Registration is open for the Good Water Chapter’s Spring Training Class.
Texas Master Naturalists are people who still like to play in the dirt and are willing to get their feet wet and their hands dirty. To become a Master Naturalist, one takes a training class of over 40 hours of expert training about almost every aspect of the natural world – soils, backyard habitats, prairies, rangeland management, forest ecology, birds, mammals, fish, insects, botany, climate, geology and archaeology.
While the first class will be Wednesday, March 7, the rest of the classes will meet on Tuesday afternoons from 1:00-5:00 p.m. Some classes and field trips will be on Saturdays. The last class will be May 15. Cost is $150 and includes the comprehensive and brand new Texas Master Naturalist Program manual as well as a one year membership to the Good Water Chapter. For couples who plan to share the manual, there is a discount for the second student. Click here for online registration. Click to see the preliminary class schedule. The class calendar for the class will be finalized in February.
To complete the certification process, each volunteer completes 40 hours of service and an additional 8 hours of training. To maintain their certification each year, volunteers are encouraged to take their knowledge and volunteer for 40 hours and take 8 hours of additional training.
Amy Flinn and her husband, Mike Finn, took the training class in the Fall of 2016. She recently wrote this about how the Master Naturalist program made her life richer.
“Recent ‘migratory’ events brought home one change for us. We are seeing with different eyes.
We started our Master Naturalist training in Fall 2016. Since then we have hiked hundreds of miles, tested water, and photographed wildflowers, recorded frogs, among other things.
When we started this adventure we enjoyed the outdoors in a more “casual” way. We didn’t know what iNaturalist or eBird was. Now our iNaturalist count has gone from 0 to over 900 observations and we have two rare birds recorded in eBird. These two databases have become our daily and travel journals.
At the September Amphibian Watch at Berry Springs we were graced by hundreds of Common Green Darners zipping overhead. Specimens were caught, examined, photographed and released. Mike Farley, odonatologist extraordinaire, showed us details for distinguishing between male and female Common Green Darners. Kathy McCormick, who sponsors the watch, exclaimed, ‘This might be a migratory event!’
A few days earlier while walking dogs with a friend in our neighborhood park, we heard loud “bird bickering” in a native pecan tree. Suddenly some 20 Scissor-tailed Flycatchers exploded out of the top of that tree, engaging in aerobatics for some moments before perching atop another pecan. Quick research disclosed that Scissor-tailed Flycatchers engage in a pre-migratory roost this time of year – another migratory event!
We have known that creatures migrated (who hasn’t watched the geese fly overhead?), but in the past year, we have experienced this ebb and flow of wildlife in a more personal way. It is as if our senses have been boosted. And so much of this broadening of our experiences and greater opening of our eyes, hearts, and minds has come through our fellow adventurers. We already mentioned a couple here, but there are so many more – you know who you are – you welcomers, cookie bakers, wildflower lovers, encouragers, frog catchers, water testers, donkey walkers, bird identifiers and educators. Your generosity of information, time, and spirit have gifted us in a way we could not have imagined when we started our training class one year ago.
We continue to hang out in the parks and walk the streams on our own, but you are there in spirit. We remember your help identifying this grass or that beetle. You inspire us to figure out the details of our experience (if only for the stories we will tell the next time we meet). You have helped to sharpen our senses, changing and broadening the way we experience the magic of the wild.
As we celebrate our first anniversary with Good Water, we thank you.”