I was a member of the 2018 class for the El Camino Real Texas Master Naturalists. One of the most amazing things about the Texas Master Naturalist curriculum is the breadth of topics covered in a short three months.
Class members all gained a wide breadth of knowledge on all components that make up the state’s ecosystem, ranging from plants and animals to weather and waterways. We now have a working knowledge of the variety of climates and habitats in this huge area, and how that affects the life forms found there.
Sometimes the depth of information got overwhelming. Of course, we didn’t learn all details about all birds, butterflies, or snakes in Texas, or even in Milam County. But we did learn how to find out more and who to contact if we had questions. Thank goodness for Texas Parks and Wildlife and the AgriLife Extension folks! They are all so generous with their time and expertise.
But, where do I go now?
Now that the big knowledge dump is over and it’s time to go out and volunteer and learn more, my job is to figure out where my personal naturalist passion lies. I can’t do work on everything, even if I’d like to.
I did attend a wonderful Wildlife and Fisheries Specialist workshop put on by the AgriLife Extension folks, and the day on wildlife solidified my love of learning about the animals on my own property. Tracks! Scat! Binoculars! Game cams! I have so much at my disposal.
I also just want to know what I have on the land I love. I’m excited that we are going to have a field day on our property (thanks, Nancy Webber!) to document the plant life found in the various settings we have (meadows, woods, riparian areas and seasonal wetlands). I’ll write more about that in another post.
I hope to spend some of my volunteer hours helping out wherever needed by the chapter, such as the Earth Day presentations. But I have a long-term plan, as well.
My goal is to record as many plants and animals on our property as possible, and enter them into the iNaturalist program. The need for data about Milam County, especially the area near our Hermits’ Rest ranch is extensive. I’d like to help. I’ll be looking to my more experienced colleagues for help setting up the project and recording my time, but after that I hope this is a long-term project.
I’ll also continue to document my informal plant, animal, bird, and weather observations on the Hermits’ Rest blog, and write articles for the chapter newsletter.
What are YOUR plans? You’re welcome to join me and share your own field notes or ideas for blog posts/articles!