The Florida Master Naturalist program, administered by the University of Florida’s Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences, promotes knowledge and understanding of the various ecosystems of Florida. It’s a series of three 6-week modules covering the major physiographic categories of the state: Coastal, Wetlands, and Uplands.

I recently (October 2008) completed the third of the three modules, Coastal, and, having successfully completed all requirements (with the caveat that 90% of life is just showing up!), am now certified as a Florida Master Naturalist.

I look at this series of courses as the perfect tool to enhance my understanding of the natural world, which has already helped me communicate my enthusiasm for the outdoors to the participants in my Audubon Society bird walks, to my son, and to anyone I meet.

A few entries in the blog deal with concepts that I wanted to understand more fully, so I transcribed my notes, surfed the web, and even did a few field trips on my own to learn more.