEA are required. A short reflection on your experience in the program and what you learned will be used to grade your participation. For questions, please reach out to Adam Janke at


A Collaborative Community Effort

This annual program could not happen without the generous collaboration of fellow community organizations helping our office to teach the class.  The names of the 2024 program collaborators will be posted below once they are finalized for the 2024 year.

  • New Melleray Abbey
  • Mike and Mary Knipper
  • Wanderwood Gardens
  • Natural Resource Conservation Service
  • Northeast Iowa Community College - Peosta
  • Dubuque County Conservation


This page was last updated by Ray Kruse on 5/7/2024

Class participants examining insects


Presenter at orientation


Group of class participants
Class Participants learning about water quality


Class participants examining insects
Class participants learning about invasive plants


The Master Conservationist Program is administered through the Natural Resources team within ISU Extension and Outreach – Agriculture and Natural Resources. The project coordinator and county extension offices collaborate to plan offerings of the program, and a local organizing committee is responsible for planning field visits and classroom discussions that are paired with structured online lessons completed before attending.