Texas Master Naturalist program offers new printed curriculum

Writer: Steve Byrns, 325-653-4576, s-byrns@tamu.edu

Contact: Mary Pearl Meuth, 979-845-7294, mpmeuth@tamu.edu

COLLEGE STATION – The Texas Master Naturalist program has a new training curriculum that’s hot off the press, a Texas A&M official said.

Mary Pearl Meuth, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service associate at College Station who works with the statewide program affiliated with her agency and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said the book published and available through the Texas A&M University Press can be ordered at: http://bit.ly/2bFwmg3.

“This edition is our first official professionally printed piece,” she said. “It has more than 600 color images and maps and four additional teaching units. Also, the entire content has been updated.

New Texas Master Naturalist curriculum is now available. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)

New Texas Master Naturalist curriculum is now available. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)

“The Texas Master Naturalist program is comprised of volunteers who, once trained, provide teaching, outreach and services to promote appreciation and stewardship of our state’s natural resources and natural areas,” she said. “This curriculum provides the basic instruction needed by trainees who must complete a certification course taught under the guidance of any of the more than 40 Texas chapters in order to become a Texas Master Naturalist.”

Meuth and Michelle Haggerty, the Texas Master Naturalist program statewide coordinator at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, edited the work. Meuth said the curriculum includes 24 instruction units ranging from geology to ornithology to wetland ecology. All the units were written by the state’s top scientists and experts in their respective fields of expertise, she said.

“The book, while tailored to Master Naturalist trainees, is also an excellent up-to-date resource for anyone seeking authoritative information about the natural world in Texas,” Meuth said. “It’s also great for those considering becoming a Texas Master Naturalist.”

The new version, all 763 pages of it, Meuth refers to as the second edition.

“It’s a far cry from the first edition, which has been in use for 10 years. That version was a three-ring binder printed in black and white with limited images and maps.”

Naturalists who have reviewed the book were effusive in their praise of the update.

Dr. Diane Russell, president of the Coastal Prairie Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist, said everything is better in the new volume versus the old one.

“It’s like night and day,” Russell said. “Everything is more logical and more clearly written.

“When I finished the training class years ago, I happily put that manual away never to open it again. But this book – I will keep it in my living room where I sit and work. I actually can’t wait to start reading it slowly for content – couldn’t do that before. I know I will become a much better naturalist with this to read.”

Lisa Flannagan, Texas Master Naturalist volunteer and Hill Country Chapter membership chair, said, “I love, love, love this book. What a work of art it is. I love that we have such a professional, well laid out text that we will use for years.”

The Master Naturalist program, now in its 18th year, has been hugely successful, Meuth said. During that time, more than 10,000 volunteers have been trained who, in turn, have dedicated more than 2.8 million hours of their time educating the public.

For more information, contact Meuth at 979-845-7294, mpmeuth@tamu.edu .For more information on the Texas Master Naturalist program, go to  http://txmn.org/ .

Originally appeared: http://today.agrilife.org/2016/08/25/texas-master-naturalist-program-offers-new-printed-curriculum/

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