This message was sent out on the TMN Listserv, April 30, 2020. It is repeated here for anyone who may have missed it.
Texas Master Naturalists,
A small victim of this current quarantine and shelter in place is the missed opportunities of spring. So many of our Master Naturalist volunteer service projects literally take bloom during these spring months each year – we have a new crop of trainees joining in some chapters, plant sales and plantings of native butterfly gardens, youth education programs as Texas students cycle into earth sciences in the spring, bird and butterfly migrations, and so much more that isn’t able to happen in its traditional form right now!
With this time of anxiety and thoughts of those things missed – we also have the chance to pause and consider our connections to our natural resources a bit deeper. We take stock in the lessons learned from the Master Naturalist Program, the fascination with life in bloom, the connections to green spaces as a form of relaxation or health, the stewardship of those spaces for the enjoyment of others whose stress is greater than ours. Another thought – typically in the spring the Master Naturalist program is a flurry of events, programs, workshops and travel. With this extra pause we’ve each been given – have you taken a chance to look closer? To study the small things in your backyard, in your local park or just outside your window?
To that end, I would like as many of you as possible to respond to this statement: “In this unprecedented moment of pandemic, reflect upon what nature means to you and what benefits it provides you, especially in times like these.”
Here are the ground rules:
- Record your thoughts in a video on your phone or tablet, laptop or computer webcam. This is a video diary project that will be shared on the Texas Master Naturalist website for people to see, enjoy, relate to, and maybe even take comfort in.
- On the video, please tell us your name, chapter and what city you live in. If you don’t feel comfortable including your name, chapter and/or city, you do not have to.
- Feel free to wear your TMN name badge, shirt or swag!
- Please keep your recordings to no longer than up 1 minute if at all possible. Generally, I won’t be editing your video for content, and short videos are viewed much more than long videos.
- If you’d rather write your thoughts and reflections rather than recording a video, feel free to share those words with us through the form.
- Follow all locally mandated health requirements and recommendations. Your backyard, kitchen table or living room is just fine. While it might be tempting to take your thoughts to your favorite trail or natural area, please stay safe and abide by these health and safety restrictions.
- Please record and upload your video by Friday, May 15th using the link below.
- Please remember: This doesn’t have to be a polished video – no one expects you to produce a professional-quality video. You don’t need a script, unless you want to write your thoughts down. Just speak from your heart.
- And you can earn a little bit of Volunteer Service Hour credit logged under Chapter Admin – limit to .5 hours please.
If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know. While this is a video exercise, if you would rather share your written thoughts, a meaningful poem or quote relevant to this task, and/or a nature photo you took, please share those as well!
Again, stay safe and healthy, and thank you for your participation in this exercise! It’ll be so nice to hear your voices and see your faces at this moment in time!
Mary Pearl Meuth
Texas Master Naturalist Program Assistant State Coordinator
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
VMS code: CB: Administrative Work/Heartwood Chapter; subcategory: State Program Office (Specify Nature Reflections video diary)