By: Monique Dennis Photo by: Rachel Benavides
A clean environment is essential for healthy living. According to DoSomething, “Pollution is one of the biggest global killers, affecting over 100 million people.” To aid the environment against mass pollution, the Texas Master Naturalist program has developed 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 for the state of Texas. This nonprofit organization takes volunteers who love their planet and train them to become “Master Naturalists” by teaching specialized knowledge of different ecosystems, species, habitats, and environmental demands.
Sponsored by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, this organization has become a vital, vibrant part of the community. The Texas Master Naturalist program works with communities and organizations across the state to implement youth outreach programs and help operate parks, nature centers, and natural areas. They also lead local natural resource conservation efforts, and help private landowners gain a broader scientific understanding of the ecology and management of their own natural resources.
“Being a part of the South Texas Master Naturalists helped me fall in love with the Coastal Bend and appreciate my hometown of Corpus Christi for the first time ever,” says Membership Director Michelle Alvarez. “I do what I do as a Master Naturalist to inspire others to connect with our natural spaces and see the important role each of us plays within our local ecosystem.”
Alvarez speaks of the love and appreciation she has developed for the beaches, parks, animals, and other wildlife within our community after joining the program. Alvarez said the organization hosts beach and park cleanups locally at well-known areas such as Blucher Park, Oso Bay Wetlands, and the South Padre National Seashore.
“The birds and the bay are just as much Coastal Bend residents as you and me,” says Alvarez, when I ask her how important it is for this program and chapter to stay active.
She also spoke on the importance for active members of the community to make conscious efforts to be more aware of the natural resources around them, and about how the organization produces more members of society who seek to service our ecosystem. Alvarez said they are always looking for new, passionate members to join the program. New prospects are all trained with the knowledge they need – so if you would like to reach out to the organization for more information, you can do so on their website at txmn.org or their FB page, Texas Master Naturalists Program.