Twenty-five people interested in environmental science and natural history can take eight weeks of classes as part of the process of becoming Master Naturalists.The Mississippi State University Extension Service is partnering with the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science to offer the training. Classes will be held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Tuesday from May 6 to June 24 in the museum at 2148 Riverside Drive in Jackson.
Adam Rohnke, Extension wildlife and fisheries associate, is the Central Mississippi Master Naturalist program coordinator at the MSU Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond. He said those who complete the 40-hour course must then complete 40 hours of volunteer service to meet the Extension Service requirements to become certified Master Naturalists.
"Natural resource professionals, university professors and Extension agents will conduct the classes and field trips as participants study native plants, habitats, insects, watershed management, mammals, forests, fisheries, soils and birds," Rohnke said. "Field trips will include visits to the Mississippi River, bottomland forests, piney woods, prairies and wetlands of central Mississippi."
Participants will also tour Museum of Natural Science collections of more than 1 million specimens and get a behind-the-scenes tour of the aquariums.
The $200 course fee covers program costs, educational materials, refreshments and field trips. Class enrollment is limited, and participants must register by April 29.
To register, download an application form at msucares.com/crec/envi/master_naturalist_program.html. Mail the registration fee to the address on the form. For more information, contact Rohnke at 601-857-2284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.