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Ripple Effect Ecotours Offers Coastal Module of the Florida Master Naturalist Program

Ripple Effect Ecotours, in partnerhip with University of Florida’s Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience, is now offering the Coastal Module of the Florida Master Naturalist Program.

St. Augustine, FL—Learning more about Florida’s natural environment now is possible through the Florida Master Naturalist Program (FMNP), an environmental education extension program being offered in partnership with the University of Florida-Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF-IFAS) and participating organizations throughout the state. The FMNP both informs and prepares persons to share information about Florida’s natural world and environmental history.

Training in Florida’s Coastal systems, the second of three ecosystem modules included in the FMNP, will be available at the Whitney Laboratory in the town of Marineland, and completion of the 40-hour program results in registration in the UF-IFAS Master Naturalist Program database as a FMNP Coastal Systems Naturalist.

The FMNP is not a degree-seeking program. The program is appropriate for both the novice and the highly skilled environmental professional.

Certified FMNP Provider: Ripple Effect Ecotours: Chris Kelley, Danny Lippi, and Joe Woodbury will be instructing the class with guest speakers from the Dolphin Conservation Field Station, University of Florida’s Whitney Lab and the Marineland Dolphin Conservation Center.

Course Dates: Start on Tuesday, February 8th and runs every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00am to 4:30pm with graduation on February 24th. Register online at www.MasterNaturalist.org, and click on “Course Offerings” for specific class times.

Cost: $225, which includes all field trips, 40 contact hours of instruction, a comprehensive student reference workbook, and, upon completion, registration in the UF FMNP database as a Coastal Naturalist. A UF-IFAS certificate of achievement, embroidered FMNP patch, and FMNP Coastal lapel pin also will be provided at completion.

Program: Training for the Coastal System Module includes classroom instruction, field trips, and practical interpretive experience related to the general ecology, habitats, vegetation types, wildlife, and conservation issues of Coastal areas in Florida, which include marine and estuarine, and coastal uplands. In addition, the program addresses the role of society in coastal conservation, develops naturalist interpretation skills, and discusses environmental ethics.

Target Audience: Volunteers and staff members of nature centers, preserves, sanctuaries, and other environmental education facilities. Ecotourism operators and guides, teachers seeking opportunities for environmental educational contact hours, and anyone who has an enthusiastic interest in learning more about Florida’s environment is encouraged to participate.

For more information about the Coastal System Module training or about the FMNP in general, contact Ripple Effect Ecotours at (904)347-1565 or log on to the official FMNP Web site at www.MasterNaturalist.org.

Day 1 (Thursday, February 8, 2011) 9:00am – 4:30pm
Introductions
Classroom Presentation-Coastal Systems Ecology
Lunch 12:00-12:30pm
Classroom Presentation-Marine and Estuarine Systems
Field Trip to the Marineland Dolphin Conservation Center and the Dolphin Conservation Field Station

Day 2 (Thursday, February 10, 2011) 9:00am – 4:30pm
Classroom Presentation-Birds
12:30-1:00pm Lunch
Classroom Prentation: Mammals
Field Trip- Dune Habitat

Day 3 (Tuesday, February 15, 2011) 9:00am – 4:30pm
9:00am-4:30pm
Classroom Presentation-Coastal Uplands and Interpretation
Lunch 11:30am-12:00pm
12:00pm-4:30pm Field Trip-Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

Day 4 (Thursday, February 17, 2011) 9:00am – 4:30pm
9:00am-12:00pm Kayak Trip to the Princess Place Preserve with Ripple Effect Ecotours
Lunch 12:00-12:30pm
Classroom Prentation: Reptiles and Fish

Day 5 (Tuesday, February 22, 2011) 9:00am – 4:30pm
9:00am-4:30pm
Classroom Presentation-Invertebrates I and II
Lunch 12:00-12:30pm
Classroom Presentation: Ethics
Field Trip- Invertebrate Wet-Lab at the Center for Marine Studies

Day 6 (Thursday, February 24, 2011) 9:00am – 4:30pm
Final Projects and Graduation Party!

“A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitley more than much knowledge that is idle.” Kahil Gibran

Key West “Mothership” Kayak Adventure: Now Booking for May and June, 2011. Please call for other available dates!

Climb aboard the Miss Phebe II, a well-equipped and beautiful vessel, for 6 days of kayaking, snorkeling, relaxing, fishing, birding, and star gazing in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary on a private charter for only 6 people. A real Key West captain with 25 years experience accompanied by a first mate/naturalist from Ripple Effect will take you from the hustle-bustle of your first night in Key West on famous Duval Street and then out 25 miles to the live coral heads in the Marquesas Ring where we will spend the 5 days in total comfort with all the luxuries of home on the “Mothership”.

Day trips from the Miss Phebe II will involve kayaking to the Marquesas Ring, a paddler’s dream with a 3 mile lagoon of flats and white sand beaches, and snorkeling, fishing, and kayaking at the wreck in Boca Grande Key. Lunch will be served on these remote islands and dinner will be enjoyed back aboard with culinary delights and conversations about the big one that got away, or the captain’s stories of Miss Phebe’s recent research endeavors.

Click here for the itinerary and more Photos!

Listen: Judyth Piazza chats with Chris Kelley, Ripple Effect Ecotours on The American Perspective Radio Program

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