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Texas Master Naturalists sell native plants at RGV Home and Garden Show webWinter Texans and residents over the age of 18 in Cameron, Hidalgo, and Starr counties are welcome to register to join the 2024 South Texas Border Chapter Texas Master Naturalist training class. The deadline to register for the 2024 class is December 15.

Texas Master Naturalist is a unique educational volunteer program sponsored by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Sea Grant Program, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

“Texas Master Naturalist chapters are made up of volunteers with diverse interests who are involved in myriad activities to learn about, work with, and help educate others about the special land in which we live,” said Tony Reisinger, Cameron County Extension Agent for Coastal & Marine Resources with Texas Sea Grant at Texas A&M University and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

“When nature is left to itself, a unique ecosystem develops – after hundreds of years,” Reisinger said. “Today, that unique ecosystem is what Texas Master Naturalists learn about and help sustain: the Rio Grande Valley’s native habitat and the critters that depend on it.”

Students attend weekly Thursday classes from 6 to 9 p.m. beginning January 11 through March 29, at St. George Orthodox Church Hall, 704 W. Sam Houston, in Pharr. Special field trips arranged for trainees provide unique access and learning opportunities.

Classes are taught by local university professors, and other field experts, including those from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Over 30 courses will be presented throughout the training. The program cost is $150 which includes first year’s dues ($15) and the required textbook ($35). The rest of the funds cover expenses for class supplies, training materials, venue rentals, field trip entrance fees, field trip snacks/water and chapter t-shirts.
The class is limited to 30; apply soon if you are interested. The application is complete upon payment of the $150 fee. Acceptance to the 2024 STBCTMN annual training is dependent on successfully passing the TPWD background check.

For more information and to complete the registration visit the New Class Webpage: https://www.stbctmn.org/the-next-class and follow instructions in the pdf icons. You may send questions to the new class director, Jim Gerry, at jimgerry@gmail.com or 630-464-4622. Check out the chapter website at https://www.stbctmn.org/.

Our chapter is based in Hidalgo County. Our sister chapter, Rio Grande Valley Chapter, is based in Cameron County and can be contacted via riograndevalleychapter.tmn@gmail.com or class signup at https://rgvctmn.org/2024-class.

Trainees join volunteer teams with other chapter members and work with special chapter projects, federal and local wildlife parks as guides and docents, assist with coastal naturalist programs, and opportunities about native plants and habitat, citizen science projects, bird migration, shore birds and Gulf and beach inhabitants and trends.

The chapter advisors are Tony Reisinger, Cameron County Extension Agent for Coastal & Marine Resources with Texas Sea Grant at Texas A&M University and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Park Superintendent Javier de Leon.