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Master Naturalist Program Seeking Applicants

ent--article_ _media__contact">Media Contact: Marsha May, 512-389-8062,; Mike Cox, 512-389-8046,

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AUSTIN — Twelve chapters of the Texas Master Naturalist program are conducting 2013 winter/spring training classes for volunteers wanting to learn about natural resource and conservation management.

With 44 chapters located across the state, the Texas Master Naturalist program aims to develop a corps of well-informed citizen volunteers who educate their communities about the management of natural resources.  The main qualification needed to become a Certified Texas Master Naturalist is an interest in learning and playing an active part in conservation.

Volunteers will receive a minimum of 40 hours training from educators and specialists associated with universities, natural resource agencies, nature centers and museums.  Training topics include interpretation and management of natural resources, ecological concepts, eco-regions in Texas and natural systems management.  Volunteers are expected to give 40 hours of service a year in community education, demonstration and habitat enhancement projects.  They are also expected to pursue a minimum of eight hours of advance training in areas of personal interest.

Enrollment is limited in most chapters and some registration deadlines are fast approaching so contact a chapter near you to see if seating is still available. Chapters offering volunteer training this winter and spring are listed below with contact information.

  • Bastrop—Lost Pines Chapter. Classes begin early spring and will meet at various locations in Bastrop and Caldwell counties, including Bluebonnet Electric Co-op Headquarters, Bastrop State Park, Lockhart State Park and Red Rock Community Center. Registration materials are currently posted online with applications due Jan. 16. Class will be limited to 32 participants. Classes will be Mondays from 6:30 p.m. till 9:30PM, with five Saturday morning field trips. For information, contact Louise Ridlon,, 512 985-5064 (home), 909 262-3429 (cell). Chapter website:
  • Belton—Central Texas and Heart of Texas Chapters. Registration deadline is March 15. Registration form can be found on the website. Orientation will be March 26 from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Bell County Extension Office, 1605 N. Main, Belton. Classes begin April 6 and continued to June 8. No class limit. For information, contact Mary Ann Everett, 254-773-9576, or Zoe Rascoe, 254-913-1013, Websites: and
  • Dallas—North Texas Chapter. Classes will be each Tuesday Feb. 12-April 30.  Registration deadline is Jan. 25, 2013 with class size limited to 40. For information, contact Linda Ford,, 214-343-0720. Chapter website: Go to their website and click on “How to Join” on the left. The chapter will host an open house to answer questions and to give information on opportunities, requirements, field trips, and projects on from 7-8:30 p.m. on Jan. 15 at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service Office, 10056 Marsh Lane Suite B-101, Dallas, Texas 75229-6071.
  • Galveston Bay area—Galveston Bay Area Chapter. Classes meet from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays Feb. 28-May 16 and each Thursday from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at different locations.  Classes consist of morning lecture and afternoon sessions in the field and will focus on the birds, plants, fish, oysters, marshes, beaches and prairies of the Galveston Bay area. Participants trawl the bay, bird at Audubon’s Bolivar Peninsula preserves, explore the Armand Bayou prairie and seine in the Gulf of Mexico. Class limit 20. To receive an application packet contact Julie Massey, Texas Cooperative Extension, Galveston County at 281-309-5063, or The program cost of $140 includes all materials and fees. Chapter website: 
  • Houston—Gulf Coast Chapter. Classes meet Monday mornings Feb. 4-May 20. Registration is due by the end of December. Class limit 20 For information contact Julia Trimble,, 713-732-1547. Chapter website:
  • Paris—Red River Chapter. This chapter will conduct training in the spring providing they have enough trainees. They usually have recruitment meetings in Paris and Clarksville in February, but dates not yet determined. Class dates and times will be posted on the chapter website,
  • Round Top—Gideon Lincecum Chapter. Classes meet Jan. 28-April 29 at the Winedale Historical Complex near Round Top. The Chapter would like applications in before Christmas to help with class planning. Classes are limited to 25 and will meet from 6-9 p.m. Mondays. There will be a few Saturday field trips. For information, contact Judith Deaton, Chapter website: http://www.txmnorg/glc
  • San Antonio—Alamo Area Chapter. Classes will be held at 3355 Cherry Ridge, Suite 208, San Antonio on 5-9 p.m. on Thursdays from Feb. 21- April 25. There will be four morning field trips. Application deadline is Feb. 3. Class limited to 45. Tuition is $200, cash or check only. For information contact Pamela Ball, Chapter website:
  • San Marcos—Hays County Chapter. Classes Feb. 5-Oct. 15. Training will take place in San Marcos, Wimberley and Dripping Springs. Applications due Jan. 8. Class limit 30. Classes usually meet Tuesday evenings with two Saturday morning classes, plus three optional Saturday field trips. For information contact Bari Conley at Hays County AgriLife Extension,, 512-393-2120.  Chapter website:
  • Wichita Falls—Rolling Plains Chapter. Classes March 19-May 4. Registration due by March 12. Classes will meet Tuesday and Thursday nights with Saturday field trips. For information contact Robert Mauk, 940-766-2383, Guests are welcome to attend the chapter’s monthly meetings at 7 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month at River Bend Nature Center, 2200 Third Street, Wichita Falls, TX. Chapter website:
  • The Woodlands—Heartwood Chapter. Classes begin March 16. Classes are generally at the Texas Forest Service classroom building on FM 1488, north of The Woodlands, but move around some during the session. There are typically two classes a month, all on Saturdays, through July. Final dates will be announced soon, along with availability of a 2013 registration application. Dues are $150 for the session. For more information contact Teri MacArthur,, 281-364-4225. More information will be posted on the chapter website, before year’s end.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas AgriLife Extension co-sponsor the Texas Master Naturalist Program.  For more information about existing chapters or forming a new chapter contact Michelle Haggerty, Texas Master Naturalist Program Coordinator, at 830-896-2504 or  More information about the Texas Master Naturalist program is available at: