New Class Update

by Nancy Wilson

“Was working on your project any fun?” I asked timidly, thinking that a Class Project amid a pandemic might not be. “It was super-duper fun!” beamed Chrissy Cortez-Mathis. This is the resilient attitude of our wonderful 2020 class!

Our new Naturalists are finding all kinds of ways to earn hours and engage with one another and the Chapter despite this year’s limitations.

We have 12 students who have certified, 3 who have double certified and 3 or 4 who will most likely certify in time for the September chapter meeting. Way to go!

Thanks to Kate Whidden, who restored the Covid-canceled Field Trips, students enjoyed learning at Connemara and at John Bunker Sands. Carol Garrison did an awesome job teaching the wetlands curriculum. Participants at all events wore masks and maintained social distance.  Groups were limited to 10 including the instructors. Forest Field Trips are being planned for fall’s cooler weather.  

In an effort to make more AT and VH available to students, we have created three opportunities expressly for the 2020 class. Students have stepped up to take leadership roles for each.

Steven Ploch is working on a seed bomb AT event tentatively scheduled for November. He is working with folks at The Great Seed Bomb. Steven’s tremendous enthusiasm for all things Master Naturalist is contagious!

Katie Spurgin has stepped up to help organize a Monarch tagging AT event tentatively scheduled for October 17. As an experienced butterfly citizen scientist, Ellen Guiling has offered to teach about monarchs and how to do tagging.

Judy Meagher led a special workday at Texas Discovery Garden on August 20. Ten students earned VH by lending a hand to the Butterfly and Hummingbird gardens. They were rewarded with an exclusive tour of the Butterfly House. Some of the 2020 Class have already become regular volunteers for our wonderful TDG partner.

The New Class Committee has decided the 2021 class will run from March 2 – May 25. All classes will be online. We will provide face-to-face encounters among students by setting up multiple small group events. We will limit the 2021 class to a smaller number of students to facilitate small group meetings and small group field trips. We have a great lineup of instructors, many of our steady returning favorites and a few new faces. Applications will open October 1 as usual.  Please recruit your friends!

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