Attention nature lovers.

Looking for a way to blend your love of the outdoors, your commitment to lifelong learning and your desire to be involved in your community? There is a unique opportunity coming up this fall that just might fit the bill.

Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve in Fairfield, Adams County, is hosting a Pennsylvania Master Naturalist volunteer training course from Aug. 12 through Oct. 28.

This training course is an opportunity to learn more about your natural surroundings, take a closer look at the resources of the region, and align with local agencies that could benefit from your interests and service.

What is the Master Naturalist Program?

The Pennsylvania Master Naturalist program is a statewide corps of volunteers providing education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities.

Trained Master Naturalist volunteers initiate and support a wide variety of activities and service projects that include, but are certainly not limited to, habitat restoration and native plantings, nature walks and interpretative displays, publications on natural history, water quality monitoring and supporting the natural resource conservation efforts of partnering organizations.

Specific information on the value of their services can be found on their website: https://pamasternaturalist.org.

On a personal level, involvement in the program provides opportunities to be in nature alongside experts and other like-minded volunteers with the shared purpose of resource conservation.

Interested applicants: Once accepted into the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist Program, participants begin by attending the initial intensive training. This natural history course includes at least 50 hours of classroom (weekday evenings) and field sessions (Saturdays). Following the initial training, trainees engage in 30 hours of service and eight hours of continuing education in the first year to become a Certified Master Naturalist volunteer. To maintain their status as Master Naturalist volunteer, participants must complete 20 hours of volunteer service and 12 hours of continuing education annually.

Adults who are curious about nature, enjoy the outdoors and want to be a part of natural resource management and conservation in Pennsylvania are perfect candidates to become Pennsylvania Master Naturalist volunteers.

A look at the training

The training being offered at Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve will include 50 hours of natural science education and will focus on the South Mountain ecoregion of Adams County. The classes and field trips will be provided by subject matter experts with direct knowledge of that region and will include:

Thirty hours of classroom study:

● Ecoregions of PA

● PA Geology, Soils, Weather and Climate

● Introduction to Ecological Concepts- Communities and Biological Diversity; Biological Classification and Naming

● Water in the Landscape- Watersheds and Wetland Communities

● Introduction to Upland Communities

● Introductions to Ornithology, Herpetology, Mammalogy and Entomology

● Interpretation and Field Instruction; Teaching to Diverse Audiences

● Ecological Restoration and Stewardship; Volunteer Opportunities

● Suburban and Urban Ecology and Citizen Science

Four five-hour field trips

● Geology: Gettysburg Battlefield

● Aquatic and Upland Communities: Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve

● Field Ornithology, Mammalogy, Entomology and Herpetology: Kings Gap Environmental Education Center

● Restoration & Conservation Projects: LeTort Spring Garden Preserve, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

Apply online at: https://pamasternaturalist.org. Application deadline is June 5, and an early application discount is granted to all applications received by May 15.

For more information, contact: Ellyn Nolt, Southeast Region Program Coordinator, at: (717) 368-4899, or: enolt@pamasternaturalist.org.

 

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