The Florida Everglades, at roughly 1.5 million acres, is recognized as one of the greatest wetlands on Earth. But the Everglades aren’t the only important wetland or the only fascinating environment that occurs in Florida. The Florida Master Naturalist Program (www.MasterNaturalist.org) provides opportunities to learn all about Florida’s incredible natural world, the diverse array of native plants and animals that live here, and the conservation issues they face.
We are excited to announce that the FMNP has just released (August 2023) a revised and updated curriculum for its Freshwater Systems course. The revised course explores Florida’s different types of freshwater environments including herbaceous and forested wetlands, springs, rivers, and lakes, as well as representative examples of the plants and animals that live in these environments. The program also addresses society’s role in wetlands, develops naturalist interpretation skills, and discusses environmental ethics. As one of the three core FMNP courses, total course time provides 40 contact hours of instruction and includes both classroom learning and a minimum of three field trips associated with course objectives.
If this sounds intriguing you should look into the 11 different FMNP courses from which to choose. In addition to Freshwater Systems, our other core courses include Coastal Systems and Upland Systems. We also have a suite of shorter (24 contact hour), more specialized courses on various topics in our Land Steward and Restoration series. Descriptions of all FMNP courses are available on the FMNP website and detailed agendas for all FMNP courses are available on the FMNP course registration website. The FMNP website also provides an interactive map that will enable you to locate FMNP certified instructor teams in your area
Not familiar with the FMNP? The FMNP is an UF/IFAS environmental/conservation education program for adults that is available to public audiences. The FMNP is an outreach program for anyone and everyone wanting to learn more about Florida’s natural world and is appropriate for both lay and professional audiences. FMNP courses are offered all over the state on a continuous scheduling basis and courses are offered in online, in-person, and hybrid (online lectures/in-person field trip) formats, the details of which are included on the FMNP registration site.
It’s important to recognize that the FMNP is more than an educational experience, it’s an opportunity to learn about, discuss, and investigate Florida environments with other, like-minded adults. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity to identify your own interests and passions for nature and, ideally, to share those interests and passions with others.
Sound interesting? With more than 20 years of FMNP courses having been offered and approximately 20,000 FMNP graduate certificates issued, our history of success speaks to the quality of the FMNP experience. And, by becoming an FMNP graduate, you will be joining people from all over Florida who are striving to learn more, share more, and do more to promote knowledge and interest in Florida’s natural world. In the words of one FMNP graduate:
“Best thing I have ever done. I have learned so much, met so many wonderful people, and found meaningful ways to get involved.”
Join us — we are confident you will be glad you did!
Dr. Martin Main, FMNP Founder and Program Leader
Ms. Caitlin Robison, FMNP Program Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org)