Special Topics Classes

The Florida Master Naturalist Program (FMNP) Special Topics classes are designed to provide more detailed information and/or hands-on skills in specific subject areas. As such, the objectives of the Special Topics courses are to provide participants with additional knowledge and skills to make them more effective educators, citizen scientists, and informed participants when engaging in conservation issues. The knowledge and skills each participant gains from these Special Topics courses will ultimately improve their ability to contribute to environmental education, scientific data collection, and conservation planning efforts.

Each Special Topic course is 24 contact hours, which includes presentations, class discussions and either a planned activity or field trip to practice techniques or review concepts learned in the class. Special Topics courses are $150 each and include detailed course manuals, hands-on experience, and registration in an online database that can be used for verification purposes such as might be required for obtaining CEUs, in-service credits, or resume checks.

Registration for Special Topics courses is on our website. For information about the availability of these courses in your area, please contact your local Instructors.

*There is no requirement to have taken any of the FMNP Core Modules to enroll in a Special Topics class. Students who complete these four classes are considered a Florida Master Naturalist Land Steward. Students who complete all seven courses (3 Core Modules and 4 Special Topics) are considered Advanced Florida Master Naturalists.

Conservation Science

This course is designed to educate people in the concepts, language, and science related to conservation needs, planning, and action. People that complete this course will better understand the complexities of conservation, which will make them both better educators and participants in local conservation efforts. This course will cover concepts such as species diversity, measuring biodiversity, the processes that generate and maintain biodiversity, types of ecosystem services, ecological processes, habitat fragmentation, effects of human activities on ecosystems, the history of conservation in North America, and strategies for conservation planning.

Conservation Science is divided into three workshops:

  • Biological Diversity
  • Ecosystem Integrity
  • Conservation Strategies for Sustainable Ecosystems

View the Conservation Science course objectives

Environmental Interpretation

This course is designed to make participants better environmental interpreters and educators, so that others may learn about Florida’s natural history and conservation issues. This course will cover concepts such as the fundamentals of interpretation, key elements of an effective interpretive program, how to create themes, sub-messages and transitions, group management, addressing diverse audience needs, developing interpretive displays and practicing interpretive techniques.

Environmental Interpretation is divided into three workshops:

  • Interpretive Presentations
  • Guided Interpretive Programs
  • Interpretive Displays

View the Environmental Interpretation course objectives

Habitat Evaluation

This course is designed to provide training in principles and commonly used techniques for evaluating wildlife habitat. People that complete this course will better understand the reasons for evaluating wildlife habitat at different scales and the methodologies used to do so. This course includes both classroom instruction and hands-on experience and will better equip students to participate in data collection for habitat evaluation projects. This course will cover large-scale habitat evaluation, local-scale habitat evaluation, and water quality monitoring.

Habitat Evaluation is divided into three workshops:

  • Large-Scale Habitat Assessment
  • Local-Scale Habitat Assessment
  • Evaluating Water Quality

View the Habitat Evaluation course objectives

Wildlife Monitoring

This course is designed to provide training in principles and commonly used techniques for surveying and monitoring wildlife. People that complete this course will better understand the reasons for monitoring wildlife and the methodologies used to do so. This course includes both classroom instruction and hands-on experience and will better equip students to participate in data collection for wildlife monitoring projects. This course will cover surveying and monitoring mammals, birds and herpetofauna.

Wildlife Monitoring is divided into three workshops:

  • Surveying & Monitoring Mammals
  • Surveying & Monitoring Birds
  • Surveying & Monitoring Herpetofauna

View the Wildlife Monitoring course objectives