Nature course held first time at environmental center
— The Maryland Master Naturalist Program has been taught for the first time at Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center with participants learning to interpret and identify Maryland plants and animals and how they depend on each other.
The program is sponsored by the University of Maryland, but it was the first time the classes were held at the environmental center in Grasonville. The course ended on Wednesday, Dec. 21.
Each participant received a badge and a certificate for completing the 14-class program and they have to complete 40 hours of volunteer service in one year to complete the program’s requirements, said Courtney Leigh, volunteer/stewardship coordinator for the environmental center.
There were 23 people who started in the class. If they complete the course, the students earn the title of Maryland Master Naturalist which is a validation of their skills and knowledge of flora and fauna of Maryland. The certificate is a good idea if the students want to educate the public about the local environment, Leigh said.
“The larger objective of the course is to foster volunteerism for small organizations of environmental educators, but some people are looking for this education to build their resume and knowledge for careers in the environmental field,” Leigh said.
The last day of the paid classes featured a final exam, a lab practical, and a presentation by students about their projects.
David Coomes of Chester was one of the students. He already volunteers at the center, helping with fundraising, landscaping, and handling birds of prey at places like festivals.
“I enjoy the class. I did it to help me explain things to the visitors at [the environmental center],” Coomes said. There were some things he already knew about, but he learned more in the class on how to identify more things, he said.
Lacey Dean of Stevensville spoke well of the class. “I loved it, learning about what I love, nature and wildlife. I love we get to go outside a lot,” she said.
The Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center is a nonprofit organization promoting environmental education, stewardship, and sustainability. The center sits on a 510-acre natural reserve in Grasonville.
Those who took the Maryland Master Naturalist class are: Karen Bogue of Stevensville, Barbara Bush of Chestertown, David Coomes of Chester, Jim Demerest of Pasadena, John Gillespie of Chestertown, Kim Gostyla of Annapolis, Michelle Grafton of Severna Park, Emily Harris of Chestertown, Daniel Hopkins (Dan) of Stevensville, Christopher Knauss (Chris) of Goldsboro, Lacey Dean of Stevensville, Stephanie Everett of Gambrills, Francesca Jarrett of Annapolis, Kent Laing (Ken) of Centreville, Diane Larrimore of Millington, William Lauffer (Bill) of Chester, Linda Páez of Arnold, Dolores Reyna of Grasonville, Windy Sawczyn of Easton, Carla Slye of Grasonville, Janice Stringer of Stevensville, and Karen Sutter of Bowie and Grasonville.
These students took part in the Maryland Master Naturalist Program held for the first time at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center.
Lacey Dean of Stevensville loved the Maryland Master Naturalist classes she took at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center. The classes focused on learning about plants and animals in Maryland.
David Coomes of Chester took the Maryland Master Naturalist Program course to help him explain things in nature to the public.