Learn About Natural Resources Stewards

Learning with Natural Resources Stewards



What does the Natural Resources Stewards Program offer?

The Natural Resources Steward program offers a comprehensive training and volunteer support network for people who love the outdoors and want to learn, explore and share the nature of New Hampshire. It begins with an interactive hybrid course that brings people together to explore NH’s ecosystems - how trees, plants, soil, fungi, water, wildlife, and even humans are interconnected, and how we can reduce our impact and restore and protect the nature we are a part of.

With knowledge in hand, and ongoing support from a community of professionals, teachers, and classmates, Stewards volunteer for projects and activities of their own choosing. For some, it’s helping their local community bring nature back to a local park, teaching youth or adults about wildlife, or exploring and recording their town’s wetlands.  Others like to hunt for the state’s biggest trees, or for endangered native plants. Many become local leaders. Together, Natural Resources Stewards are part of a longstanding program – a community of people who care and make a difference to the natural world around them.


What is the Natural Resources Stewards (NRS) Course?

Each September a new discovery course begins, bringing people together who, like you, love being outdoors, and learning and caring for the natural world. Held on Fridays for twelve weeks, the course offers you hands-on experiences exploring NH’s natural resources from neighborhood parks to native woodlands. It can also be taken for college credit through NHTI - Concord's Community College (LAND 118C Natural Resource Stewardship...)

You’ll learn how soil, water, wildlife, fungi, plants, and people are connected through ecosystems, and how outside influences, such as invasive species, impact their function. You’ll also gain knowledge, skills, and tools to improve and restore the ecosystems of our backyards, communities, and greater landscape of the region.

2024 Course: The 2023 course begins Friday, September 6, 2024 and runs through Friday, November 22, 2024. The full day sessions are held on Fridays from 9 am to 3:30 pm and are open to all who love being outdoors. The 12-week class will combine at-home online learning with eleven outdoor field sessions at Canterbury Shaker Village on its nearly 700 acres of nature trails, ponds, gardens, and forests, offering ample opportunities  for outdoor exploration and discovery.

Natural Resources Stewards Mission Statement and Goals

We encourage you to fill out an application if you are interested in attending in 2024.

Apply online

Course Offerings

  • Tree Identification, Biology, Pruning, and Planting

  • Creating Ecologically Friendly Landscapes

  • Improving Habitat for Native Pollinators

  • Invasive Species - Management Tools and Strategies  

  • Living More Sustainably and Ecologically using Permaculture

  • Soil Building and Increasing Soil Health Using Plants

  • Tree Inventory and Maintenance for Communities

  • Wetland Identification and Evaluation Tools

  • Determining Water Quality and Innovative Improvements

  • NH’s Changing Landscape and the Impacts on Wildlife

  • Volunteer Roles and Opportunities in Your Community


What do Natural Resources Stewards do?

Planning a future city park in Manchester, NH

Graduates of the Natural Resources Steward course get to share their knowledge, skills, and passion for nature. For some it may be pruning, planting, and evaluating park or street trees, or helping others grow food in a local community garden. For others it may be rebuilding a favorite forest trail, restoring habitat of a threatened species, or leading nature walks. Are you interested in serving on your conservation commission, or helping to protect land or water quality? You will have a greater understanding and ability to help your community.

What is your passion? As a Steward you become part of a larger volunteer community that is  taking action and making a difference, ultimately making the world a better place.


NRS Testimonial about ConsciousnessWhy Become A Natural Resources Steward?

  • Experience and Knowledge  - In addition to the hands-on learning, tools, and skills gained through the course, you get to know and work with natural resource professionals from around the state. It’s fun and educational to be part of a growing volunteer network that keeps in touch online, and through newsletters, ongoing field trips and workshops. There are always more discoveries ahead!

  • Connection  and Community -  Stewards enjoy camaraderie with each other, within their own communities, and with natural resources experts around the state. “I have found a community where I can be myself, and made friends that share my passion for nature.” - 2016 NRS Graduate

  • A Sense of Purpose and Hope for the Future - Stewards graduate feeling hopeful that the changes that they make individually can add up to make a difference. “I have learned to look at everything around me and become more confident in my convictions to get out there and share my passions for the natural world and work with others to protect it.” - 2017 NRS Graduate

How do I become a Natural Resources Steward?

You don't need a degree or experience, just the interest and time commitment to join our learning community of over 400 Natural Resources Stewards who are volunteering to make a difference.

2024 Course:

When: The next course begins Friday, September 6, 2024 and runs through Friday, November 22, 2024. The full day sessions are held on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where: Online and at Canterbury Shaker Village 
288 Shaker Rd, Canterbury, NH 03224
Each week includes classroom time and significant time in the field or woods nearby, doing fun, hands-on activities.

 $345.00 ($100.00 is reimbursable, when you complete your first 40 hours of volunteering within one year.) Scholarships are available for those who need assistance. No one will be turned away due to inability to pay. Class size is limited.

The NRS course is a hybrid version of the course utilizing both online study and in person outdoor sessions that follow science-based safety protocols in compliance with the University of New Hampshire's Covid-19 Policies, the State of NH and and the CDC.

We encourage you to fill out an application if you are interested in attending in 2024. Thank you.  Apply Here.



Partners' logos





Urban and Community Natural Resources Field Specialist
Extension Field Specialist, Urban & Community Forestry
Phone: (603) 641-6060
Office: Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824