by Steve Wilson
The state-wide Annual Meeting for Texas Master Naturalists will be held from Wednesday, October 14- Saturday, October 17 this year. Due to the constraints of the Coronavirus Pandemic the event this year will be exclusively online. No travel required! No hotel costs! Sit in the comfort of your own armchair with your beverage of choice! Pay a small registration fee of $55 for the entire meeting!
The week will begin with a day of Virtual Field Visits on Tuesday, October 13. These sessions will tour project sites, nature centers and state parks curated by the local Houston area chapters. These sessions will be a great introduction to the ecology of a part of Texas with which many of us in North Texas are less familiar.
On Wednesday, October 14, the Annual Meeting will move into full swing. As always, the Annual Meeting will provide a plethora of opportunities for TMN volunteers to participate in educational seminars and earn AT hours. No matter what interests you have in nature and nature interpretation, the Annual Meeting is the place to hear top-notch experts and speakers on a range of topics. New to iNaturalist? Three sessions can take you from beginner to expert! Are you interested in plant conservation? Monarch Waystations? Connecting Children to nature? Toads and frogs? How to write grants? Bats? The use of drones in nature study? How to mitigate bird/building collisions? Permian period fossils? Owls? Photography skills? Lichens? These are just a few of the wide variety of topics that will be covered in the more than 75 sessions from which you can choose. Hear terrific speakers such as our “own” Laura Kimberly (insects and wildflowers!) and Sam Kieschnick (moths!). All for only the $55 registration fee!
The meeting will conclude with the Annual Awards Ceremony on Saturday afternoon. This ceremony will include not only Milestone Achievement awards but also the announcement of winners of the Annual Meeting Contests, the Advisor of the Year, and the annual Project Fair.
Speaking of contests, it is not too late to enter! Contests this year include a Photo, Art, and Media Contest, a Video contest, and the Project Fair. The entry deadline for the Photo, Art and Media Contest is September 1, for the Video Contest is September 30, and for the Project Fair is October 1. There is also a rumor of a virtual 5K!
Registration for the Annual Meeting is now open! To see the list of all sessions offered, to see the rules for each of the contests, and to register, visit the site. The Chapter has a limited number of scholarships available for those who need assistance with the meeting registration fee.
See you online in October!