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Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - August 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk Count
y Publishing Company

AgriLife Extension/Parks & Wildlife to launch Master Naturalist training here Sept. 3
Polk County Enterprise - August 2009

LIVINGSTON —As part of an effort to expand tourism-related business in Polk County, the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce has announced that a Texas Master Naturalist training program will begin in Livingston Sept. 3. Anyone interested in participating should attend an orientation meeting at 2 p.m. Sept. 3 in the chamber’s conference room. If you cannot attend that meeting, contact Chamber Executive Director Sydney Murphy at 936- 327-4929 or the AgriLife Extension office at 936-327-6828.

The Master Naturalist Committee will join three other groups the chamber has formed (birding, paddle trails and hiking and biking) to promote this area’s natural assets for outdoor enthusiasts with these areas of interest. The birding committee is developing brochures, a web site and other promotional materials that feature information on the types of birds often found in the Polk County/Lake Livingston area. Paddle trail committee members will facilitate the creation of launch and take out points on local waterways. Some of those paddle trails will link with The Conservation Fund’s Neches River paddle trails being developed as part of its Pineywoods Experience project. The Nature Tourism Committee’s birding group will meet at 2 p.m. Sept. 3 also.

Thirteen chapters of the Texas Master Naturalist program have already formed and have announced fall training classes for volunteers wanting to help conserve our natural resources. The Texas Master Naturalist program – now with 38 chapters across the state — develops a corps of well informed citizen volunteers who educate their communities about natural resource management. The Texas program has won numerous awards and helped spawn a similar national movement. The main qualification needed to become a Certified Texas Master Naturalist is an interest in learning and taking an active role in conservation. Volunteers receive a minimum of 40 hours of training from educators and specialists with universities, government agencies, nature centers and museums.

Training topics include interpretation and management of natural resources, ecological concepts, eco-regions of Texas and natural systems management. Volunteers are expected to contribute 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 advanced training in areas of personal interest. Texas Master Naturalist Chapters offering volunteer training this fall are listed below with contact information. Enrollment is limited in most chapters. If a deadline has passed contact the chapter to see if seating is still available. Other chapters are planning to offer a fall class. Contact the state office of the Texas Master Naturalist program to seek other training locations. Alpine—Tierra Grande Chapter. Class begins Aug. 28 at the Nature Conservancy’s Davis Mountain Preserve. Registration is now closed. Call 432-837-2882 to see if seating is available. For details contact: albertgbork@sbcglobal.net. Austin—Capital Area Chapter.

Training begins Nov. 21 and registration is needed by Sept. 30. Class information is available by phone at 512-964-7540 or email ThorneBio@aol.com Bryan—Brazos Valley Chapter. Training begins Sept. 8 with registration due by Sept. 1. Details can be found on the chapter website: http://grovesite.com/tmn/bv or call 979-695-0847. Comal County/New Braunfels— Lindheimer Chapter. Plans are set for a class to begin in October. Details will be posted on the chapter website http://grovesite. com/tmn/lc or call 830-620-3440. Corpus Christi—South Texas Chapter. Class begins Sept.12 and registration is open until the beginning of the class. For more information contact mlopez2012@stx.rr.com. Denton—Elm Fork Chapter.

You are invited to attend the chapter’s Roundup Open House on Aug. 20 and class begins Sept. 1. Registration is due by Aug. 21. Contact 940-349-2883 or sherrillcampbell@verizon.net for more information. Fort Worth—Cross Timbers Chapter. Class begins on Aug.25. More information is available at www.ctmn.org or contact ginger@ctmn.org. Hempstead—Coastal Prairie Chapter. Class begins on Sept. 10 and the registration deadline is Aug. 25. Additional information is available at: www.coastalprairie. org or call 281-239-2424. Kerrville—Hill Country Chapter. The first class is Aug. 26 and the registration deadline has passed. Details are available at 830-896- 9576 or jbrazaitis@aol.com O r a n g e — S a b i n e - N e c h e s Chapter.

Be a charter member of this new chapter that begins its first class on Sept. 8. Registration is due by Aug. 21 and details are available by contacting the Orange County AgriLife Extension office at 409- 882-7010 or e-mail: rlstanford@ag. tamu.edu Rosenberg—Coastal Prairie Chapter. Class begins Sept. 10 and registration is needed no later than Aug. 25. More information is available at www.coastalprairie.org or call 281-633-7042. San Antonio—Alamo Area Chapter.

The state’s founding chapter begins its 25th class Sept. 10 and applications are due Aug. 20. Applications can be found at www.alamomasternaturalist.org and should be sent to pball12@satx. rr.com. Call 210-764-1921 for more information. San Benito—Rio Grande Valley Chapter. Training begins Jan. 13, 2010 and registration is due Jan. 6. More information and details can be found at rgvctmneduchair@gmail. com or call 956-455-9204. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas AgriLife Extension co-sponsor the Texas Master Naturalist Program.

Information about existing chapters or forming a new one can be obtained by contacting Sonny Arnold, Assistant Program Coordinator, 111 Nagle Hall, 2258, TAMU, College Station, TX 77843- 2258, sarnold@ag.tamu.edu, 979- 458-1099 or http://masternaturalist. tamu.edu



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