Pinellas County

October 6-27, 2017
Registration closes at 10:00am on October 2, 2017
(Course Code: fs17-11)

Classroom Facility

Moccasin Lake Environmental Education Center
2750 Park Trail Ln, Clearwater, FL 33759

Instructors Information

Jeanne Murphy, Senior Wildlife Biologist, Environmental Educator, NAI Certified Interpretative Guide
Brian Lane, Senior Ecologist, Environmental Educator, NAI Certified Interpretative Guide
Organization: Sensing Nature, LLC – Environmental Education, Ethical Ecotours, Nature Products
Phone: 727-397-2306

Tentative Course Agenda

Day 1 Friday, October 6, 2017
Classroom – Swamps & Marshes; Springs/Lakes/Rivers
8:00am - 9:45am Orientation to the Course & Course Expectations, Meet Instructors, Notebooks
9:45am - 10:00am Class Activity/Mixer
10:10am - 11:00am Ecology (Jeanne)
11:00am - 11:45am Video—Swamps
11:45am - 12:30pm Mammals (Jeanne)
12:30pm - 1:00pm Lunch: Bring Sack Lunch
1:00pm - 1:50pm Wetland Birds (Jeanne)
2:00pm - 2:40pm Video—Marshes
2:45pm - 3:45pm Permanent Wetlands – Springs, Lakes & Rivers (Brian)
4:00pm - 5:00pm Interpretation (Jeanne)
5:00pm - 5:30pm Review Course Expectations; Discuss Field Trips, Group Projects,
Interpretative Talks

Day 2 Monday, October 9, 2017
Field Trip – Florida Swamps & Marshes
9:00am - 5:00pm Myakka River State Park, Sarasota
• Approximate 2-hour drive south of Pinellas County—travel time not included
• Meet at Myakka’s Education Center near Entrance and Ranger Station
• Bring your lunch, plenty of water and a complete change of clothes and shoes (see ‘Guidelines’)
• At the end of the day, we will try to go for a short swamp tromp – the water level may be higher or lower depending upon our rain quantities during the dry season. The rest of the day you might be getting your feet muddy or even wet, depending upon field conditions.
• You may want to bring a trash bag to put wet clothes in and/or a towel to put on your seat for the drive home

Day 3 Friday, October 20, 2017
Classroom – Flora and Fauna; Field Trip – Florida Lakes, Rivers, Springs
8:00am - 8:45am Amphibians (Jeanne)
8:50am - 9:40am Invertebrates (Brian)
9:50am - 10:20am Video—Springs, Lakes, Rivers
10:30am - 11:15am Woody Wetland Plants (Brian)
11:20am - 12:10pm Herbaceous Plants (Brian)
12:10pm - 12:15pm Wrap-up— Field Trip prep, Group Projects, Interpretative Talk
12:15pm - 1:30pm Drive Time
1:30pm - 5:30pm Canoe the Little Manatee River, Wimauma (field location may change)
Meet at the Canoe Outpost on the Little Manatee River, Wimauma, and enjoy a peaceful paddle down one of our state’s Outstanding Florida Waterways.

Bring a snack on the River. To increase our awareness of being a “throwaway society” and to reduce waste and accidental litter, please do not bring any disposable containers or wrappers on the river (e.g. in your lunches, snacks). Violators will need to bring snacks for class on Friday.

