Can you tell the difference between the skulls of a possum and a raccoon? Can you identify animal tracks? Do you know how to distinguish one mollusk shell from another? Do you know the names and habits of South Florida's wading birds? Do you know why sulfur is good for people, and what lives in a mud flat? Do you know what mangroves, oysters, and tunicates do for you? If any of these topics sounds appealing, you may be a candidate for the Florida Master Naturalist Program's (FMNP) Coastal Systems course being offered at the Randell Research Center's Calusa Heritage Trail beginning Friday, April 12, 2013.
This adult education mini course, designed by the University of Florida IFAS/Extension, provides instruction on the general ecology, habitats, vegetation types, wildlife, and conservation issues of coastal Florida, specifically coastal upland, estuarine, and nearshore marine environments. It also teaches naturalist interpretive skills, environmental ethics, and the role of people in shaping our past and determining our future. Classroom learning with hands on activities is enhanced by field trips to the Pine Island Sound estuary, a salt marsh, a local commercial fishing operation, and the seashore at Ft. Myers Beach. Classes will meet on April 12, 17, 19, 24, 26, May 1 and 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The cost for the course is $225, which includes all field trips, over 40 contact hours of instruction, a comprehensive student reference workbook, and-upon completion-registration in the FMNP database as a Coastal Naturalist. A certificate of achievement, embroidered FMNP patch, and FMNP coastal lapel pin are also be provided at completion. The only requirements of students are enthusiasm, attendance, and completion of group final projects. To register visit the website at: www.masternaturalist.ifas.ufl.edu/.
For more information visit the website or call instructor Cindy Bear at 239-283-6168.