Curriculum

The Texas Master Naturalist™ Statewide Curriculum
The statewide curriculum will come packaged and assembled ready to insert into a three-ring binder (binder is not included). The curriculum for Chapters are tabbed and labeled, but not numbered to allow individual Master Naturalist chapters to assemble the curriculum in an order that best fits their training agenda. Chapter goals, listed below, are goals that may be accomplished after the volunteer has read each curriculum chapter. This will allow you to give your presenters an idea of the base knowledge volunteers should have from reading the curriculum chapter prior to attending class. Ideally, the presenter may teach above and beyond that presented by the curriculum chapter and customize their presentation to the very specific issues of the local area. Volunteers can add additional materials obtained in class to the respective section of the state curriculum.

Chapter: Intro to the Texas Master Naturalist™ program

* Describe what a Master Naturalist™ is
* Identify and communicate the mission and goals of the Master Naturalist program
* Identify and communicate the requirements and responsibilities of a Texas Master Naturalist

Chapter: Texas Naturalists prior to World War II

* Discuss the history of naturalists in Texas and their accomplishments
* Identify the first naturalists of Texas
* Understand the importance of expeditions and surveys in the natural history of Texas
* Identify four main “old time” naturalists and their accomplishments
* Identify the historically prominent Texas naturalists and their accomplishments in the fields of geology, botany,  malacology, entomology, ichthyology, herpetology, ornithology, and mammalogy
* Identify the first individuals to write literature to a wider audience in the subject of nature

Chapter: Ecological Concepts

* Explain the ecological principles that apply to individual organisms, populations, communities, and ecosystems
* Explain the balances that exist between ecosystems and what factors are necessary to keeping ecosystems in balance
* Explain how different ecosystems are determined largely by different environmental factors
* Describe the hydrologic cycle, the nitrogen cycle, and the carbon cycle
* Explain what is meant by succession and climax and list the factors responsible for each
* Illustrate a food web and explain the importance of trophic relationships
* Define biodiversity and understand the importance of managing for biodiversity
* Identify ecological factors that are relevant to a threatened species
* Understand the laws and procedures necessary for protecting species

Chapter: Ecological Regions of Texas

• Identify and differentiate the features of Texas’ ecological regions and subregions
• Understand and communicate the need for different maps denoting various ecological regions of Texas
• Explain the factors creating the great ecological diversity occurring in Texas

Chapter: Ecosystem Management

• Understand and discuss the seven principles of ecology
• Describe management, ecosystems, and ecosystem management
• Identify the five ecological principles that can help assure the Earth’s ecosystems

Chapter: Geology and Soils of Texas

• Trace the geologic history of Texas
• Describe the various landform regions of Texas
• Discuss the hydrologic cycle and describe all possible sources of water
• Describe the physical and chemical properties of soil
• Discuss ways to prevent soil erosion

Chapter: Weather and Climate

• Discuss what processes affect the temperature
• Become familiar with the main processes driving weather and climate
• Become familiar with cloud formations and the weather and climate they can predict or represent
• Describe Texas climate and factors affecting rainfall
• Describe a typical year of weather in Texas

Chapter: Nature of Naming

• Demonstrate their ability to classify
• Discuss the uses and importance of the classification system
• Identify main parts of a scientific name
• Understand why the binomial classification system is important
• Discuss the pitfalls of using common names

Chapter: Plants

• Explain why it is important to be familiar with plant names and some cases where knowing plant names can help
• Describe the classes of plants
• Become familiar with and describe the parts of a plant
• Compare and contrast the four classes of plants
• Become familiar with leaf and flower, types, placement, and arrangements to identify plants
• Explain what an invasive plant is and give some examples

Chapter: Ornithology

* Understand the causes for bird diversity
* Understand and discuss the habit of bird migration
* Explain bird behavioral characteristics and their adaptations to environments and environmental changes
* Develop an awareness of how birds populations are monitored and managed
* Identify and communicate how birds function within ecosystems
* Become aware of and communicate conservation concerns for birds

Chapter: Entomology

* Demonstrate an appreciation for insects and an interest in entomology
* Discuss why insects are so biologically diverse, why this diversity is threatened, and why the conservation of insect biodiversity is important
* Demonstrate familiarity with the insect fauna of Texas
* Discuss basic principles of insect behavior and ecology and relate these to environmental adaptations
* Understand the systematic relationships among various insect groups
* Demonstrate knowledge about the general characteristics of the major groups of insects
* Understand the role that insects play in local ecosystems and various other ecosystems in Texas
* Discuss the habitat needs of various groups of insects
* Demonstrate knowledge of methods for collecting insects
* Recognize rare or special species that indicate habitat qualities

Chapter: Ichthyology (Fishes)

* Demonstrate an appreciation for fishes and an interest in ichthyology
* Discuss the diversity of fishes in Texas and demonstrate familiarity with the different groups of fishes
* Understand the relationship among various groups of fishes
* Demonstrate knowledge about the general characteristics of the major groups of fishes
* Discuss basic principles of fish behavior, physiology, and ecology and relates these principles to environmental adaptations
* Discuss the habitat needs of various groups of fishes

Chapter: Herpetology

* Become familiar with and be able to explain the herpetological conservation topics relevant to Texas
* Become familiar with and recognize and explain the principle causes of biodiversity loss
* Become familiar with and recognize the common characteristics of amphibians and reptiles and how they differ from other vertebrates
* Become familiar with the natural history and diversity of amphibians and reptiles in Texas
* Outline and communicate the issues affecting the conservation of Texas herpetofauna

Chapter: Mammalogy

* Demonstrate an appreciation for mammals and an interest in mammalogy
* Discuss the diversity and distribution of mammals in Texas and demonstrate familiarity with the different groups of mammals
* Understand the systematic relationships among various groups of mammals
* Demonstrate knowledge about the general characteristics of the major groups of mammals
* Discuss basic principles of mammal behavior, physiology, and ecology and relate these principles to environmental adaptations
* Discuss the habitat needs of various groups of mammals
* Understand the role that mammals play in local ecosystems and various other ecosystems in Texas
* Demonstrate knowledge of estimating/measuring mammal populations
* Demonstrate knowledge of methods for trapping, marking, monitoring, and observing mammal populations
* Understand and communicate the 11 major characteristics of mammals
* Become familiar with the three major taxonomic groups of mammals and what characteristics make

Chapter: Archeology

* Describe and define what archeology is and what it is the study of
* Define culture
* Become familiar with the archeological regions of Texas
* Become familiar with the antiquities law

Chapter: Forest Ecology and Management

* Explain major forested regions of Texas
* Compare/contrast the major factors affecting forest ecology
* Understand and describe five stages of succession in forested ecosystems
* Understand and describe the differences and meanings of preservation and conservation in forest ecology and management
* Describe methods or tools of forest management
* List and discuss the benefits of urban forests and their management

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