Statewide Curriculum

Texas Master Naturalist Statewide 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: 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: 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: 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: Aquatic Ecology and Management

  • Describe the characteristics of water
  • Communicate the characteristics and properties of aquatic systems
  • Understand and communicate how aquatic systems function
  • Become familiar with management techniques for aquatic systems
  • Understand and communicate threats to aquatic systems

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

Chapter: Wetlands Ecology and Management

  • Explain what a wetland is
  • Become knowledgeable of types of wetlands
  • Become familiar with wetlands of Texas
  • Describe the wetland types of Texas
  • Become aware of an familiar with the state and federal regulations affecting and governing wetland conservation in Texas

Chapter: Rangeland Ecology and Management

  • 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 and awareness of grazing, brush and weed issues and management of Texas rangelands

Chapter: Urban Systems

  • Understand urban system characteristics
  • Understand and explain the practices and effects of urbanization in natural systems
  • Describe the three broad plant categories in urban systems and the threats to them as a result of urbanization
  • Describe the fauna of urban systems and the effects of urbanization on these species
  • Become familiar with the Best Management practices (BMP’s) for urban areas

Chapter: Volunteers as Teachers

  • Discuss what interpretation is
  • Discuss types of interpretation
  • Identify and understand components of an interpretative 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

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