Community | joy | resilience
Naturalist training course for Baltimore's Black community
Naturalist Training Course
In partnership with the University of Maryland Extension “master naturalist” program and Backyard Basecamp’s “BLISS Meadows” farm, Black by Nature is offering scholarships for college students to participate in a 9 week naturalist training course. Students will be immersed in topics ranging from natural history to ecology to climate and much of the flora and fauna local to Maryland. The curriculum will also incorporate lessons in cultural and Indigenous knowledge, environmental justice, and discussions on careers in conservation. Upon completion of the program, students will be certified as Maryland Master Naturalists.
This course will be hosted at BLISS Meadows; a 10 acre land-reclamation project at the intersection of environmental and food justice. BLISS Meadows features two ponds, a 7-acre forest, farm, and nature center (currently under construction).
The program will also utilize the nearby Herring Run Park; a 375-acre woodland park that features wetlands, forest, and the Herring Run stream.
Both locations are easily accessible by public transportation.
Applications Open: March 1, 2021
Applications Close: March 31, 2021
Program Dates: June 1-July 27, 2021
Monday & Tuesday, 9a-1p
This course will primarily take place outside, but will incorporate some virtual programming. All training materials required to participate in this program will be supplied. To earn a master naturalist certification, students will complete 52 hours of training, a day-long field trip, and 24 hours of volunteer service within the 9 week course.
"Nature is a boundless classroom, a well of wonder, and a salve for souls that is inherently for everyone."
-Diamonique Clark, Black by Nature Founder
A naturalist is someone who studies nature. They observe patterns, relationships, individuals, and systems to understand how the world works. This knowledge is often used to keep track of how the world is changing and used to predict future events.
Becoming a naturalist is a lifelong practice. Participating in a naturalist training program is a great way to build foundational skills that can be built upon to expand expertise. These skills include orienteering, plant/animal identification, animal tracking, observational skills, critical thinking, sensory awareness, etc.
Training as a naturalist is also supportive of physical and mental health. Naturally, naturalist training incorporates physical movement such walking, hiking, or even paddling. It also requires complete presence while making observations. This practice encourages mindfulness, grounding, reduces stress, and promotes healing.
The Maryland master naturalist certification program supports Maryland citizens in learning more about natural history within a structured, science-based curriculum. This certification program is designed to train local residents as trained naturalist that will volunteer in their community. The network of master naturalist volunteers serve their communities as catalysts for local environmental conservation through education, research and stewardship.
By becoming a master naturalist, interns will join a large network of other naturalists, are qualified to lead outdoor lessons, and serve as valuable teachers within our community to fortify Black resilience.
Participants must identify as Black or African American, be at least 18 years old. 2 and 4-year college students are encouraged- but not required- to apply!