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TMN: Do You Have What It Takes?

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Becoming a Texas Master Naturalist (TMN) takes time, determination — and time!

Can you commit to Mother Nature?

Lindheimer Chapter (Comal County) of Texas Master Naturalists is recruiting members for the Class of 2018. Orientation begins this October, but registration opens in August.

The class is fun and rewarding, but TMN’s Sarah Riggs says prospective students need to know what they’re getting into before they sign on for a year of exploring Canyon Lake’s great outdoors.

Here’s the first in a series of articles about the master naturalist program. Sara Riggs explains:

“The mission of  TMN. as stated on their website is: To develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities for the State of Texas.

The local chapter, Lindheimer Master Naturalist (LMN,) encompasses all of Comal County and members may be found volunteering in Bexar, Blanco, Kendall and Comal and other counties.

Peggy Haley of the class of 2017 didn’t stumble in to the Master Natural Program accidentally as many of us seem to do. She planned for it.

As a Master Gardener, she always thought the Master Naturalist program would be a logical next step. She felt she knew about plants and TMN would give her an overall picture about many things. Since she moved to the Hill Country from the Beaumont area, she wanted to acquaint herself with the very different land and animals and even plants here. Another reason for joining was for the company of like-minded people in her new community. The environment is important to her and she’s happy to be in the company those who feel the same way.

Peggy also had long mapped out her return to the Texas Hill Country for retirement. She says that after a vacation in the area as child, she always wanted to live here.

Peggy is a retired educator. She retired from a school district (in 2014) where she held several positions. She’s taught students of almost all ages, from preschool children to other teachers in in-service classes. She was also a teacher mentor. Peggy says she considers herself a “science person” and one of her favorite positions was as a teacher in the Saturday Science School program for 5th graders. She says, “I don’t teach science. I DO science” and this is expressed in her very hands-on approach to science and learning.

Although she and her fellow students in the self-named N2 Nature class (2017) will not graduate until October, Peggy and her classmates are already full voting members of the Lindheimer Chapter. Peggy has been volunteering at the Discovery Center at Guadalupe River State Park where on a recent Saturday, Peggy got to see and talk about 80 children and adults who stopped in to “discover” the exhibits and materials provided by the park interpretive rangers.

Peggy has also just completed the training to work as a docent at the world famous Bracken Bat Preserve (in the Garden Ridge area) and will soon be working with the guides on member and public night tours. Bracken Cave is the summer home to an estimated 20 million Mexican Free-tailed Bats who roost in the cave from March to October making it the largest known concentration of mammals.

In February, Peggy’s class went on a field trip to the Canyon Lake Gorge. This had been a dream of hers. What does she think of her LMN experiences so far? She says she loves them. “I’m in awe of nature,” she said.

Peggy’s husband Dean has been very supportive of her participation in the LMN program. It’s not really his thing but he’s glad she’s enjoying it, according to her. Dean is spending his time working on their property. Peggy is happy about that because their home has become the gathering place for the whole family, and Dean and Peggy are all
about family, she says.

The Lindheimer Chapter of Texas Master Natural will soon be recruiting members for the 2018 class, which will begin with an orientation session in October. Information on the Lindheimer Chapter registration will be available on the chapter website at beginning in August. Click here for more information or to register.

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