Day 4 Monday, October 23, 2017
Field Trip – Interpretative Talks in Florida
Classroom – Florida Wetlands & Human Dimensions
8:00am - 12:00pm Hike Swamps & Marshes at Sawgrass Lake Park, St. Petersburg
Meet at Education Center
In pairs, lead the class on a fun, low-stress interpretive walk on a raised boardwalk through a beautiful hardwood swamp.
12:00pm - 12:30pm Lunch: Bring a blanket to sit on while enjoying your sack lunch in the park
12:30pm - 2:00pm Finish Interpretative Talks at Sawgrass Lake Park, St. Petersburg
Continue leading the class on fun, low-stress interpretive walks.
2:00pm - 3:00pm Drive to Classroom
3:00pm - 3:10pm Discussion—Group Projects
3:10pm - 4:00pm Reptiles (Jeanne)
4:10pm - 5:00pm Fish (Brian)
5:00pm - 5:30pm Wrap-up—Tentative Field Trip Prep, Group Projects

Day 5 Friday, October 27, 2017
8:00am - 9:15am Video—Wetlands & Human Dimensions
9:30am - 10:30am Ethics (Jeanne)
10:30am - 12:00pm Miscellaneous Catch-up as Needed, or Start Group Projects
12:00pm - 12:30pm Lunch: Bring Sack Lunch
12:30pm - 5:30pm Group Projects, Post-test, Certificates & Graduate!

FMNP Class Guidelines

Classroom Presentations: “Classroom” means we are at Moccasin Lake Environmental Education Center (MLEEC) in their Nature Center.

Locations & Times may change due to unforeseen circumstances. It is the student’s responsibility to verify field information. Transportation and lunches are not included.

Course Time Schedule does not include travel time, except between AM & PM classes.

Missing a class or a field trip:

• You can miss 1 classroom session and 1 field trip session (typically the equivalent of one day) during the course and still become certified as a Freshwater Florida Master Naturalist. (If a teacher receiving component points, check with school board for their requirements.)
• The time and material must be made-up with an instructor’s approval before the material is missed and after the material is made-up.
• If you miss more than 2 sessions, the University of Florida will not certify you as a naturalist, but please keep coming to as many classes as possible…this is your class.

Make-up time frame: If you miss a class or a field trip, you must make-up the same material. The make-up time needs to be completed within a week of class ending.

Student Carpooling is Suggested (up to students to arrange)

Flexible Schedule:

  • The schedule times listed are as close as possible, but we need you to be flexible.
  • We probably will not get out early; however, we may run late. We will try to stick to the listed times, but please arrange your schedule so that the class can be flexible.
  • Course time schedule doesn’t include travel time (except between AM/PM classes).

Food & Drinks! Both are allowed in the classroom. If you enjoy coffee, you may want to bring your own. Please, absolutely no “Styrofoam” containers—violators have to bring snacks to the hungry class the next day.

Cell Phones: To be courteous to your classmates, please turn cell phones off, or on vibrate. Accidental phone rings means bringing snacks to the hungry class the next day.

Field Recommendations:
• Don’t wear perfume/cologne or use perfumed soap/body lotion before going out in the field. This may attract more unwanted buzzing invertebrates known as mosquitoes, midges (no see ‘ems) and flies.
• There are insects (including mosquitoes), spiders, and snakes outdoors. Hopefully, we will see many of these beautiful creatures. Always watch where you are putting your hands and feet. Use your brain before your body.

Field Clothes:
• Be aware that typically you will be experiencing wet and muddy environments. For your comfort, always bring a spare change of clothes.
• Wear: layered clothes, long sleeves and pants, hiking boots or appropriate foot wear for the day’s field trip, hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
• Please wear close-toed shoes. The field trails are not always level or easy to travel. • It might be very warm on our field trips—please, dress accordingly

Field Items:
• Bring: water, snacks, field ID books, notepad and pen, binoculars, insect repellent, towels and a change of clothes (spare shoes/socks/pants/shirt)

The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is a federal-state-county partnership dedicated to developing knowledge in agriculture, human and natural resources, and the life sciences, and enhancing and sustaining the quality of human life by making that information accessible. While extending into every community of the state, UF/IFAS has developed a national and international reputation for its accomplishments in teaching, research and Extension.


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  • Phone:
    (352) 294-3583
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  • Address:
    2311 Mowry Road, Bldg. 78
    PO Box 110750
    Gainesville, FL 32611