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The Florida Master Naturalist Program: Innovations in Conservation Education Dr. Martin Main Florida Master Naturalist Program Leader.

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Presentation on theme: "The Florida Master Naturalist Program: Innovations in Conservation Education Dr. Martin Main Florida Master Naturalist Program Leader."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Florida Master Naturalist Program: Innovations in Conservation Education Dr. Martin Main Florida Master Naturalist Program Leader

2 Why is conservation education important? Effective conservation will not be achieved without public insistence

3 Jeremy Lott: Voters don’t care about the environment (The Examiner) “… the environment is not personally important to voters in their policy priorities and vote decisions.” Cites surveys by: –Pew Research Center –Peter D. Hart Research Associates

4 National Science Board, Science & Engineering Indicators “Although the environment does not register as a serious current problem, the public considers it one of the most important problems the country will face in 25 years.”

5 “In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught." -Baba Dioum

6 Florida Master Naturalist Program Mission......to increase awareness, understanding, and respect of Florida's natural world among Florida's citizens and visitors promote a stronger conservation ethic --

7 ...teaching FMNP students about Florida's environment and preparing them to teach others using science-based information and interpretive techniques… FMNP Instructors assist the mission by… --- a train-the-trainer program ---

8 ...sharing knowledge and enthusiasm with others to help people understand and respect Florida's natural world as a community to which we all belong… FMNP Graduates assist the mission by creating a grassroots coalition ---

9 FMNP curriculum development 3 ecosystem modules taught separately - - Freshwater Wetlands - Coastal Systems - Upland Habitats - an ecological/conservation focus contact hrs/course -

10 FMNP curriculum content –Ecological information –Human dimensions –Interpretation skills –Synthesis of information and practical experience - 4 major components to each ecosystem module preparing our grassroots coalition ---

11 FMNP teaching/learning components - 40 hour program - Classroom Learning Practical Speaking Final Projects Field Trips

12 –Videos (4) FMNP educational materials – Slide presentations (12) – Workbooks - Student - Instructor - a statewide program requires consistency – - educational materials provided free to Instructors -

13 FMNP participating counties ~150 Instructors 70 Organizations 47 Counties

14 FMNP courses and graduates >3,500 FMNP Graduates 4 hurricanes Fee-based and self-sustaining (autonomy and life beyond the grant)

15 Logistics – FMNP website Logistics – FMNP website –www.MasterNaturalist.org– FMNP website information includes: program description instructor applications courses and registration ($225/course) training locations job/volunteer opportunities links and other information contact information

16 FMNP accountability measures - 3 tiered approach - 1.Pre- and post-testing measures short term knowledge gain 2.Course evaluations measure satisfaction, demographics, and obtain student input 3.Annual surveys measure impacts, behavior changes, and success stories

17 – increased personal knowledge (97%) “increased effectiveness in delivering other programs” – found personally rewarding (100%) – 56% team-taught with another organization – obtained new volunteers (86%) – employees participated in FMNP training (77%) – increased attendance at other programs (97%) – use of FMNP Final Projects in programs (87%) – 97% intend to provide FMNP training again FMNP Instructor Network --Benefits to Instructors and Organizations % of course tuition paid to instructor org. -

18 – new jobs (6%) – new volunteer positions (8%) – pay raises/promotions (4%) – increased responsibility (32%) – continuing education credit (3%) – increased volunteer hrs (45%) – share info with others (99%) – add new info/programs to job/volunteer (62%) Highlights - FMNP Graduate Surveys

19 FMNP Volunteer Contributions ~ 9-12% reporting/year 2002: ~12,535 hrs 2003: ~12,323 hrs 2004: ~14,826 hrs 2005: ~13,341 hrs 2006: ~18,228 hrs 2007: ~19,559 hrs - valued at > $1.5 million USD -

20 FMNP Graduate survey Behavior changes by FMNP Graduates: – motivated to continue learning (94%) – participated in additional programs (55%) – introduce others to outdoor recreation (87%) – join “Friends of” volunteer groups (36%) – more closely evaluate environmental issues/political candidates (81%) – increased attention to personal actions (78%)

21 FMNP Impacts and Success Stories “The FMNP has helped me in the decision- making process when addressing environmental issues.” (County Commissioner) “I was Elementary Environmental Educator of the Year for Broward County I use almost the entire FMNP in my classes.” “I received a Senate appointment to the State Greenways and Trails Council and the FMNP helped with the selection process.”

22 “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has” -- Margaret Mead ( ; American cultural anthropologist)

23 Acknowledgements University of Florida, IFAS –Office of Conferences and Institutes –UF/IFAS Communication Services FWC (Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission) Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute Florida Sea Grant SWFCEE (Southwest Florida Council for Environment Education, Inc.) U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (Renewable Resources Extension Act)

24 FMNP videos provide a statewide overview of major habitats Freshwater Wetlands Module Coastal Systems Module Upland Habitats Module 1.Marshes 2.Swamps 3.Rivers, Lakes, and Springs 4.Human issues 1.Nearshore marine habitats 2.Estuaries 3.Coastal uplands 4.Human issues 1.Pinelands 2.Scrub, prairie, and rangelands 3.Hardwood forests 4.Human issues - a statewide perspective -

25 Video Overview: Florida’s Pine Habitats Pine habitats are characterized by the dominant presence of pines, although other types of trees may also be present. This video travels from the Panhandle to extreme south Florida, and demonstrates how pine habitats change in response to changes in latitude (climate), soils, and the availability of water. Fire is an important natural disturbance process in pine habitats and different species of pines have different adaptations to fire. Whereas natural disturbance is necessary to maintain healthy pine habitats, unnatural disturbances such as soil disturbance, fire suppression, and invasive exotic plants can degrade or destroy these habitats. Discussion Questions: What are the 7 species of pines native to Florida? 7 native pines: longleaf, slash, sand, pond, shortleaf, loblolly, spruce. Which species are the most widespread? Longleaf and slash pine are Florida’s most common species and create the largest pine habitats. Sand pine and pond pine may dominate very dry and wet areas, respectively. Shortleaf, spruce, and loblolly are typically minor components of natural areas. Loblolly and spruce are often minor components of hardwood forests in north Florida. What are the different types of longleaf pine habitats? Sandhill, clayhill, and flatwoods. We also discussed longleaf-turkey oak habitats, which is really a sandhill habitat typical of north-central Florida. What different types of pine flatwoods are there? Longleaf, typical (or northern) slash pine, south Florida slash pine, and pond pine. What is the most important natural disturbance factor in pineland habitats? Fire How do adaptations to fire differ between longleaf and sand pine? Longleaf is highly resistant to fire during seedling and adult stages. Fire kills sand pine, but cones open, releases seeds, and sand pine grows quickly (opportunistic strategy). What is the only woodpecker that makes cavities in living pine trees? The endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.

26 FMNP Presentations provide additional detail Freshwater Wetlands Module Coastal Systems Module Upland Habitats Module 1.Ecology of freshwater wetlands 2.Herbaceous wetland habitats 3.Forested wetland habitats 4.Wetland invertebrates 5.Wetlands fish 6.Wetland amphibians 7.Wetland reptiles 8.Wetland birds I 9.Wetland birds II 10.Wetland mammals 11.Environmental ethics 12.Interpretation 1.Ecology of coastal systems 2.Marine and estuarine habitats 3.Coastal dune systems 4.Marine invertebrates I 5.Marine invertebrates II 6.Saltwater fish 7.Coastal birds I 8.Coastal birds II 9.Coastal mammals 10.Coastal amphibians and reptiles 11.Environmental ethics 12.Interpretation 1.Ecology of upland habitats 2.Pineland communities 3.Scrub, prairie, and rangelands 4.Hardwood forests 5.Upland invertebrates I 6.Upland invertebrates II 7.Upland birds I 8.Upland birds II 9.Upland mammals 10.Upland amphibians and reptiles 11.Environmental ethics 12.Interpretation

27 NotesPhylum Arthropoda, Class Insecta, Order Coleoptera Insects, including beetles, communicate with chemicals (pheromones), sounds (stridulation), and with visual signals (fireflies). Communication may be intended to attract mates, warn predators, or lure meals. The beetles depicted in this slide both use visual signals. Fiery searchers, also known as caterpillar hunters, eat all kinds of moth and butterfly caterpillars, but prefer eating the destructive eastern tent and European gypsy moth caterpillars. The bright, metallic coloration of this beetle signals potential predators that it is not defenseless. If attacked, fiery searchers expel a noxious chemical to avoid being eaten. Lightning bugs, or fireflies, are soft-bodied, nocturnal beetles that advertise to potential mates with blinking signals that can be seen on warm summer nights. The light produced by fireflies comes from special organs on the underside of the abdomen. Specialized cells in these organs (photocytes) contain compounds and enzymes that, when mixed with oxygen, produce the light without producing heat. Firefly larvae may glow and are commonly known as glowworms.

28 FMNP accountability measures - 3 tiered approach - 1.Pre- and post-testing measures short term knowledge gain FMNP knowledge gain (5-yr average): Freshwater Wetlands = 17.4% Coastal Systems =19.1% Upland Habitats =31.3%

29 FMNP accountability measures - 3 tiered approach - 2.Course evaluations measure satisfaction, demographics, and obtain student input FMNP Course Evaluations ( very good/excellent) Category FW CoastalUplands Instructor Rating94% 95% 95% Course Rating94% 93% 94% > 90% of participants indicated they plan to take additional classes

30 FMNP accountability measures - 3 tiered approach - 3.Annual surveys measure impacts, behavior changes, and success stories Instructor surveys Graduate surveys


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