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FMNP Festival: Celebrate the FMNP’s 20th Anniversary Online and In-Person

Friends and Colleagues, thank you for your continued support of the Florida Master Naturalist Program! For our 20th Anniversary, we want to come together to celebrate!

Join us the week of November 1-7 for the FMNP Festival to celebrate 20 years of the FMNP. During the weekdays (November 1-5) we are planning online presentations and interactive discussions from organizations that are directly involved in protecting, advocating for, and teaching about Florida’s natural world. During the weekend (November 6-7) we are planning in-person events that are being organized by FMNP Friends Groups, instructors, and staff around the state. Find more information below on each event!

*NOTE: Registration is required and you must register separately for each online event. Find the details at https://cvent.me/rvaVa1. All zoom events will be capped at 300 participants. We will be streaming each online event on Facebook Live and recordings will be available on our YouTube channel within two weeks if you can’t make it!

Information on FMNP Festival events
Monday, Nov. 1 at 6:30 p.m.
Audubon Florida, Presented by Erika Zambello

Audubon Florida has worked for more than a century to protect birds and the places they need. Join Audubon staff to learn about these how these special places can be Natural Climate Solutions, creating a more resilient Sunshine State in the face of a changing climate.

Speaker Biography:
As Communications Director for Audubon Florida, Erika coordinates engagement, outreach, and publications for the Sunshine State’s conservation, coastal, policy, research, center, and sanctuary programs. Based in Tallahassee, Erika works across the state to tell stories of resiliency, and how birds and people are affected by climate change, development, hurricanes, and more. Prior to Audubon, Erika worked in communications and project management for regional environmental organizations and local government. Erika holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell University, and Master’s Degrees from Duke University and the University of West Florida.

Registration required; register now.

Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 10:30 a.m.
Division of Recreation and Parks,
Office of Greenways and Trails

Participants: Katie Bernier and Britney Moore

Because of Florida’s climate, diversity of natural landscapes, and award-winning state parks and trails, the state offers a tremendous selection of recreational experiences for residents as well as visitors. Linking these individual opportunities to a larger recreation and conservation system is essential to maximizing the value of individually planned and managed public lands. The Florida Greenways and Trails System is the foundation for connecting and providing access to recreational hubs ranging from sizeable state and national forests to small community parks. Florida is positioned at the forefront of an exciting period that will result in improved health and wellness, economic growth, increased alternative transportation methods and outdoor recreation opportunities, more livable communities and increased conservation efforts, all of which all contribute to an improved quality of life.

Participant Biographies:
Britney grew up in North Florida Area, which helped to cultivate her love for Florida’s many outdoor recreation opportunities. Britney has worked for Florida’s award-winning state park system for several years and is currently the Assistant Bureau Chief with the Office of Greenways & Trails. She attended Florida State University where she studied Geography and Environmental Studies. As a member of the Junior League of Tallahassee, Britney has found a way to nourish her love of volunteering in the community.  She frequently explores Florida’s incredible recreational opportunities, whether it be participating in biking and kayaking events or taking her dogs, on hikes. So, if you come to Florida and participate in Outdoor Recreation on the weekends you might run into her there.

Katie grew up in Lake Wales, spending many weekends exploring nearby state parks which helped to cultivate her love for Florida’s many outdoor recreation opportunities. Katie attended Florida State University and completed her bachelor’s degree in Classical Civilizations and recently completed a master’s degree in Biodiversity and Conservation at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. Katie’s prior experience includes working as a Forest Ranger for the Florida Forest Service and serving as an AmeriCorps Member with the Florida State Parks. In her free time, Katie loves traveling, hiking and fishing. She also enjoys checking out all of the greenways and trails that are in her region.

Registration required; register now.

Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 3:30 p.m.
Florida Wildlife Corridor Coalition,
Presented by Jason Lauritsen

The Florida Wildlife Corridor project relies on and continues the decades of work by numerous scientists and conservation organizations that determined the need for landscape-scale conservation approaches, and specifically corridors, as a way to address habitat loss and fragmentation across Florida. These decades long efforts brought into play the right combination of people, need, and opportunity, resulting in arguably the most ambitious landscape conservation plan of any U.S. state. Join us to hear about how the Florida Wildlife Corridor Coalition has worked to make this vision for connected conservations areas a reality.

Speaker Biography:
Jason Lauritsen is the Executive Director of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Coalition (Corridor Coalition) where he implements the vision and mission of the organization to champion the connection, protection, and restoration of a statewide network of conservation lands.

He sits on the Office of Greenways and Trails Council, and the Florida Transportation Plan Environmental Partners Working Group.  Prior to joining the FLWC he was the Director of Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.  He has accumulated over 20 years of experience in conservation; from restoration and education to research and policy.  Lauritsen has a Master’s in Science Education from the University of Iowa and a Bachelor’s in Animal Ecology from Iowa State University.

Registration required; register now.

Thursday, Nov. 4 at 6:30 p.m.
Florida Wildflower Foundation,
Presented by Stacey Matrazzo 

Wildflowers are essential to Florida’s ecological health, economy and natural beauty. They are a key component of the state’s biodiversity and play an important role in water quality, carbon sequestration, erosion control and other biological services. Wildflowers also provide food and habitat for birds, butterflies, bees and other wildlife, and support the pollinators that we rely on for many of our agricultural crops. Learn how the Florida Wildflower Foundation is working to preserve roadside wildflowers and to create pollinator pathways within our urban areas. And find out how you can help make a difference.

Speaker Biography:
Stacey Matrazzo is the Executive Director of the Florida Wildflower Foundation. She is an environmental educator with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and a master’s degree in liberal studies from Rollins College, where she is also an adjunct professor. A native Floridian, Stacey is a certified Florida Master Naturalist who spends much of her free time kayaking, hiking, birding and photographing Florida’s amazing natural environments. She has been conducting native plant and edible plant hikes for 10 years and is the co-author of Native Plants for Florida Gardens (with Nancy Bissett; Pineapple Press, 2019).

Registration required; register now.

Friday, Nov. 5 at 10:30 a.m.
Florida Master Naturalist Program,
Presented by Dr. Martin Main

The Florida Master Naturalist Program has spent 20 years sharing information about Florida’s natural world and has awarded roughly 20,000 graduate certificates to enthusiastic participants. But does it matter? It does. There have been many conservation success stories over the years which are both directly and indirectly attributable to people like you who speak out for nature and influence sensible natural resource policies. So, join us for a “feel good Friday” seminar with Dr. Main, who will talk about some notable conservation successes in Florida in preparation for a great FMNP weekend!

Speaker Biography:
Dr. Main is a Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida where he has also served as interim Department Chair, Associate Director of Sea Grant, and Associate Dean of Extension. Dr. Main’s educational background includes an MS in biological oceanography from the Florida Institute of Technology and PhD in Wildlife Science from Oregon State University. His research has primarily focused on behavioral ecology, human-wildlife conflict, and conservation including studies of coyotes, the Florida panther and jaguars in Central and South America to name a few. Dr. Main is best known in Florida for developing and leading the Florida Master Naturalist Program, which includes a suite of natural history and conservation courses taught by a statewide network of talented instructors who ultimately deserve the credit for making the FMNP a success.

Registration required; register now.


Information on the in-person events we are planning for Saturday and Sunday, November 6-7, is coming soon! Check our FMNP Facebook page for more details as these dates approach! You can also receive updates on the FMNP listserv – sign up here!