Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Master Naturalist (in training)

Gold fish swimming in urban forest pond
Wadley Barron Park
Midland, Texas

"Urban forest?" Who knew there were any forests in West Texas? We denizens might answer with a wink and a nudge that oh sure we have lots of forests of mesquite. But, in all seriousness, towns and cities of West Texas have created forests. Our urban homes, parks, businesses, and all the places we humans like to landscape have made an ecosystem. Is it a natural ecosystem? A real ecosystem? These fish swimming in a Midland pond don't have any doubt it is. And since taking my first step toward officially becoming a naturalist on Saturday, I don't either.

Donna, myself, and a class of about 20 other enthusiasts signed up this year to become certified Texas Master Naturalists. Thanks to Mr. Burr Williams at the Sibley Nature Center in Midland, we have begun our year-long adventure to the great outdoors, and will venture out as far as Lake Lancaster and as near as our own backyards.

Each month in 2009 we will meet to be trained in eight ecosystems of the Llano Estacado, accruing at least 40 but up to 64 hours of training. In addition, we must gain 8 hours of advanced training and donate 40 hours of volunteer work this year and every subsequent year to maintain our certified status. Through this program we can move beyond being mere enthusiasts to stewards and educators.


Bev said...

A very interesting post and interesting angle. Never thought about ecosystems in that way.

Glad for you you have found this absorbing subject, and it ties in so well with your photography.

jomamma said...

This is right up your alley.

Bobbie said...

I'm eagerly waiting to see what you share with us about all you learn. The old west is such an interesting place, I'm sure you will come up with some doozies. Love this beautiful photo of gold fish!

John said...

Sounds like a great experience.

Wonderful, Debbie.

I started in college wqanting to be a marine biologists and then for a few months decided I would study algae....

High five, bump fists or whatever is hip now.

My best.