Last week we attended the first day of our Master Naturalist course which meets once a week for twelve weeks. First of all, let me start of by saying that it was awesome and I look forward to the rest of the classes. There are about twenty of us in the class along with the organizers and teachers.
I was impressed with the planning that went into this day because we had a lot of activities with very little empty time to get bored. We moved from one activity to the other but it made the day go by quickly and all of the activities were very helpful.
We were given the following books:
6. South Carolina Master Naturalist Program Training Manual
7. 3 ring binder with weekly schedule, homework assignments, and articles
8. Waterproof field book (for notes)
9. 10x Coddington Magnifier
We did a lot of different activities that would be great to do in a classroom. Here are some of the activities we did:
1. Identification quiz: We had seven different stations and items were numbered. The stations were skulls, pelts, reptiles, nuts/fruits, rocks, plants/trees, and we had to identify them in 15 minutes and then return to the big group. It was fun to touch the objects. Then we were given a chance to share our answers and find out the correct answers.
2. Identify Trees: We went outside with our guide books and then broke out into groups to identify the tree that we were assigned. We used the key in our book and followed the guidelines. Our group identified the American Holly tree using the guide. Unfortunately one group was attacked by the yellow jackets as their nest was disturbed by the group. They were able to move to a new tree that was assigned. We only spent about 30 minutes doing this because we were learning the process. If I did this with a class, I would probably pick the trees ahead of time and have the key with the highlighted answers to help guide the group in using the key. I learned that I need to learn the terminology in order to use the key effectively.
3. Waiver/Liability and ICE forms: We were given forms to sign in case anyone got hurt. I’m glad that they prepared for this possibility which shows once again how prepared they were.
4. Lunch was provided for the entire group for this first day and that gave us time to get to know one another and process what was learned during the morning.
5. Leave No Trace: Again we were broken up into groups and sent to seven different stations. There was a display at each station and we were to try to figure out the seven principles of Leave No Trace. These principles are:
a. Plan Ahead and Prepare
b. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
c. Dispose of Waste Properly
d. Leave What You Find
e. Minimize Campfire Impacts
f. Respect Wildlife
g. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
6. Hike: We went on a short afternoon hike in the forest and saw a lot of wildflowers and trees along the way. Our leader was very knowledgeable about these things and was able to help us identify them as we walked past them. Even though it was hot and humid, the hike was great to end the day. The rain never started until after we returned to our cars and headed home.
I can’t wait until our next class! We will be meeting at Table Rock State Park. Since our homework was about rocks, minerals, fossils, and other geological information, I bet this day will be spent studying that topic.
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Image: Master Naturalist Learners by Pat Hensley