Pinellas County

September 11 - October 16, 2023
Class filled. Contact Instructor for wait list.
(Course Code: cs23-02)

The course format is in-person.
In-person Class Facility

Weedon Island Preserve (WIP)
1800 Weedon Dr NE St. Petersburg, FL 3370

Instructors Information

Lead and Point of Contact: Jeanne Murphy, Senior Wildlife Biologist, Environmental Educator, Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism Member
Organization: Sensing Nature, LLC
Phone: 727-397-2306

Lead: Brian Lane, Senior Ecologist, Environmental Educator, Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism Member

Tentative Course Agenda

Open the PDF below to view the full agenda for this course.

General Information

  • Classroom Sessions: Weedon Island Preserve, Cultural & Natural History Center, St. Petersburg
  • Schedule Does Not Include Your Travel Time Before or After Class
  • Transportation & Lunches Not Included
  • Bring Your Lunch Daily – No Time to Purchase Food Off-site; No Vending Machines
  • Field Trips are Local; Student Carpooling Suggested
  • Field Locations, Activities, Times May Change – Although Not Expected
  • Required for Field: Closed-toe Shoes, Plenty of Drinking Water in a Non-Disposable Container

View Agenda (PDF)

Course Guidelines

Covid-19 safety Precautions:

In light of the latest CDC updates and guidance from UF health experts, we no longer require masks during in-person FMNP activities but welcome masks for those who wish to wear them and voice support for those who do.

Please look at your county’s community outbreak level and Pinellas County’s outbreak level the day before each class for masking recommendations.

Classroom Presentations:

“Classroom” means we are at the Weedon Island Preserve in the Cultural and Natural History Center in their classroom in St. Petersburg. It is often very chilly in this classroom – you may want to bring a sweatshirt, a beach towel to throw over your legs, or wear layers.

Bring Course Material to Class Each Day:

  • If you ordered the manual PDF, bring a charged computer to each classroom session to view your course material during class. Outlets are scarce.
  • If you ordered a hardcopy course booklet, bring that to each classroom session.

Field Trip Locations & Times:

Field Trip 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:

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

Attendance Policy:

  • You cannot miss more than 8 hours (20% of the 40 contact hours) This is a FMNP policy and cannot be modified by the Instructor.
  • To receive certification, the 8 hours or less missed must be made up by completing an assignment of equal time and content. Approval of the Instructor is required.
  • If total hours missed exceeds 8 hours, certification is not possible regardless of material made up.
  • All absences should be discussed with the instructor in advance. In case of emergencies, please notify Instructor as soon as possible.

Make-up Time Frame:

  • If you miss a class or a field trip, you must make-up the same material. Discuss with instructors prior to making up material. The make-up needs to be completed within a week when possible.
  • If you miss more than 8 hours, 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.

Student Carpooling:

Student Carpooling is Suggested and is 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 by a few minutes. Please arrange your schedule so that the class can be flexible. We will try to stick to the listed times, however, your attentiveness to getting back on time from breaks and lunch impacts our schedule. Please be timely.
  • Course time schedule does not include your travel time (except between AM & PM classes).

Caffeine, Snacks and Lunch!

If you enjoy coffee or need a snack, you may bring your own. No Styrofoam – violators have to bring snacks to the hungry class the next day.  Always bring a sack lunch – there will not be enough time to get a drive-through meal.

Cell Phones:

They are fine to use outside of class. Please don’t allow them to ring during classroom sessions or on field trips. Talk on the gadgets during break time, lunchtime, before and after class. Violators have to bring snacks to the hungry class the next day.

Keep Your Stink Down:

Please refrain from wearing perfumes or body lotions with fragrance in the classroom. Other students may be sensitive to these odors making them nauseous, giving them a headache, or even causing physical symptoms like a rash, and there isn’t any escape from these smells.

Field Trip 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 & Footwear:

  • It might be very warm or very cool on our field trips—please, dress accordingly
  • Be aware that typically you will be experiencing wet and muddy environments. Avoid see-through fabrics when wet. For your comfort, always bring a spare change of clothes.
  • Required – Wear closed-toe shoes at all times in the field. No exceptions. 
  • Wear: Layered clothes, maybe long sleeves and pants for sun protection, closed-toe shoes (wet shoes or other appropriate footwear), hat, sunglasses, and  sunscreen.

Field Items to Bring:

  • Drinking water is required in the field. No exceptions. Bring it in a reusable, non-single-use container and bring water to refill it too.


Snacks, field ID books, notepad and pen, binoculars, insect repellent, towels, and a complete change of clothes (spare shoes/socks/pants/shirt).

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