Midlands Master Naturalist
The Midlands Master Naturalist course is part of a statewide Master Naturalist Program coordinated by Clemson University. The mission of the program is to create a corps of citizen volunteers well-trained in the fundamentals of natural history, nature interpretation, and the interface of humans and nature in order to empower them to contribute their time and talents to responsible, science-based environmental stewardship.
The Midlands course is hosted by the SCWF and taught by Dr. Austin Jenkins, who draws upon other experts to address certain topics. Jenkins is a naturalist who teaches biology at USC Sumter, and in partnership with others, he has graduated six classes of Master Naturalists in the past.
Students learn identification skills, ecological concepts, and natural history of the plants, animals, and ecosystems encountered. Students will see how this knowledge can be applied to manage for wildlife and to ensure that human impacts on our Earth are sustainable. Through the established connections, participants will develop the skills necessary to become lifelong students of nature and environmental volunteers in their community.
Participants completing the course and 30 hours of approved volunteer service will receive Master Naturalist certification and will be eligible to join a local chapter and participate in advanced training courses.
When: 12 classes are held during each session - the next class will be held in Spring 2014, beginning on March 21st and running every Friday until June 6th. Classes generally meet from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm - ending times may vary depending on the field trip, but will be no later than 3:00 pm.
Where: Classes will be held at parks and natural areas throughout the Midlands, and students will meet at the various locations. Most sites are within one hour of Columbia. Students are responsible for travel to and from field sites, although carpooling is encouraged.
Who: The course is open to anyone. No pre-requisites or prior knowledge required. Participants come from all walks of life. Students will start with the basics. Participants should be in good physical shape - many classes involve lengthy hikes with easy to moderate difficulty. We have considerable demand for this class - please ensure that you can attend the majority of classes before registering.
Preparation: Students will need to pack a lunch and be prepared for a day in the field. Because you are training to be naturalists, you will traverse the wild country, and excursions will at times involve easy to moderate hikes, mosquitoes, heat, briars, and encounters with a few perilous creatures. Please dress for the weather and bring water, sunscreen & insect repellant.
Cost: $600 per person, includes:
- National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Insects and Spiders & Related Species of North America, by Arthur V. Evans
- Native Trees of the Southeast, by Kirkman, et al.
- A Guide to Wildflowers of South Carolina, by R. D. Porcher
- Reptiles & Amphibians of Eastern/Central North America (Peterson), by Conant & Collins
- Magnifying glass and lanyard
- Admission to all field locations
For more information on the next class, and to be placed on a notification list:
Contact: Sara Green
For information on class content, topics, expectations, etc:
Contact: Austin Jenkins
Please CLICK HERE to view some photos from the 2013 Midlands Master Naturalist Class.