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Janet Laminack: Master Naturalist program recruiting for training class

The Texas Master Naturalists program was created to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities.

Many communities and organizations rely on such citizen volunteers for implementing youth education programs, for operating parks, nature centers and natural areas, and for providing leadership in local natural resource conservation efforts. In fact, a short supply of dedicated and well-informed volunteers is often cited as a limiting factor for community-based conservation efforts.

The local chapter here, which serves Denton, Cooke and Wise counties, is the Elm Fork Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists. They are currently recruiting for their newest training class, which begins in September.

This is a 60-hour training course on the region’s natural features and the impact that people have on nature. The course includes presentations by biologists, geologists, naturalists and others from local, state and federal agencies and universities.

To become a certified Master Naturalist, you must complete a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer service and eight hours of advanced training during the first 12 months following the completion of the course (to be completed before your course’s graduation anniversary date). The course costs $150 and applications are due Aug. 16.

To find out more information, attend the 2013 Master Naturalist Trainee Class Roundup from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 15 at the Denton County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office at the Joseph A. Carroll Building, 401 W. Hickory St. The roundup is an opportunity to talk to current Master Naturalists and ask questions. Come for refreshments, learn more about this volunteer program and view exhibits displaying many of the Elm Fork Chapter’s ongoing community projects. The application, course curriculum and more information can be found at or by calling 940-349-2883.

Another upcoming educational opportunity is “Science With Attitude” or SWAt, a free four-day workshop geared toward third-grade teachers to learn how to incorporate nature and horticulture into their curriculum. Special emphasis is placed on the Junior Master Gardener curriculum, which is STAAR correlated.

The class will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Aug. 6-9 at Stephens Elementary School in Shady Shores and is open to all grade-level teachers. Advance registration is required.

For more information or to register, contact Susan Kilpatrick at or call 940-241-3097. Participants might want to purchase the following training materials: Junior Master Gardener Leader Guide and Student Handbook, Literature in the Garden, Wildlife Gardener and Sharing Nature With Children II. To learn more about the Junior Master Gardener program and materials, visit

JANET LAMINACK is the horticulture county extension agent with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. She can be reached at 940-349-2883. Her e-mail address is .