Pinellas County

February 7-21, 2020
Registration closes at 9:00am on February 5, 2020
(Course Code: us20-04)

Classroom Facilities Information

Moccasin Lake Nature Park
2750 Park Trail Lane, Clearwater, FL 33759-2602

Oscar Scherer State Park: Education Center
1843 S Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34229

FWC Chinsegut Nature Conservation Center
23212 Lake Lindsey Rd, Brooksville, FL 34601


Instructors Information

Lead and Point of Contact: Jeanne Murphy, Senior Wildlife Biologist, Environmental Educator,
NAI Certified Interpretative Guide
Lead: Brian Lane, Senior Ecologist, Environmental Educator, NAI Certified Interpretative Guide
Organization: Sensing Nature, LLC
Phone: 727-397-2306
Email: jmurphy@sensingnature.com
Website: www.sensingnature.com



Tentative Course Agenda

Day 1 Friday, February 7, 2020 (Moccasin Lake NP)
8:30am - 10:00am Welcome to FMNP Upland Systems; Objectives & Overview; Paperwork
10:00am - 10:30am Class Activity/Mixer
10:30am - 11:30am Ecology Presentation (Jeanne)
11:45am - 12:30pm Video—Florida’s Scrub, Dry Prairie and Rangelands
12:30pm - 1:00pm Lunch: Eat Your Sack Lunch
1:00pm - 2:00pm Upland Birds 1 Presentation (Jeanne)
2:10pm - 3:10pm Scrub, Prairie & Rangelands Presentation (Brian)
3:20pm - 4:20pm Invertebrates I Presentation (Brian)
4:30pm - 5:30pm Interpretation Presentation (Jeanne)
Wrap-up: Review Course Expectations, Field Trips, Group Projects, and
Interpretative Talks

Day 2 Monday, February 10, 2020 (classroom PM: Oscar Scherer SP)
  Field Trip: Dry Prairie at Myakka River State Park, Sarasota
  • Approx. 2-hour drive south of Pinellas County—travel time not included
  • Meet at south side of park near entrance/Ranger Station; be ready to carpool within park
  • Bring a hiking snack, plenty of water, and in case of rain – a complete change of clothes, shoes, plus a towel. (see schedule ‘Guidelines’ for field gear)
8:30am - 10:45am Guided Hike: Explore one of Florida’s last remaining expansive tracts of dry prairie within this beautiful state park. Likely walking conditions – dry, uneven dirt/vegetated paths with some off-trail stretches; wear long pants to avoid leg scratches. If recent rains, feet could get wet/muddy.
(Tentative Guest field guide: Michael Stanfield, Florida DEP/MRSP, Park Ranger)
10:45am - 11:15am Drive from Myakka River State Park to Oscar Scherer State Park
Approx. 20-30 minute southwest
11:15am - 11:45am Lunch: bring sack lunch to eat outside at an OSSP Education Center pavilion
  Field Trip: Scrubby Habitat at Oscar Scherer State Park, Osprey
  • Drive through the park to the end of main road
  • Park in lot near restrooms and lake
  • Meet at Education Center pavilion
  • Bring plenty of water for our hike (and see schedule ‘Guidelines’ for field gear)
11:45am - 1:30pm Guided Trail Hike: Learn about scrub species including scrub jays, gopher tortoises and lupine as well as conservation issues, human interactions and management tools used to preserve this imperiled habitat such as prescribed fire. Trails range from hard packed sand to very soft/giving, ancient dune sand.
(Guest field guide: Matthew Hodge, Florida DEP, Environmental Specialist II)
  Classroom: Oscar Scherer State Park Nature Center
1:30pm - 2:30pm Finish any previous presentations
2:30pm - 3:15pm Video—Florida’s Pine Habitats
3:25pm - 4:30pm Pineland Communities Presentation (Brian)
4:40pm - 5:00pm Upland Birds II Presentation – A to F (Jeanne)
5:00pm - 5:30pm Wrap-up: Discussion; Answer Group Project &
Interpretative Talk Questions; Put Away Tables


Day 3 Friday, February 14, 2020 (FWC Chinsegut NCC)
  Field Trip: Pine Habitat at FWC Chinsegut WMA, Brooksville
  • Approximate 1.5 hour drive north of Pinellas County—travel time not included
  • Meet outside nature center; restroom on site; terrain has gentle hills; trails are firm sand
  • While walking bring a snack, plenty of water; see schedule ‘Guidelines’ for other field items
8:30am - 12:30pm Hiking: Experience one of Central Florida’s best sandhill pineland communities
and its wildlife.
Interpretative Talks: In pairs the other half of the class will lead us on fun, low-stress interpretive walks through this rolling high pine habitat.
12:30pm - 1:00pm Lunch: Bring a Sack Lunch and Enjoy Eating in the Florida Pine Sandhills
  Classroom: FWC Chinsegut Nature Conservation Center
1:00pm - 1:45pm Finish Upland Birds II Presentation - (Jeanne)
2:00pm - 3:00pm Upland Mammals Presentation (Jeanne)
3:15pm - 4:00pm Video—Upland Systems & Modern Human Society
4:00pm - 5:30pm Invertebrates II Presentation (Brian)
5:00pm - 5:30pm Wrap-up; Discuss Group Projects


