by Scott Hudson, class of 2018
The year is young and we’re off to a great start for NTMN in 2022. With chilly, drier weather our trout lilies are coming along a little slower than usual, as seen in these late-February photos. Not so for our busy chapter! Just a few highlights:
Chapter meetings/events – A focus on getting outside kicked off the year, with full day of hikes at John Wilt’s farm and a hiking panel discussion. Our February meeting honored our newly certified Master Naturalists, as well as all who recertified and who achieved volunteer service milestones. We also had updates on state programs and the chapter. And in March, we enjoyed both a presentation and a field trip on TEAMgo (Texas Ecosystem Analytical Mapper), a resource mapping tool used by TPWD.
Speaking of Programs, the chapter has invested in additional equipment to bring you a better online experience. While we’re hopeful that face-to-face meetings will become more our norm, we recognize that an option to meet online serves many members’ needs and extends our reach. So, we’re continuing our direction with hybrid meetings.
The New Class of 2022 is well underway, with their first meetings in-person and now moved online for the next several classes. They’ve had an early start both on field trips and class projects. Please keep an eye out for our new members and make them feel welcome!
Affinity Groups – part of our answer for building connections among members – will see renewed attention, starting this spring. Stay tuned as more opportunities to be involved with your fellow master naturalists become available.
Among the priorities you identified in the 2021 Membership Survey, youth education was very high on the list. Based on that need, the board increased funding in the 2022 budget to better support youth outreach and education. We’re hopeful that, as access continues to open up, we will be able to engage more with area youth.
Enhancing our chapter’s awareness and effectiveness in diversity, equity, and inclusion is another priority for 2022. Both Texas Parks and Wildlife and AgriLife are leading the way here. Building the perspective of our sponsors into NTMN’s work will continue as training opportunities and projects in underserved areas are offered.
“The best we can be is waiting for us in nature” – Virginia Rose, Founder of Birdability
Looking forward to seeing you outside this year.