Big Country Master Naturalists Recruiting for 2018 Classes
Chapter Marks 15th Anniversary of Learning About, Taking Care of and Sharing the Outdoors
Are you curious about the weather, the climate, horned lizards, rocks, bats or hummingbirds? Do you like the outdoors, wildlife, citizen science, hiking or astronomy? Are you passionate about habitat restoration, pollinators and native plants? If the answer is yes, you’re a great candidate for the Texas Master Naturalist program.
The Big Country Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist Program is celebrating its 15th year. Sponsored by Texas Parks and Wildlife and Texas A & M AgriLife Extension Service, its volunteers provide education, outreach and service to people of all ages in the Big Country’s 13 counties.
Master Naturalists are volunteers with interests in all things outdoors in Texas—animals, plants, pollinators, weather, climate, astronomy, conservation, and more. They teach Big Country residents about Texas’ great outdoors through events at the Abilene State Park such as the Wings on the Wind Festival, working with students from Abilene schools, leading hikes and star parties. They also volunteer at the Abilene Zoo during special events.
Master Naturalists also volunteer in citizen science programs that benefit West Texas’ wildlife such as tracking horned lizards, building blue bird houses, and helping in the Texas Bobwhite Brigade. Master Naturalists also host workshops at the Taylor County AgriLife Extension office about monarchs, hummingbirds and other urban wildlife.
To become a Master Naturalist, members attend classes at the Taylor County Extension office taught by experts from universities, natural resource agencies and nature centers. The 40-hour curriculum is taught in 12 sessions August through November. Each year, to maintain their certification, Master Naturalists attend an additional eight hours on the topics of their interest.
The statewide Texas Master Naturalist program has 46 chapters covering 84 percent of all Texas counties. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, since the program’s founding in 1997, Texas Master Naturalist volunteer efforts have provided more than 3.690 million hours of service valued at more than $84.88 million.
This service has resulted in developing and maintaining more than 2,120.68 miles of trails; enhancing 226,200 plus acres of wildlife and native plant habitats; reaching more than 4.3 million youth, adults and private landowners. One member discovered a new plant species.
The Big Country Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists’ 2018 Training Class starts August 30. The 12-session program ends November 15. The deadline to sign up for the 2018 program is August 1. The class fee is $125. Applications are available at txmn.org/bc.
For more information, call the Taylor County Extension Office at (325) 672-6048 our visit the Big Country Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BCTXMN.