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Master Naturalists and Citizen Science: Building a well-trained volunteer corps Michelle M. Haggerty Texas Master Naturalist State Program Coordinator.

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Presentation on theme: "Master Naturalists and Citizen Science: Building a well-trained volunteer corps Michelle M. Haggerty Texas Master Naturalist State Program Coordinator."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Master Naturalists and Citizen Science: Building a well-trained volunteer corps Michelle M. Haggerty Texas Master Naturalist State Program Coordinator Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and ANROSP President

3 What is Citizen Science?  Citizen Science is: Data collection projects that are designed to answer a specific scientific question. oProjects can happen at any scale—local, state, national, continental oProjects generally take place over the long term tracking trends/changes over time –E.g. - How populations change distribution over time and space –E.g. - How emerging disease and pests spread through populations –E.g. - How environmental changes affect species physically  Citizen Science involves two groups The sponsoring organization who: oDevelops the project and data collection protocol oProvides training and support where needed oCollects and analyzes data submitted oPublishes the results in scientific journals and publications The citizen volunteer who: oCollects and submits the data

4 Benefits of Citizen Science  Engages a larger, more diverse audience  Gets people outdoors, involved and concerned about natural resources  Cultivates awareness which improves science literacy  Provides professionals with richer, more abundant data sets  Allows projects/programs to collect data on such a large scale that efforts could never be matched by research teams  Provides a tool for grassroots participation in government and policy making

5 Master Naturalist Programs  Continuing education for adults  Natural resource, natural history, and science focused  Service-oriented  In-depth  Typically run by state agencies  Community-based  Also called Volunteer Naturalists, Conservation Stewards, Coverts, etc.

6 A Master Naturalist Movement with a National Scale  Master Naturalist-type Programs in at least 28 states (AR, AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, MI, MD, MN, MO, MS, NE, NJ, OH, OK, OR, SC, TX, TN, UT, VA, WI, WV)  Some programs are local, others statewide  Many additional programs in development (HI, PA, NM, for example)  Connected through Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach and Service Programs (ANROSP)

7 Master Naturalist Certification Certified Master Naturalist + + = Basic Training Advanced Training Volunteer Service

8 Master Naturalist Training  hours  Classroom components  Field and hands- on sessions  Taught by college faculty, state agency staff, and other local natural resource experts and educators

9 Topics Covered  -ologies Botany Herpetology Ornithology Entomology Ichthyology Mammalogy Dendrology  Ecology and management of systems (e.g. wetlands, forests, estuaries, streams)  Naturalist skills  Basic principles of ecology

10 Core Citizen Science Topics  Nature of science, scientific process  Types of scientific studies  Components of a good citizen science project  Awareness of citizen science opportunities

11 Core Citizen Science Skills  Keeping a field notebook  Proper recording of observations  Using keys to identify organisms  Using field guides  Common methods used to study different types of organisms  Observation  Familiarity with local environment and natural areas

12 Advanced Training  Continuing education hours  ~8-12 required annually  Opportunity to focus interest and gain additional skills  Targeted at programs in need of skilled, trained volunteers

13 Volunteer Service  ~25-50 hours required annually  Typically done within the local community  3 types of projects Education Stewardship Citizen science

14 Volunteering: Citizen Science  Diversity of projects Local to national Scientist to community-driven Monitoring, inventory, and experimental research

15 Master Naturalist Program Outcomes  Thousands of volunteers trained 5300 in Texas over 10 years 900 in Virginia over 3 years 500 in Minnesota over 3 years  Multiple evaluations conducted by individual programs have shown that course training is effective in changing participants’ knowledge and attitudes.  Thousands of service hours provided E.g Million hours of service by Texas Master Naturalist volunteers  Widening community impact In just one year, Texas Master Naturalists reached 175,000 youth, adults, and private landowners, engaged in projects on 90,000 acres of habitat, and developed and maintained 1,000 miles of interpretative trails.

16 Why Partner with Master Naturalists?  Ready pool of trained volunteers  Geographically well distributed  Leaders with initiative  Existing lines of communication and infrastructure  Strong community connections  Ability to build partnerships (e.g. 4H, public lands)  Volunteer retention

17 How to Partner with Master Naturalist Programs… Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach & Service Programs goals:  To provide leadership- information- and resources to support the establishment and expansion of member programs nationally and internationally.  To serve as the primary nexus of information about natural resource outreach and service programs for natural resource professionals- volunteers- and interested citizens.  To increase knowledge of best practices for natural resource outreach and service programs and encourage their adoption.  To build effective program partnerships and collaborations at the local- state- and national levels.

18 Acknowledgements  Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach and Service Programs (ANROSP)  Thank you--Michelle Prysby, Virginia Master Naturalist Program Coordinator  My Contact info: Michelle Haggerty, ANROSP President and Texas Master Naturalist Program Coordinator Texas Parks & Wildlife Department 309 Sidney Baker South Kerrville, TX


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