CT Audubon Society offers Master Naturalist Certification program

Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Fairfield, 2325 Burr Street, Fairfield will offer their Master Naturalist Certification Program Tuesdays, March 29-June 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration deadline is Tuesday, March 22.

Are you interested in expanding your knowledge of the habitats, plants, animals and natural history of Connecticut? Would you like to experience the rewards of sharing that knowledge and teaching others about the stewardship of Connecticut’s natural resources? If so, Connecticut Audubon Society’s Master Naturalist Certification Program may be for you.

Similar to Master Gardener certification, Master Naturalist training is offered by different organizations around the country. The programs prepare people of all experience levels to become naturalists in their communities and to contribute to environmental education and conservation efforts through volunteer service.

The Connecticut Audubon Society’s Master Naturalist Program at the Center at Fairfield consists of 40 hours of classroom and field training, in four-hour sessions over 10 weeks. Classes are taught by field experts including Fairfield Ecologist/Landscape Architect Bill Kenny, and Director of Environmental Studies at Fairfield University James E. Biardi, Ph.D. In addition, the Spring 2016 session introduces two new components. Geology, taught by Connecticut Earth Science Specialist, Bryan Avery; and Long Island Sound Marine Ecology presented by Diana Payne of Connecticut Sea Grant. All sessions will include a mix of indoor classroom presentations and outdoor, hands-on field experiences.

At the conclusion of the program, graduates receive certificates and apply their knowledge and individual skills in volunteer capacities to help maintain and support education activities and operations at the Center and its adjoining Larsen Sanctuary, as well as in their own communities. “It was one of the best courses I have taken in my lifetime,” says Meral Prewitt of Stratford, graduate of the spring 2015 class. “Not only did I learn more about nature and my surroundings, but I met a group of outstanding individuals who have like passions.”

Classes meet Tuesdays, March 29-June 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration deadline is March 22. The program fee is: $195 CAS members; $250 nonmembers, (includes a CAS membership). As part of the tuition, participants must be able to give 40 hours of volunteer service within the year following the training. To complete the program, please expect to attend every class.

Information about the Master Naturalist Training Program, including the application, is available at ctaudubon.org/center-at-fairfield, or by calling the Connecticut Audubon Society, 203-259-6305, ext. 109. For a complete listing of upcoming statewide programs and special events, visit Connecticut Audubon Society’s website at ctaudubon.org.

Connecticut Audubon Society Director of Education Michelle Eckman leads a Master Naturalist class on trail interpretation in the Center at Fairfield’s Larsen Sanctuary.

Connecticut Audubon Society Director of Education Michelle Eckman leads a Master Naturalist class on trail interpretation in the Center at Fairfield’s Larsen Sanctuary.

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