The mission of the Florida Master Naturalist Program (FMNP) is to promote awareness, understanding, and respect of Florida’s natural world among Florida’s citizens and visitors. We’re highlighting graduates of the Florida Master Naturalist Program (FMNP) as part of a series. This blog features my interview with Florida Master Naturalists Holly and Fritz Hanselman, FMN Program graduates. Learn more about FMNP, check out the program website HERE.
Ken: Hi Holly and Fritz. Thank you for supporting FMNP and doing this interview. What first drew you to the Florida Master Naturalist Program?
Holly & Fritz: We were hiking with our kayak group shortly after moving to Florida. We kept asking questions about what we were seeing and a Master Naturalist who was on the hike told us that we should take this program program. We registered as soon as we got back to the car. Once we took the first class we opted to pursue more because of the thoroughness of the program.
Ken: How do you use the knowledge you gained?
Holly & Fritz: We took the classes for our own edification but we used our knowledge for landscaping and shoreline restoration for our condo association which includes an orchard, a preserve, and waterfront property. We also use the knowledge to entertain and educate our friends.
Ken: You graduated from the “Core” Florida Master Naturalist courses in 2017. When and where did you take your FL Master Naturalist courses? Which courses did you take?
Coastal Systems, 2017 — St. Lucie County — Central East Region
Freshwater Systems, 2017 — Brevard County — Central East Region
Upland Systems, 2017 — St. Lucie County — Central East Region
Conservation Science, 2019 — St. Lucie County — Central East Region.
Coastal Shoreline Restoration (2021) — St. Lucie County — Central East Region
Environmental Interpretation (2021)–Palm Beach County — South East Region
Ken: How did participation in the Florida Master Naturalist Program help you?
Holly and Fritz: It made us very aware of the outside world around us. It has helped our condo association with invasives, citrus greening, erosion control of our ponds and waterfront, palm and hardwood management on our 400+ trees, planting, fertilizing, and animal protection.
Ken: Do you feel connected to a larger community of Florida Master Naturalists and UF?
Holly and Fritz: Yes, especially the UF/IFAS staff past and present.
Ken: Can you describe one or two of the most memorable things you’ve done through the Florida Master Naturalist Program?
Holly and Fritz: The field trips were the best the most memorable being Adams Ranch in Archbold Biological Station. We were also able to be a part of the first release outside the lab of the Brazilian Pepper thrips.
Ken: Please tell our readers about your favorite final project assignment.
Holly and Fritz: For the Environmental Interpretation class we did a zoom walk walking tour of our condo property showing how we had solved some of the environmental problems on our land. But we really like them all because they were all different and educational.
Ken: What is your favorite Florida natural area? Why is it your favorite place?
Holly and Fritz: We have been to so very many from the Keys to the beaches of the Panhandle. If we are limited to two places so I would say paddling the Loxahatchee and biking some of the trails in Central Florida. We also love any seashore because of our love of sailing and kayaking.
Ken: Why has the Florida Master Naturalist program been important to you?
Holly and Fritz: It has informed our life in the natural world of Florida and beyond due to our increased knowledge of how to find info and use it.
Ken: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Holly and Fritz: Keep expanding the program. It is a great way to educate the public and those who can go on to educate others.
UF/IFAS Extension programs are open to all persons without regard to race, color, sex, age, disability, religion, or national origin.
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With offices in each of Florida’s 67 counties, UF/IFAS Extension works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents.
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