Being a Texas Master Naturalist According to 2016 Trainees

TMN_HL 2016 class

Graduation Day, Class of 2016. Photo by Susan Downey

Becky Breazeale | Each spring, the Highland Lakes Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists has a new training class. Trainees learn about natural resources and conservation management with units of study such as geology and archeology, ecological regions of Texas, land management, weather and climate, and others.  Students meet once a week for twelve weeks. The candidates come from varied backgrounds with most residing in Blanco, Burnett, Llano, and Travis Counties.  This year’s candidates were asked what being a Master Naturalist meant to them and here is what some of them had to say.

John Ackerman – Sunrise Beach
Being a Highland Lakes Master Naturalist is not just an opportunity to provide volunteer services to many of our local natural areas, but to become much closer to nature in my own life.  It causes me to see nature with a different perspective. It helps me enjoy and enhance the beauty that surrounds us here in the Highland Lakes.

Betty Blackmond – Bertam
I have always been a nature girl.  My grandparents had a ranch in Texas and I loved to help round up sheep, go fishing, or explore the outdoors. I grew up in the city, but I never lost that love for the outdoors.  I would take every opportunity I could to go camping or hiking in the wilderness. Being a Master Naturalist means that I can help to foster that love of the outdoors with others, especially children.  I can’t think of a greater thrill than to see a child learn to love wildlife and the outdoors.

Gary Hampton- Meadowlakes
I have been an educator throughout my adult life and enjoying teaching and learning. I hope to continue learning and educating young people about the world of plants and animals. I have been a Naturalist throughout my life and this is a wonderful way to give back to others.

Don Jungkind- Horseshoe Bay
I started out not knowing exactly the title Master Naturalist implied. Now I know it means one has acquired a basic core of knowledge in all major subject areas: flora, fauna, insects, geology soil, water. Those are the building blocks of a deeper understanding of how all the natural world fits together and is interconnected: habitat, ecology, and food networks.

Martelle Luedecke – Burnet
Being a HLMN gives me the opportunity to share a joy and passion of the interdependency of Nature with others of all ages.  My father Bill Luedecke (co-founder of HLMN) and Steve Fulton at Selah instilled this within the hearts of my children, changing their lives and desires. I aspire to do the same for others.

Amy Mollberg – Blanco
Being a Master Naturalist has opened an entire new world to explore.  The classes have taught me so much, especially how much more there is to learn!  It has been a great experience and I’m looking forward to attending the monthly meetings and getting involved with the volunteer activities.

Dee Perlberg – Horseshoe Bay
Learning to appreciate the balance between humans, animals, and plants as we co-exist on this land.  I’m learning that it’s very hard to achieve balance…what is good for perhaps the fisherman may not be good for the recreational boater.  What is good for fire prevention (removing flammable ash junipers or cedars) may not be good for birds who build their nests from the bark of that tree.

Wayne Reimer – Marble Falls
Being a member of the HLMN gives me the opportunity to peruse my desire to better understand the wonders of nature and the observable interaction of species and all natural disciplines. It also gives me the opportunity to associate with people that share my interests and who are a source of knowledge that I can learn from.

Ella Tyler- Marble Falls
I lived in Houston for nearly 50 years before moving to Marble Falls in 2014 and was active in the environmental community there, and my master naturalist training has given me a crash course in the parks and groups that are the core of environmental activity here. Many of the plants and birds here are different, and of course, there really isn’t much geology there. I love knowing something about the rocks I see every day and learning the name of big lizards that live up here. I’m looking forward to volunteering and making new friends.

Vivian Wolfe – Austin
It means seeing my ranch in a completely different way.  With greater understanding of its unique beauty, the health of the creek and what contributes to that, and the diversity of plants and animals.  It also means having a community of people with similar goals and values.

Graduation ceremony for the Class of 2016 was held May 19th at Bamburger Ranch with all 19 Class Members receiving their Master Naturalist Certification.  If being a Master Naturalist sounds like something you might be interested in, visit our website at www.txmn.org/highlandlakes. New classes start forming in late fall and information can be obtained on the website.