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Training class planned for naturalist volunteers

A round-up for all prospective trainees for the Texas Master Naturalist, Sabine-Neches Chapter, serving Orange, Hardin and Jefferson counties will be held at 6:30 p.m. July 25 at the Big Thicket Association Office, 700 North St., Beaumont.

In an issued statement, the organization said the mission of the Texas Master Naturalist program is “to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities.”

Master Naturalist volunteers receive in-depth training in wildlife and natural resource management focused on local ecosystems and provide service in the form of community education, conservation and demonstration projects. Recent volunteer projects include removing the Gambusia Trail decking at Sea Rim State Park, assisting with the Michael Hoke Outdoor Day in Orange, repairing the damage at Village Creek State Park caused by Hurricane Harvey and planting longleaf pines at the Big Thicket.

Initial requirements to become a Certified Texas Master Naturalist, Sabine-Neches Chapter, include 40 hours of approved basic training, 40 hours minimum of approved volunteer service, eight hours minimum of approved advanced training, a $140 application fee ($200 for a couple), and a background check.

Instructions for applying online are posted at http://txmn.org/sabine. Monthly meetings are held 6:30-8:30 p.m. on the fourth Thursday from meeting locations are posted at http://txmn.org/sabine.

The Master Naturalist program is sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Local partners are Shangri La Botanical Gardens, Big Thicket National Preserve, Sea Rim State Park, Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary, Village Creek State Park, and J. D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area. Each year the Texas Master Naturalist program trains about 720 new Master Naturalists, provides about 320,000 hours of service (valued at $6.2 million), offers about 46,000 hours of advanced training, and reaches about 160,000 youth, adults and private landowners through direct contact events across the state of Texas.

For more information, email txmn.sabine@gmail.com.

Special to The News