Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
Prog orientation.01.09
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Prog orientation.01.09

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Sonny Arnold

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  • The Texas Master Naturalist program is a natural resource based volunteer training program jointly sponsored statewide by Texas Parks & Wildlife and the Texas Agricultural Extension Service. These 2 agencies jointly recognized that it was within their missions to develop a program that enhances our abilities to accomplish our missions especially among audiences not traditionally reached by our previous outreach and extension efforts. This partnership with TPW and TCE is probably one of the most intensive partnerships these 2 agencies have had together in a long time. An example of the intensity of this partnership is that I am a 100% TPW employee, however, I am housed 2 hours away from our headquarters and instead am housed at the TCE HQ at TAMU.
  • As the statewide program established itself with the help of the statewide advisory committee, the committee identified the mission and goal of the program “to develop a corps of well educated “Master Volunteers who provide education, outreach and service dedicated toward the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities” We see this mission as one that fits both the TPW and TAEX agency missions. Additionally we see this mission being broad enough so that other natural resource agencies and organizations at the local level can identify with it too.
  • The committee also established the objectives of the statewide program as: To improve public understanding of natural resource ecology and management through the instruction and education we provide them in the program. To enhance existing natural resource education and outreach activities through the volunteer services the master naturalists provide. We essentially are training these volunteers to be an extension of us as employees. We cannot possibly reach the more than 21 mill people there are in Texas today without their help. To develop a TMN volunteer network that is eventually self-sufficient.--After we invest training in these volunteers they stay active and communicate through local chapters that are run by the volunteers and advised by the local coordinating committees.
  • The same is true for Texas. We are an urbanizing society. We have 21 mill. People in Texas and 82% of those live in an urban area. Texas has 3 of the top ten largest cities in the United States. Many of these residents and landowners in these rapidly developing areas are 2-3 generations removed from direct land management (framing, ranching or forestry) and they rarely seek traditional forms of outreach and extension prior to making their land mgmt. Decisions. The Texas Master Naturalist program utilizes a train the trainer approach to diffuse knowledge gained by natural resource professionals to these volunteers who in-turn communicate their new knowledge to others. More people are acting as educators and Agency personnel time is no longer such a constraint. One of the things TMN has been effective at is reaching and addressing these new constituents that have become a new audience to both agencies. We need these constituents we are reaching in these areas to be urban ambassadors for us. Th number one detrimental occurrence to our natural resources is urban sprawl and development. Texas has three of the largest cities in the US. We need volunteers in urban and rural areas to be NR stewards and educators of others in helping to suppress the amount of detriment to our natural resources.
  • As the basis of the program, TMN trainees are instructed with at least 40 hours of hands-on and lecture style instruction both in the classroom and in the field which is designed to give them understanding of natural history and ecological processes influencing their local ecosystems. And this training utilizes local experts in the given topic. After becoming a Master Naturalist participants are expected to continue their volunteer efforts through active membership in their local chapters.
  • The overall goals of our curriculum is to provide non-biased natural resource information and materials in an interesting format to create naturalists and inspire our clientele to become stewards of their natural resources. We have found that the curriculum is most effective when presented as discussion and answers to broadly posed questions and issues. Volunteers learn about: - Present day and historical naturalists--who were observers, note takers, experimenters, teachers, and people who asked questions--Mastering these techniques is what really makes them a MASTER NATURALIST. --Traditional Naturalist disciplines-- they were “ologists” ornithologist, botanists, entomologists, mammalogists, geologists --Ecological concepts such as populations, landscapes, succession, restoration, etc. --Ecoregions of TX. First they’ll learn about all ecosystems in general and then they will narrow down and focus on their local ecoregion. --Mgmgt of Natural Systems--such as woodland mgmt., urban mgmt., prairie mgmt. And wetlands mgmt. Interpretation and Communication--we want them to not only know the info but we want them to be able to utilize and relay it and present that info to other public groups too.
