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Florida Master Naturalist

Ripple Effect Ecotours Naturalist Program at Marineland


Ripple Effect Ecotours, in partnership with University of Florida's Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience, offers the Coastal Module and the Uplands Module of the Florida Master Naturalist Program. The FMNP is an environmental education extension program offered through the University of Florida-Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF-IFAS) in conjunction with Ripple Effect Ecotours.

Once you complete a module, you will be registered with UF-IFAS as a Florida Master Naturalist for that module, and you will be prepared to share your knowledge about Florida’s natural world along with its ecological and environmental history.

The FMNP is not a degree-seeking program. It's appropriate for both the novice and the highly skilled environmental professional. The classes are perfect for volunteers and staff members of nature centers, preserves and other environmental education facilities, ecotourism operators and guides, teachers seeking environmental education contact hours and anyone with an enthusiasm for learning about Florida's environment.


The Florida Master Naturalist Program

Classes are held at the Whitney Laboratory in the town of Marineland, near St. Augustine, FL. The classroom is the 40,000 acres of the Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve. Each module consists of 40-hours of training which includes classroom instruction, field trips and practical interpretive experience in the ecology, habitats, vegetation, wildlife and conservation issues specific to Florida ecosystems. In addition, the program addresses the role of society in conservation, develops naturalist interpretation skills and discusses environmental ethics.


Coastal Module

Click here to Register via the University of Florida Website!

The GTM National Estuarine Research Reserve is the perfect classroom for the Coastal Module because it offers a hands-on experience with each of the ecosystems explored in the classroom. The course covers coastal uplands, the nearshore marine environment, coastal estuaries and the rich diversity of plant and animal life found in each of these ecosystems. It also covers the relationship of society and the coastal environment.

Course Schedule:

Day 1 (Monday, November 5, 2018) 9:00am – 5:00pm
9am -12pm Classroom Presentation-Coastal Systems Ecology

12:00-12:45pm Lunch

12:45pm -4:30pm Classroom Presentation-Marine and Estuarine Systems

Field Trip to the Marineland Dolphin Adventure and the Georgia Aquarium Dolphin Conservation Field Station 

Day 2 (Wednesday, November 7, 2018)  9:00am - 5:00pm
9:00am - 12:00pm Classroom Presentation-Birds

12:00-12:30pm Lunch 

12:30pm - 3:30pm Classroom Presentation: Mammals and Marine Areas FMNP Video 

3:30pm - 5:00pm Walking Field Trip - Dune Habitat

Day 3 (Monday, November 12, 2018 ) 9:00am - 4:30pm

9:00am - 12:00pm Classroom Presentation - Coastal Uplands and Interpretation

12:00pm - 12:45pm Lunch  

12:45pm - 1:30pm Coastal Upland Wrap-Up

1:30pm - 4:30pm Field Trip - Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
Note: short drive and carpooling  

Day 4 (Wednesday, November 14, 2018) 9:00am - 5:00pm
9:00am - 12:00pm Classroom Presentation: Reptiles and Fish

12:00-12:30pm Lunch 

12:30pm - 1:30pm Reptiles and Fish Wrap-up

1:30pm - 4:30pm Field Trip: Kayak Trip to the Princess Place Preserve with Ripple Effect Ecotours
Note: no prior kayak experience required  

4:40pm - 5:30pm Estuarine Ecosystem Wrap Up with GTM NERR

Day 5 (Monday, November 18, 2018) 9:00am - 4:30pm
9:00am - 12:00pm Classroom Presentation - Invertebrates I and II

12:00pm - 12:45pm Lunch  

12:45pm - 1:30pm Classroom Projects Final Prep

1:30pm-4:30pm Classroom Presentation: Ethics and Ecotourism
Walking Field Trip - Invertebrate Wet-Lab at the Center for Marine Studies Park 

Day 6 (Wednesday, November 21, 2018) 9:00am - 4:30pm 

Final Projects, Evaluations, and Graduation Party!
*guest speakers and times to be announced 



Uplands Module

Immerse yourself in the upland wonders found in the GTM National Estuarine Research Reserve. Uplands are important for many species of wildlife including gopher tortoises and numerous kinds of birds, mammals, other reptiles and invertebrates. Uplands also tend to be the places that humans look to for development. The health of uplands has an impact on wetlands, too. The course work covers hardwood forests, pinelands, scrub, dry prairie, rangelands and urban green spaces.


The Cost

Registration Fees:

$275 Attendee Fee with Color Manual
$230 Attendee Fee with USB Drive
$210 Partner Attendee Fee

The cost 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 or Uplands Naturalist. You will also receive a UF-IFAS certificate of achievement, embroidered FMNP patch and FMNP lapel pin.

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


What people say about Ripple Effect Ecotours' Florida Master Naturalist Modules

"The 2 FMNP modules which I took with Danny Lippi were among the most inspiring, educational, and fun courses which I have taken. The speakers were terrific and the field trips amazing. Danny has an awesome fund of knowledge and a natural ability for teaching. It was truly a pleasure working with him. "Wonderful" is an understatement."
Laurie McCreery
"More than a class...learning under Danny's tuteledge is an experience. You filled our lives with a passion for the ecosystems of Florida and beyond. You introduced us to lifelong learning and sharing in our environment. Your respect for each participant was a model of encouraging us to learn from others as well. Thank you, Danny."
Audrey Tennant
"Of the many courses and teachers I have had in my life, Danny Lippi, the instructor for the recently-held Coastal Systems Module of the FL Master Naturalist Program is at the top of my list. Great teachers are rare. They combine "the gift" to teach with hard work and study. Lippi follows that path."
Jim Conner
"Absolutely fantastic course! Danny was an excellent instructor. His knowledge, passion and humor made the course engaging and fun. Not sure I've ever learned so much so quickly. The lectures, resources, videos, and PowerPoints are exemplary. I am from New Hampshire and entered the course with very little knowledge of Florida's ecosystem. I now know more than most of my Floridian friends."
Lou Powell

tripadvisor™ 2015 Award of Excellence

Ripple Effect Ecotours
Town of Marineland Marina
101 Tolstoy Lane
St Augustine, Florida
Tel: 904-347-1565
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