Statewide Curriculum


Texas Master Naturalists Statewide Curriculum


Intro to the Texas Master Naturalist Program

Unit Goals

* Describe what a Master Naturalist™ is

* Identify and communicate the mission and goals of the Master Naturalist volunteer program

* Identify and communicate the requirements and responsibilities of a Texas Master Naturalist

Land Stewardship

Unit Goals

* Define land stewardship

* Discuss the role of private and public lands management in conservation

* Describe the five management tools outlined by the naturalist, Aldo Leopold

* Be encouraged to develop their own land ethics


Unit Goals

* Understand archeological concepts and methods

* Become familiar with Texas cultural history

* Become familiar with the Texas archeological regions

* Become familiar with the antiquities law

Historical Naturalists of Texas

Unit Goals

* Understand the importance of expeditions and surveys in the natural history of Texas

* Discuss the history of naturalists in Texas and their accomplishments

* Identify the most significant naturalists of Texas and in your local chapter’s area.

Ecological Regions of Texas

Unit Goals

*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 some of the key factors underpinning the ecological diversity occurring in Texas

Ecological Concepts

Unit Goals

* 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 keep 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

Ecosystems: Concepts and Management

Unit Goals

*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

Geology and Soils of Texas

Unit Goals

*Become aware of and understand the basic geologic processes of rock formation and the interactions which were instrumental in forming the geology 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

Weather and Climate

Unit Goals

*Discuss what processes affect the daytime and nighttime temperature

*Describe the main processes driving Texas weather and climate

*Identify cloud formations and the weather and climate they can predict or represent

*Understand the short-term and long-term relevance of climate variability and change to Texas ecology

*Describe a typical year of weather in Texas

Texas Water Resources

Unit Goals

* Understand the water cycle and identify water resources of Texas

* Be aware of the importance of water conservation and protection of both surface and groundwater sources

* Understand the management of water resources in Texas including water rights and ownership

* Be familiar with state water planning and groundwater management

* Understand water availability models, drought contingency plans, and water conservation plans

*Become familiar with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Land and Water Strategic Plan

* Understand how water quality is assessed, managed, and the planning process is being used to improve water quality

* Be familiar with state and federal agencies and water resources institutes that work with the public in water quality

* Become familiar with emergent water policies and issues

* Understand the benefits that rainwater harvesting and other conservation practices can provide


The Nature of Naming

Unit Goals

*Demonstrate ability to classify and identify common local tree species in the field

*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


Unit Goals

*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


Unit Goals

* Understand the causes for bird diversity

* Understand and discuss the habit of bird migration

* Identify the primary flyways of North America and Texas

* Explain bird behavioral characteristics to environments and environmental changes

* Develop an awareness of how bird populations are monitored and managed

* Identify and communicate how birds function within ecosystems

* Become aware of and communicate conservation concerns for birds


Unit Goals

* 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


Unit Goals

* 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 relate these principles to environmental adaptations

* Discuss the habitat needs of various groups of fishes


Unit Goals

*Be able to communicate the characteristics of amphibians and reptiles and how they differ from other vertebrates

*Understand the relationships among the major groups of amphibians and reptiles and how they are related to fish, mammals, and birds

* Have basic knowledge of ecology and life history of amphibians and reptiles in Texas

* Outline and communicate the challenges confronting conservation of amphibians and reptiles in Texas

* Outline and communicate the issues affecting the conservation of Texas herpe to fauna


Unit Goals

*Demonstrate an appreciation for mammals and an interest in mammalogy

*Understand and communicate the 11 major characteristics of mammals

*Be familiar with the three major taxonomic groups of mammals and what characteristics define those groups

*Discuss the diversity and distribution of mammals in Texas and demonstrate familiarity with the different groups of mammals

*Demonstrate knowledge of estimating/measuring mammal populations

*Demonstrate knowledge of methods for trapping, marking, monitoring, and observing mammal populations

*Understand the role that mammals play in the ecosystems of Texas

*Discuss the habitat needs of various groups of mammals

Forest Ecology and Management

Unit Goals

* Identify the major forested regions of Texas

* Understand the diversity of forests found in Texas

* Compare and contrast forest and urban forest ecology

* Understand and describe the stages of succession in natural and forested ecosystems

* Understand the benefits and ecosystem services forests provide

* Know the important role fire plays in ecological restoration of healthy forests

* Be familiar with traditional forestry management

* List and describe the benefits and ecosystem services trees provide in an urban environment

Aquatic Systems Ecology and Management

Unit Goals

* Describe the characteristics of water

* Communicate the characteristics and properties of aquatic systems

* Understand and communicate how aquatic systems function

* Be familiar with management techniques for aquatic systems

* Understand and communicate threats to aquatic systems

Wetland Ecology and Management

Unit Goals

* Explain what a wetland is

* Know the types of wetlands

* Be familiar with the wetlands of Texas

* Describe the types of wetlands in Texas

* Be familiar with the state and federal regulations affecting and governing wetlands conservation in Texas

Rangeland Ecology and Management

Unit Goals

* Define and describe rangeland

* Define Rangeland Management

* Describe why range management is different from agricultural vocations

* List the basic component categories of range management

* List and describe the four founding principles of grazing management

* Understand and be able to communicate the importance of land management goals

* Describe how native grasses grow * Describe, compare, and contrast rangeland management tools

* Develop an awareness of grazing, brush and weed issues and management on Texas rangelands

Urban Systems

Unit Goals

* Clearly differentiate the meaning of urban ecosystems, urbanization, and urban sprawl

* Compare urban and natural ecosystems in terms of diversity, interrelationships, cycles, and energy

* Understand the unique ecology of urban ecosystems in terms impacts on abiotic characteristics, nutrient cycles, and the water cycle; green and gray spaces; plants and animals

* Determine the levels of plant and animal diversity in urban areas when compared to natural ecosystems

Laws, Regulations and Ethics

Unit Goals

* Explain the differences between Texas Laws and Texas Regulations

* Describe who owns Texas wildlife * Become familiar with some early history of conservation law

* Define situations Texas Master Naturalists may face, and how to best answer them

* Broadly understand the federal and state permitting process

* Demonstrate the working relationship between conservation law enforcement, Master Naturalists, and the general public

* Identify why ethical standards are important for Texas Master Naturalists

Volunteers as Teachers

Unit Goals

* Discuss what interpretation is

* Discuss types of interpretation

* Identify and understand components of an interpretive experience

* Demonstrate audience management techniques

* Develop/outline an interpretive program or experience

* Understand the differences between a topic and a theme and the importance/functions each serves

Citizen Science

Unit Goals

* Define citizen science and its history

* Become familiar with different citizen science programs

* Learn how to develop a citizen science project for the local chapter

* Become familiar with the goals of that state’s Nature Trackers Program

* Become familiar with the Texas Quail Index program


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