Florida Master Naturalist
Vol 1, No 1 Ap i00
/ UNIVERSITY OF
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
1 Program Introduction
2 Program Overview, Instructor Information
3 Wild Eye, Interpretive Tracks
4 Updates and Contact Information
Florida Master Naturalist Program
Targets Environmental Education
Classes for the newly formed Florida Master
Naturalist Program (FMNP) will begin this
The FMNP is loosely patterned after the highly
successful Master Gardener Program administered
through the University of Florida IFAS
Cooperative Extension Service. FMNP Instructors
will use established curriculum and teaching
materials that include field trips, videos, slide
presentations, and Instructor and student
workbooks to train persons as Florida Master
The FMNP will be presented in three independent,
40-hour modules that include Freshwater
Wetlands, Upland Habitats, and Coastal Systems.
Students may receive training in one or more areas.
This approach will result in a higher level of
knowledge among trained individuals and
In an effort to meet
the needs of the
S p n wildlife ecologist
t Marty Main pushed
forward with the
program. A July 1999
educators from parks, private conservation
groups, public agencies and local businesses.
Now, the first FMNP module, Freshwater
Wetlands, is near completion.
(See "FMNP, "page 2)
("FMNP, "from P
Working with Dr.
Main for the past
two years and
aiding in curriculum
development is his
Allen. Ginger is the
main contact for general FMNP information.
Call for Florida Master Naturalist
To be of value throughout the state, the FMNP
will be offered by local, trained instructors.
FMNP Instructors are being recruited to aid in
the delivery of the program to audiences
throughout the state of Florida.
Instructors with environmental education
experience from State Parks, Conservation
Agencies, Nature Centers, and University of
Florida County Extension offices are
The first Instructor Orientation sessions have
been scheduled in South Florida for the
Freshwater Wetlands Module:
May 9-10-Southwest Florida-SW Florida
Research and Education Center, Immokalee;
May 24-25-Southeast Florida-Gumbo Limbo
Nature Center, Boca Raton.
Additional Instructor Orientation sessions will be
offered in North-Central Florida this fall and in
the Panhandle this winter.
Instructors will have flexibility in scheduling, the
freedom to choose field trip locations, and the
ability to tailor the program to focus upon the
special environmental features and issues in their
area. Instructors will receive financial assistance
for running the program and have the added Pa
benefit of training their own volunteers, Gin
employees, and local community. A
FMNP Strives for Consistent,
The primary goals of the Florida Master
Naturalist Program are to:
> Develop an environmental education
program that provides a reliable and
consistent level of competency for persons
to serve as interpretive naturalists.
> Develop an environmental educational
program that can be successfully
administered by environmental education
professionals including state and federal
agencies, nature centers, University of
Florida IFAS County Extension Agents,
and other appropriate sources.
, Provide a pool of trained interpretive
naturalists to assist environmental
> Support sustainable ecotourism through
educational opportunities to providers and
by producing trained interpretive
naturalists that may serve the industry.
> Increase public understanding and
appreciation of Florida's natural and
historical resources among Florida
residents and visitors.
Wild Eye Watch on: Pseudemysfloridana peninsularis
Peninsula Cooter, Yellow Necks Fcs
Back: Brown/yellow, circles on sides, 15" "
Other Characteristics: Yellow stripes on head
Reproduction: 4-22 eggs, nest cavities .
Distribution: Subspecies found only in Florida
Habitat: Ponds, lakes, canals, sluggish rivers
Diet: Aquatic vegetation, juveniles; insects
Fun Facts: Bask in groups, often with Florida
Red-bellied; male uses long claws in courtship, t r
strokes female head ,
Photo by Pam Gross, Univ. of Florida
In Florida, there are 3 cooters: the Peninsula Cooter (found throughout state), Suwanee Cooter (found in
river basins from Gulf to Hillsborough county), and the Florida Cooter (found in north Florida). Neck, shell,
and leg markings aid in the identification of these cooters. The Florida Cooter has straighter yellow stripes
on its head; the Peninsula Cooter has a hairpin pattern; and the Suwanee Cooter has a dark head with faint
Cooters are a member of the Pond, Marsh, and Box turtle family. These hard-shelled turtles have flattened,
partially webbed feet, and most species are semi-aquatic. The group is omnivorous, but some juveniles begin
as carnivores and switch to a herbaceous diet as adults.
Other aquatic turtles resembling the Cooter include the Florida Red-bellied Turtle, Chicken Turtle, and
Yellow-bellied pond slider. Differences in distribution and head and leg markings are the best ways to
identify these species. More information is available in the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North
American Reptiles andAmphibians and the Handbook of Reptiles and Amphibians ofFlorida, Part Two.
Interpretive Tracks r
This section will feature guest articles from FMNP
Instructors and Florida Master Naturalists who have
stories, materials, methods, or events they wish to
share with other program participants.
Pictures of Instructors and their groups presenting
interpretive programs or showcasing interpretive
designs (signs, brochures, special events, etc.) will
be welcome. To submit interpretive or conservation
articles, contact FMNP at
Interpretation of nature is the core of the FMNP.
There is a workbook chapter and slide presentation
devoted to the topic, and the theme is interwoven
throughout. Additional resource information is
provided in the student workbook and on the FMNP
web site (www.masternaturalist.org). Click on the
"Activities" link for field and classroom
(Nelumbo lutea) *
*American lotus seedpods are sold for
ornamental plant arrangements.
Aquatic plant line drawing by Laura Line
copyright property of the University of Florida
Center for Aquatic Plants set available for
purchase at: http://aquatl.ifas.ufl.edu.
Fl /' Newsletter
; ~kr- 5
Who should take the Florida Master
> Environmental education professionals, employees,
> Ecotour operators and their employees.
> General Public (adults) and Florida Teachers who
wish to learn more about Florida's natural history.
When can I participate in the program?
Training for the FMNP Freshwater Wetlands module
will be initiated in South Florida during summer 2001
and will eventually be available throughout the state.
Training in Coastal Systems and Upland Habitats is
anticipated to be available during 2002.
Class sites, schedules, and registration
information will be posted on the web site.
Editor: Dr. Martin Main
Managing Editor: Ginger Allen
Contributing Editor: Julie Carson
Web Coordinator: Buddy Walker
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r Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission, Advisory Council on
Environmental Education (ACEE)
> Southwest Florida Council on Environment
Education, Inc. (SWFCEE)
Fl i' Newsletter
Florida Master Naturalist Program
Director: Dr. Martin Main, Assistant Professor and
Southwest Florida Research & Education Center
2686 State Road 29 North
Immokalee, FL 34142-9515
Phone: 941/658-3400; Fax: 941/658-3469