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Texas Sea Grant Master Naturalist volunteers contribute 83,000 hours worth $2 million to informal education, restoration projects

Managing coastal resources to balance human use with environmental health requires citizens who understand the complexities of coastal environments. Informal education is a highly effective method of improving environmental literacy at all ages.

Texas Sea Grant’s Texas Master Naturalist Program trained volunteers and gave them knowledge, skills and tools needed to assist with the management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities. To become a Texas Master Naturalist, each volunteer must successfully complete 40 hours of combined field and classroom instruction to become certified; after becoming members, they must complete additional training and donate at least 40 hours of volunteer service to the community each year. One of their primary activities in 2016 was conducting informal youth and adult education projects, including hands-on restoration activities and interacting with visitors at nature centers and natural areas that are open to the public.

In 2016, 75 newly certified TMNs joined 512 active TMNs; including their restoration projects, the members volunteered 83,788.95 hours (40.1 FTEs), valued at over $2.0 million (at $24.00/hour). Their activities included conducting youth field trips, environmental education programs in schools and guided tours at a national wildlife refuge, leading public participants in coastal restoration projects, and educating the public during restoration projects and sea turtle nesting patrols.

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