Note from Mary Pearl Meuth, Texas Master Naturalist Program Assistant State Coordinator
Blackland Prairie Chapter Master Naturalists –
Below are updated guidelines as stated by our sponsoring state agencies that were updated today by Mary Pearl Meuth, Texas Master Naturalist Program Assistant State Coordinator.
First and foremost – please refer to local officials for the most updated travel restrictions and regulations for social distancing. All Master Naturalist service and programming must follow local, state and federal guidelines first and foremost.
Current Guidelines for Texas Master Naturalist Chapters
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are statewide sponsors of the Texas Master Naturalist Program. As such we must adhere to the policies set forth by both of our sponsoring agencies.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension has mandated that ALL AgriLife face to face events, programs and meetings be cancelled through May 20th at the earliest.
May 1-20: All face to face events remain cancelled.
May 18: Additional guidance from the Office of the Governor on reopening the state
This includes Texas Master Naturalist face to face events, programs and meetings.
Because the period may well be extended, all TMN chapters should continue to make contingency plans for no face to-face events through the summer out of an abundance of caution.
https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/coronavirus/ – a resource page for updates
Mary Pearl Meuth
Texas Master Naturalist Program Assistant State Coordinator
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
In addition, an update from Tom Shackelford, President of Chapter
We will not have a Chapter meeting in May. The Statewide Agrilife Zoom account for Chapters was discontinued. Other platforms are being reviewed by the state for Chapters to use for this purpose. We will continue to have 1/2 hour deep dive opportunities to allow membership to earn AT. These are done on personal Zoom accounts that are limited on time and attendance. VH opportunities that are not in-person are being reviewed by VH/AT for consideration and these will be communicated. The Chapter business, certifications, and milestone achievements will be communicated in the newsletter.
Note from our Chapter President Tom Shackelford
We need to be responsible and take all necessary precautions that local jurisdictions recommend – in some cases going beyond. Being good stewards of our community means doing our part to put collective health and safety first.
Per Michelle Haggerty earlier today. We all have a social responsibility to help ‘flatten the curve’ and keep vulnerable populations safe. Between 60% and 65% of our TMN membership, by age alone, is considered to be in the “high risk” category of COVID19.
If we can help minimize exposure, ‘hunker down’ and socially distance ourselves; then just maybe these calls to do so can be lifted sooner rather than later—THAT may just be our ‘service’ over these next few weeks.
CANCELLATION OF BPTMN SPONSORED ACTIVITIES
IN RESPONSE TO SPREAD OF COVID-19
As you are aware, the spread of COVID-19 and the response to this is rapidly changing by the hour. The BPTMN board, with the full support of the State Program Coordinator, has elected to take the socially responsible action of canceling all BPTMN sponsored activities within the Chapter from 3/16/2020 through 4/04/2020. This includes membership meetings, in-person training, and events through the April 4th date.
Our members are the most important resource we have, and their safety is paramount. This decision was made considering the safety of our membership and the community that we live in, following local leadership and government recommendations.