It's Great to be a Florida Master Naturalist!

Florida is truly a unique and beautiful place with an incredible diversity of nature! This week, our educators at Waterventures had the wonderful opportunity to learn and grow in the Florida Master Naturalist program. All of our educators and staff become certified Florida Master Naturalists in Freshwater so that we can improve our knowledge and promote awareness, understanding, and respect of Florida’s natural environment to Florida’s residents and visitors.

So what exactly is the Florida Master Naturalist Program (FMNP)? It is an adult educational program that was developed by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The program is provided by many UF Extension offices as well as other participating organizations throughout Florida. FMNP helps people learn more about Florida’s environment for use in educational programs as volunteers, educators, ecotourism guides, and others.

There are three core courses to the FMNP: Uplands, Wetlands, and Coastal. There are also Special Topics Courses including: Conservation Science, Environmental Interpretation, Habitat Evaluation, Wildlife Monitoring, and Coastal Restoration.

This week we took the Freshwater course which covered a wealth of knowledge about Florida’s freshwater ecology, ecosystems, and wildlife. We visited some amazing sites that were fundamental in learning about Florida’s natural freshwater systems. Take a look and follow our journey through the Florida Master Naturalist Program below!

 

Our field trip to Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa. We walked the boardwalks that offer amazing views of Hillsborough River and saw some cool wildlife!

Limpkin (left) and American Aligator (right) at Lettuce Lake

At Sawgrass Lake Park, our team did an interpretive talk on freshwater fish, family feud style!

Our final project was on freshwater conservation, where we played another fun and interactive game to better engage our audience. 

Graduation day!

Florida truly is a naturalist’s paradise! If you are interesting in taking one of these courses or learning more about FMNP, please visit: http://www.masternaturalist.ifas.ufl.edu/