Day 4 Monday, February 17, 2020 (classroom PM: Moccasin Lake NP)
  Field Trip: Interpretative Talks (outside, in pairs) in an Upland Hardwood Forest Habitat at Walsingham Lake Park, Largo
  • Meet at Pavilion #5; park trails are relatively flat and paved
  • While walking bring a snack, plenty of water; see schedule ‘Guidelines’ for other field items
8:30am - 12:30pm Interpretative Talks: In pairs half of the class will lead us on fun, low-stress interpretive walks through the beautiful oak hardwood habitat. As we walk, natural features will be discussed including the upland forest community, conservation and management factors, human impacts.
12:30pm - 1:00pm Lunch: Bring a Sack Lunch to Eat at the Park, Pavilion #5
(start/end times are estimates)
1:00pm - 1:30pm Drive to Moccasin Lake Nature Park
  Classroom: Moccasin Lake NP
1:30pm - 2:30pm Finish any previous presentations
2:30pm - 3:15pm Video— Florida Hardwood Forests
3:15pm - 4:15pm Upland Hardwood Forests Presentation (Brian)
4:15pm - 5:15pm Herptofauna Presentation—Reptiles & Amphibians (Jeanne)
5:15pm - 5:30pm Wrap-up; Discuss Next Field Trip, Group Projects


Day 5 Friday, February 21, 2020 (Moccasin Lake NP)
8:30am - 8:45am Meet with Group Partners to Discuss Last-Minute Items
8:45am - 9:45am Ethics in Environmental Ed and Eco-Heritage Tourism (Jeanne)
9:45am - 11:30am Complete Any Remaining Course Material
11:30am - 12:30pm Present your indoor Group Projects to the class
12:30pm - 1:00pm Lunch: Eat Your Sack Lunch
1:00pm - 5:00pm Continue Presenting your Group Projects inside the classroom to the class
5:00pm - 5:30pm Post-test, Certificates & Graduate!

FMNP Freshwater Systems Class Guidelines

Classroom Presentations“Classroom” means we are at Moccasin Lake Nature Park in Clearwater unless otherwise instructed. In the classroom, it might be very warm or very cool—please, dress accordingly

If you ordered an USB, bring a computer with full battery charge to see your course material.

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

Course Time Scheduledoes not include travel time, except between AM & PM sessions.

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: All missed time must be completed within a week of class ending.

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. We will try to stick to the listed times, but please arrange your schedule so that the class can be flexible.
  • Course time schedule does not include your travel time (except between AM & PM classes).

Food & Drinks! Please, absolutely no “Styrofoam” containers—violators have to bring snacks to the hungry class the next day. Food and drinks are allowed in the classroom, as long as your clean up after yourself..

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.

Field Trips: Students are expected to participate throughout each of the field trips.

  • Required: Water is to be Carried with You during Field Trips – No Exceptions.
  • Required: Always Wear Close-toed Shoes. The field trails are not always level or easy to travel; some plants have thorns; there may be poison ivy; fire ants, etc. Open-toed shoes are not acceptable in the field.
  • Bring: water, snacks, field ID books, notepad and pen, binoculars, insect repellent, towels and a change of clothes (spare shoes/socks/pants/shirt).
  • Wear: layered clothes, long sleeves and pants (protects against thorns, cuts, and bites), hiking boots or appropriate foot wear for the day’s field trip, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent
    (especially feet/legs).
  • Be aware that typically you will be experiencing a variety of environments. It could rain; we might get gooey, dirty, muddy, or wet. For your comfort, always bring a spare change of clothes.
  • 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.
  • It might be very hot or even cool on our field trips and in the classrooms—please, dress accordingly.


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We are building a legacy of informed citizens to promote awareness, understanding, and respect of Florida's natural ecosystems. To ensure we continue inspiring conservation education and action for decades to come, we need to raise $2 million to establish an endowment for an FMNP Program Leader in perpetuity.

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  • Phone:
    (352) 294-3583
  • Email:
    msowder@ufl.edu
  • Address:
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    Gainesville, FL 32611