Thursday, April 21, 2016

Texas Master Naturalist Program




Back in January I started taking the Texas Master Naturalist course, and on April 19th I completed it.  This is something I have always wanted to pursue, and now, while working at Quinta Mazatlan, it seemed the perfect time to take these classes and get certified.

The Texas Master Naturalist Program's mission is as follows:

The Mission: 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 for the State of Texas.

At the state level, the Texas Master Naturalist program is sponsored jointly by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD)

I had to complete forty hours of combined field and classroom instruction though the South Texas Border Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists, which was done at Bentsen Rio Grande State Park.  I also had to do forty hours of volunteer work and have eight hours of advanced training.

We met once a week for classes with two different instructors every week speaking on subjects germane to our becoming Texas Master Naturalists.

The classes were on Land Stewardship, Archaeology, Historical Naturalists of Texas, Ecological Regions of Texas, Ecological Concepts, Geology, Weather, Plants, Ornithology, Entomology, Ichthyology, Herpetology, Mammalogy, Land Management, Laws, Regulations and Ethics.

Field trips included making fish prints at the The Coastal Studies Laboratory on South Padre Island, the La Puerta Tract, Sabal Palm and Estero Llano Grande State Park.

The fish prints were interesting.  They're a traditional Japanese art form called Gyotaku, from the 1800s, that allowed fishermen to record their catches.
You take a dead fish, paint it, and then place rice paper over it and rub until the image is transferred to the paper.

My first attempt I had bird brain, as mine looked more like a Northern Cardinal than a fish.

My second attempt was a little better.

Our next field trip was to the La Puerta Brush Tract in Starr County.
La Puerta is a 4,000 acre tract that is three miles east of Rio Grande City, Texas on Hwy. 83
There are a couple of native plants that grow here that grow nowhere else in the United States.

I got some pictures of a couple of the native plants that aren't endangered.



Sabal Palm is always a neat place to visit.  We don't go often because it's down in Brownsville.

We were thrilled to see a Great Horned Owl 

These field trips were to show us the native flora and fauna and landscape of where we live in the Rio Grande Valley.

Estero Llano Grande State Park is one of my favorite places to visit in the Valley.

Black Necked Stilt

Queen


We had our graduation ceremony at Estero Llano Grande State Park.
I baked a Key Lime Pound Cake for the dinner.


I received a certificate and a Dragonfly Pin for completing all the requirements.

Our graduating class: