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St. Lucie County’s Environmental Resources Department Congratulates Newest Florida Master Naturalist Graduates

Post Date:12/13/2016 8:09 AM

Working amongst the fragrant endangered mints nestled on the warm, white sands of the Atlantic Coastal Ridge Scrub, 13 St. Lucie County students completed UF’s Florida Master Naturalist Program (FMNP) “Habitat Evaluation” Special Topic Course in mid-November.

St. Lucie County Environmental Resources Department lead instructors Amanda Thompson and Wren Underwood worked closely with students throughout the 24-hour course to provide classroom, field and experiential learning. The Habitat Evaluation course focuses on measuring and evaluating large to local-scale habitats, introducing students to technology and how it helps in the evaluative process exploring how human activities impact the natural world.

Congratulations to Gerald Bott, Mimi Swaringen, Randy Swaingen and Mark Halfich who, at the conclusion of this Special Topic course, completed all seven FMNP courses earning them the prestigious titles of “Advanced Florida Master Naturalist” and “UF FMNP Land Steward.”  Environmental Resources Department would also like to thank guest Florida Master Naturalist instructors Ken Gioeli, Marjorie Flory, Bill Gibson and Irene-Eva Ries for their exceptional assistance with this course. 

Course highlights included studying at the soon-to-be-open Eco-Heritage House located at the Richard E. Becker Preserve, a kayak adventure lead by Motorized Kayak Adventures to Wesley’s Island to help students see firsthand the restoration efforts, learning about the important research being conducted by the Smithsonian Marine Station; and finally working with Cheryl Peterson, Bok Tower Garden’s manager of the Rare Plant Conservation Program, to gain hands-on field data collection experience by studying the Savannas Preserve State Park’s endangered mint populations.  A big thank you at all the organizations whose partnerships helped enrich this Habitat Evaluation Special Topic.

The (FMNP) Special Topic courses are educational programs that allow participants to receive hands-on learning experiences and gain knowledge about the principles, skills and understanding of the importance of Habitat Evaluation, Wildlife Monitoring, Conservation Science and Environmental Interpretation. For more information about the Florida Master Naturalist Special Topic and Core Module courses visit http://www.masternaturalist.ifas.ufl.edu.

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