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NATA opens registration for first-ever 100% virtual Managing Visitors and Volunteers workshop

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Natural Areas Training Academy (NATA) will be offering one of its core workshops, Managing Visitors and Volunteers in Natural Areas, in a 100% virtual format this year! The University of Florida directive to cancel or postpone all extension events that were scheduled to occur in the first 2 weeks of May meant an alternative format to this workshop (scheduled May 13-14) was necessary.

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Participants on the field trip of Gold Head Branch State Park.

Managing Visitors and Volunteers in Natural Areas is typically held every year at Gold Head Branch State Park in Keystone Heights, FL. During the in-person training, participants embark on an instructor-led field trip of the park, engage in several break out group activities, and learn about recreation management, environmental interpretation, and volunteer management from experts in the field. Participants have the option of staying overnight in the park’s rustic cabins, and are provided opportunity for networking at the optional group dinner and campfire in the park afterwards.

While the change to an online-only format may not offer the same experience as visiting the park in person, we are confident that participants will still receive a quality learning experience while being provided the same resources, tools, and instruction. The field trip around Gold Head Branch will be converted into an interactive, real-time, instructor-narrated PowerPoint presentation that will allow participants to virtually “walk through” the park. In addition, via Zoom, we plan to divide participants into groups much like they are during the in-person version, and challenge them to think critically given certain scenarios.

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MVV Instructor Donald Forgione of Tailgate Talks

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UF Professor and MVV Instructor Taylor Stein

We are so grateful that the two instructors for this core workshop, Donald Forgione (Tailgate Talks) and Professor Taylor Stein (UF School of Forest Resources and Conservation), are on board for this last-minute reformatting. We always look forward to lively discussion and thought-provoking conversation when with these two!

If interested in this rare opportunity to take a NATA workshop from the comfort of your home, register here at a reduced rate! Registration ends April 30. For more questions, email the NATA workshop coordinator at nata@ifas.ufl.edu.