We are on for Feb. 11! Basic Field Skills will begin at Black Bayou Lake NWR in the Environmental Learning Center at 9 a.m. and continue until about 3 p.m.

This photo of an American Coot (Fulica americana) is evidence of a feature of coots and their scientific classification that many people do not know.

Click on the “Certification” tab at the top of this page. A flyer describing the day is available for download. To register, you can either click on the PayPal “Buy Now” button or download and print the form. It might be a little late to mail the form, so just let me (Bette Kauffman) know if you’re coming and bring it with you. Anyone who wants to pay on site can do so, but please let me know you are coming.

For those who did a Basic Field Skills workshop before, this one will be a bit different. I have refocused my portion of it to emphasize our important role as Master Naturalists in putting our skills to work. Here’s how I describe it on the flyer:

“We will have 45 minutes to an hour of instruction on the importance and value of doing citizen science. We will discuss the nature of ‘evidence’ and how contributing to citizen science platforms is different from sharing with your friends on social media. This will include how to use eBird and iNaturalist and how to observe in order to produce data that enhance the scientific value of these platforms, as well as how to use them to extend your own knowledge and help others in the online naturalist community.”

My iNaturalist profile.

The structure of this workshop will be instruction followed by application in short forays into the refuge, then returning to the education center to discuss and share what we did. The last 45 minutes of the day will be spent on interpretation, which will include examples of what others have done for their certification projects and strategies for sharing your natural history knowledge with different kinds of audiences, e.g., kids.

For those who wish to become Certified Master Naturalists, this is basic and important material. For those who are already certified or don’t wish to become certified, I think you will find things of value here that will enhance your natural world experiences.

Hope to see you next Saturday!

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