After a well received and highly successful initial program last year, the Tallapoosa County Extension office will again offer the Alabama Master Naturalist Course beginning October 5, 2017. The eight session course will be hosted by the Alabama Cooperative Extension and be held on Thursdays either once or twice a month. Classes will be held at Wind Creek State Park in Alexander City from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Alabama Master Naturalist (AMN) program is a statewide program whose goal is to help promote awareness, understanding, and respect for Alabama’s natural world among Alabama’s citizens and visitors. In addition, the AMN program will also develop a statewide corps of well-informed volunteers providing education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities.
To become a fully certified Alabama Master Naturalist typically takes 1 full year, but it may take longer depending on the training regiment and track each participant chooses to follow. A participant starts by completing a 40-basic training course that is offered through Extension.
In addition to the 40-hours of basic training, participants are also required to complete 30 hours of volunteer service during the first year (these hours will be split between a class project and other volunteer opportunities that meet the programs requirements). Once the basic training and the volunteer hours are completed during the first year, each participant will be identified as an Alabama Master Naturalist in Training.
During the next three years, an additional 30 hours of advanced training will also be required to become a fully certified Alabama Master Naturalist. In addition, each AMN will be encouraged to complete a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer service as described in the AMN program per year. AMN’s that complete and report their 40 hours of volunteer service per year will be eligible for special benefits associated with the AMN Program.
Classes topics will include:
- Taxonomy, Botany and Native Plants
- Freshwater Ecosystems and Living Streams
- Invertebrates (including Insects)
- Birds and Mammals
- Amphibians and Reptiles
- Alabama’s Cultural Landscape
- Geology, Soils and Weather
- Forests and Ecosystems
More details can be found in the 2017-18 East Central Alabama Master Naturalist Course Pamphlet. Cost of this course is $30 per day or $200 for all 8 sessions.
Alabama full or part-time residents who are interested in nature, enjoy the outdoors, and have a desire to help with natural resource management and conservation in Alabama are the perfect candidates to become Alabama Master Naturalists. The AMN Program is open to adults who reside or work in Alabama for at least part of the year. It is open to all adults regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status.
If you are interested in participating in the 2017-18 Master Naturalist Program, participants should call the Tallapoosa County Extension office at (256) 825-1050. Space is limited.