  • The annual requirement of advanced training promotes continued learning, exploring and development just as historical naturalists practiced. The advanced training opportunities can be made available through the TMN program at the state level , provided by the local chapter, or sought out by the individual. However, every opportunity should be pre-approved by the local chapter. Advanced Training should be more in depth on a subject than the training they originally received or a training that will help them and the program benefit directly from. This is where your local partners will be valuable in offering the opportunities.
  • The projects can be short projects such as participating on a speakers bureau or they can be long term projects such as overseeing a park restoration.. Chapters may wish to develop “signature projects” or volunteers may seek projects that fit the TMN criteria individually. Individual projects are subject for review by the local chapter. This is another area where the partnerships developed at the local level become very important. Their service projects should be something they want to volunteer in and a project that the program and agencies can capitalize on their strengths.
  • State Parks who currently involved in the program include: Sheldon Lake Tyler Cedar Hill Galveston Island Government Canyon Honey Creek Lake Brownwood Matagorda Island Brazos Bend San Jacinto
  • Through the TMN program you can help children and adults in your community learn about Texas’ natural resources. When talking to the volunteers These are benefits they say they get out of the program and from being a certified TMN.
  • When I first came to this program we had just 4 chapters, to date we have 18 chapters centered out of the most populated and urbanizing communities of Texas such as Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, Houston and El Paso In addition the program will expand into at least 5 new locations in the coming year.
  • So far these local chapters have trained over 1,200 volunteers. And we continue to train more than 600 volunteers each year. Obviously, that number increases as our number of chapters increase. Through the end of 2001, these volunteers have provided over 89,000 hours of service valued at more than $1million. From an agency standpoint their work ahs been equivalent to approximately 34 FTE’s and their service outreach and education has directly reached more than 200,000 youth adults and private landowners. This is above and beyond the outreach that our agency employees have also been able to contribute.
  • These volunteers have made an impact on more than 5,000 acres through their management and restoration efforts. Their local chapters have developed partnerrships with more than 180 different organizations. We have even had a volunteer discover a plant new to science, and it since has been confirmed and named after him.
  • These volunteers have made an impact on more than 5,000 acres through their management and restoration efforts. Their local chapters have developed partnerrships with more than 180 different organizations. We have even had a volunteer discover a plant new to science, and it since has been confirmed and named after him.
  • -Provides cross-Chapter idea sharing. -Is an opportunity for them to receive their advanced training for the whole year. -Is an opportunity to provide new program information relevant to all Chapters and volunteers. -provides an opportunity for our Volunteer Representatives Council to meet. At our first Annual Meeting and Advanced training: 135 people attended, All 13 Chapters were represented, 2 Developing Chapters were represented.
  • Compare to other programs we are more intensive and all encompassing. In 1999 we met with other who run similar volunteer programs across the nation. At this time there were 10. But what we found was that many of these programs were not as broad in their training as the TMN programis. The go by names such as the Coverts program or Forestry Education program, Master Forester program. NH, VT, MD, MA, OR, MN, PA, NY, WI. Many of them had been in existence anywhere from 4-15 years. And interesting enough none of the programs had as many active volunteers as the TMN program at this time. We were less than a year old and had already trained more volunteers than any of the other programs. No local partners, focused on single systems mgmt. The TMN program is the model program for at least 20 other states developing a Master Naturalist program. We have even had other states come to visit our program to learn and implement the program in their home state. There is even plans for the development of a regional Master Naturalist Program. At some time in the near future, just as the Master Gardener Program has, I envision the Texas Master Naturalist Program following their lead and develop and implement a Junior Master Naturalist program as well. With the development of a regional program, I have no doubts that someday within the next couple of years we will see a Master Naturalist program in every state and they will look up to you as the first, the biggest and the best. Other Countries are looking to us as a model program too--China, Mexico, Canada, Australia.
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