This presentation outlines the results of an empirical study of a municipal government initiative designed to foster urban residents’ environmental stewardship of natural areas. This training initiative, titled the Master Naturalist program, involved 30 classroom hours of knowledge provision about natural systems as well as how local authorities and civil society environmental management and planning programs worked. Once completed the Master Naturalists trainees were expected to complete 30 hours of volunteerism aimed at enhancing environmental conservation and protection in Edmonton, Canada. These trainees could initiative their own projects or contribute to a pre-existing government or NGO environmental programs focused on Edmonton’s natural areas.Projects included public education programs linked with the UN’s Biodiversity Day, pulling of invasive weeds and planting native plant species in Edmonton’s river valleys, and launching a neighbourhood-based advocacy group focused on the conservation of nature in a particular river valley ravine. Once their volunteer hours were completed, the participants’ were granted the Master Naturalist designation and encouraged to continue similar volunteer campaigns in subsequent years. Program evaluation research was conducted in 2009; the study examined the effectiveness of the program through the viewpoint of participants (n=25). Pre-, in-situ and post-program data collection was conducted utilizing self-completed questionnaires, focus groups, and in-depth interviews. In addition to collecting participant’s observations on the utility and efficiency of the training program, participants’ views on “nature” and “stewardship” were explored and examined for changes during the participants’ engagement in the Master Naturalists training program. In keeping with the IAPS 2012 focus on attitudes, trust and environmental concern, this presentation reports on the impacts of this training program on participant’s perceptions of nature and stewardship, and explores the implications of these changes for the participant’s future engagement in stewardship of Edmonton’s natural areas and their influence on other members of their community. Theories of social learning (Bandurra, 1970; Schusler et al., 2003), social networks (Boden et al., 2005; Moody & Paxton, 2009), volunteer motivations (Measham & Barnette, 2008; Ryan et al., 2001) and social capital (Glanville & Brikenstock, 2009; Peterson et al., 2006; Pretty & Smith, 2005; Putnam, 2000) were used to explain some of these observations. Transformation of participants’ perceptions of their role in advocacy and adoption of sustainable lifestyles were identified by Master Naturalists participants. Their adoption of modelling or leadership roles within the community will be discussed in the presentation. Operational and policy implications are outlined for the City organizers of the program.