I wanted to share with you all something that I am very excited about. I have the opportunity to enroll to become a certified Tennessee Naturalist! This has been something that I've wanted to do for the past 3 years, but didn't have the available funds until enrollment this year!
The program, whose classes will be taught by experts in their various areas at a Owl's Hill, a local nature sanctuary is 80 hours long.
During this time, I will receive 40 hours of instruction on various aspects of the state's natural history such as geology, flora, wildlife, watersheds -- as well as exposure to ecological concepts and conservation issues. Additionally, I will need to complete 40 hours of volunteer service to earn my certification.
During the course of the classes as well as afterwards, I will join a corps of Tennessee Naturalist volunteers
providing education, outreach, and service dedicated to the
appreciation, understanding, and beneficial management of natural
resources and natural areas within their communities.
My interest all started when I came across an article that author and naturalist Margie Hunter wrote at the founding of the Owl's Hill program that said, "We've spent a portion of our adult
lives pursuing careers in sundry occupations, and one day we find
ourselves wishing we’d majored in biology or botany or ecology or
geology and spent our lives outside studying this earth and its
marvelously varied forms of life. Well take heart fellow nature
lovers, there’s a Tennessee Naturalist program under development
that is just for us.” Having read that and feeling that that
described me to a tee, I decided to dig in more and more to the
program and see what I could find out. Once I read more I fell in love with the program before I even took it.
Throughout the year that it's going to take me to complete the 10 areas of focus, I am going to try to chronicle my journey, what I learn and what I do as it unfolds.
Eventually, I am hoping that this will enable me to obtain a job in natural education where I'll be able to spend time in Nature while educating the public.
Stay tuned for what happens next!