If you are reading this message, my hope is that something in nature or someone in your life has piqued your interest in the Texas Master Naturalist (TMN) program, and you are perhaps contemplating submitting your application to attend the 2019 Hill Country Chapter class.

Please explore the different tabs and links on the Hill Country Chapter website to learn about some of the fantastic opportunities that you can become involved with while helping preserve one of the most beautiful regions of Texas, the Hill Country.

The Texas Master Naturalist mission statement states: “To develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities for the state of Texas.” This mission is evident in each and every project, class and volunteer activity. Texas Master Naturalists really believe in this mission and are outstanding examples of “walking the talk.”

Once you begin taking the course you will join many other like-minded individuals who value the importance of managing and maintaining the natural resources in our communities. Vast volunteer opportunities are located throughout the Hill Country’s 10-county region. Experiences range from local parks, gardens and nature centers to state parks and preserves. We encourage new chapter members to explore different activities, learn how to do something new or focus on an area where you have a passion. 

Opportunities to explore, educate and serve in the Hill Country are practically endless.

During the course, you can look forward to hearing presentations by scientists, naturalists and other experts from local, state and federal agencies, organizations and universities. In addition to classroom time during the course, we have several field trips embedded in the curriculum. You will have a front row seat on docent-led tours where you will experience and learn about the unique beauty and habitats of this area. Example field trips are: Honey Creek State Natural Area, Kerr Wildlife Management Area, Nature Centers, Selah Bamberger Ranch Preserve and Old Tunnel State Park to watch the bat emergence.

Throughout the course you will learn about many of the volunteer projects and activities in our area. A few example projects and activities are: bird and butterfly counts, land management and restoration efforts, leading nature walks and educational opportunities in nature centers and schools. There’s literally something for everyone.

Being a Texas Master Naturalist is a very exciting and educational experience. A few things I’ve done in the short time since I completed my TMN training have been: tagging monarch butterflies, testing for chronic wasting disease in deer, feral hog management, golden-cheeked warbler surveys and providing public outreach at the Native Plant Society of Texas plant sale. I’ve also attended additional training on trail management, monarch larval monitoring and the iNaturalist online data sharing program. I share this information to give you an idea of how varied the opportunities are for learning and volunteering. You will find the chapter’s project coordinators and other volunteers to be knowledgeable, enthusiastic and welcoming.

I hope you consider becoming a part of this remarkable group of people who are dedicated to enjoying and preserving this wonderful place we call home. If you would like to participate in this exceptional learning experience, I urge you to apply for the Class of 2019. You will be pleasantly surprised and inspired by how much you learn during the course and beyond.

Training classes start August 2019 — please join us. Applications will be accepted through June 30  

Contact Membership Director Reggie Cox at hillcountrymem

bership@gmail.com if you would like further information.

To apply online, fill in the application on our website at https://txmn.org/hillcountry/class-application. The deadline for submitting applications is June 30. I look forward to greeting and guiding the members of the Class of 2019.

Carla Stang is a Texas Master Naturalist of the Hill Country Chapter and the 2019 director of class training.

 

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