Become a Master Naturalist — Share Your Love of Nature

by Charlie Grindstaff

The Indian Trail Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist volunteer program is interested in ensuring that future generations will enjoy our native wildflowers, birds, butterflies and all other aspects of the out-of-doors. Do you share our love of nature? Do you care about the environment? Do you enjoy volunteering? You can become a partner in our quest to increase public awareness, understanding and appreciation of our natural resources through education and active citizen participation.

Master Naturalist training will be held at Waxahachie’s First United Methodist Church on eight Thursdays beginning September 8 with two Saturday field trips. Instruction is provided by recognized experts and customized to focus on native ecosystems of North Central Texas and, specifically, of Ellis and Navarro Counties. The course provides an understanding of our natural systems and the detrimental, long-term consequences of imbalances and faulty management. The training will consist of research-based presentations and relevant field trips. Participants learn how to restore, regenerate, nurture and conserve plant species and animal habitats through classes covering such topics as weather and climate, ecological regions of Texas, geology and soils, native plants, birds, insects, mammals, fish, nature photography, rangeland and wetland ecology.
Requirements to become a certified Texas Master Naturalist:
  • · Complete and submit your application by August 15. Applications are available online at or by calling the AgriLife Extension Service (972-825-5175);
  • · Attendance at all scheduled classes and field trips;
  • · 40 volunteer hours; and
  • · 8 advanced training hours.
The cost for the training program is $150, which covers the manual, handouts, speakers and background check. The cost is $100 for the second family member when one handbook is shared.

The opportunities for volunteer service and advanced training, some with the Chapter and some individually, are limitless. Indian Trail Chapter is currently working with the Midlothian Parks Department to develop Mockingbird Nature Park, connecting children with nature through the “Growing Up Wild” program, identifying trees and plants in Kachina Prairie (Ellis County’s only recognized remnant of Blackland Prairie), collecting water quality data for Texas Stream Team, reporting rain (or lack thereof) data for CoCoRaHS, and reporting turtle sightings to Texas Turtle Watch. In addition, we offer a series of Master Naturalist programs for the public on the fourth Monday of each month.

Requests for more information or a schedule of classes, questions and concerns should be directed to Paul Grindstaff, Training Committee Chairman, 972-291-2868,

The Texas Master Naturalist program is co-sponsored by the Texas AgriLife Extension Services and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

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