Texas Master Naturalist

master naturalistAg Biz News Column
Chad Gulley
County Extension Agent—Ag/NR
Smith County

 

Texas Master Naturalist

            The Texas Master Naturalist™ program is a partnership between the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department that has resulted in a unique master volunteer organization.

The mission of the Texas Master Naturalist™ program is to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities.  Many communities and organizations rely on such citizen volunteers for implementing youth education programs; for operating parks, nature centers, and natural areas; and for providing leadership in local natural resource conservation efforts.

The program currently has trained 8,142 Texas Master Naturalist™ volunteers in 44 local chapters across the state.  Since its establishment in 1998 Texas Master Naturalist™ volunteer efforts have provided over 2,085,000 hours of service valued at more than $40 Million. This service has resulted in enhancing 90,000 plus acres of wildlife and native plant habitats; reaching more than 2 million youth, adults and private landowners.

The program has gained international state and local recognition with the Wildlife Management Institute’s Presidents’ 2000 Award, the National Audubon Society’s 2001 Habitat Hero’s Award, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission’s 2001 Environmental Excellence Award and Texas A&M University’s 2001 Vice Chancellor’s Award of Excellence in Partnership and in 2005 the U. S. Department of Interior’s “Take Pride in America” award.

The East Texas Chapter of Texas Master Naturalist will begin its 2014 Training Class on Saturday, February 22, 2014.  Texas Master Naturalist classes provide in-depth training in wildlife and natural resource management taught by recognized experts in the field and customized to focus on the native ecosystems of our East Texas area.

The curriculum for the 2014 Training Classes will cover a range of topics including What is a Naturalist?, poisonous plants, ecological concepts, weather, geology, forest ecology & tree identification, entomology (insects), archeology, wetlands ecology and management, mammals, and birds.

Master Naturalists provide the community with volunteer service in the form of educational activities, projects, or demonstrations.  The possibilities are endless, limited only by one’s imagination!  Texas Master Naturalist™, engage in helping people appreciate their natural environment while enhancing their own knowledge and skills.

Classes will be held for seven weeks on Saturdays beginning February 22 through April 12 (excluding March 15).  Classes will be conducted from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Nature Center located at 11941 FM 848, Tyler, Texas.  Lunches will be provided.  The fee for the training classes is $125.00.  The deadline for application is February 1, 2014.  For more information and to obtain an application form contact Brenda McWilliams at 903-533-9335 or bmc1105@gmail.com .  Also, information is located on the East Texas Chapter Texas Master Naturalist webpage at www.txmn.org/etwd .

Programs offered by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are for people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.

 

 

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