Paris Landing State Park and Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge (TNWR) recently announced that registration is now open for the next Tennessee Naturalist Program course. Paris Landing and TNWR are a one of 11 chapters of the Tennessee Naturalist Program (TNP) located throughout the state.
Classes will begin Saturday, Oct. 1, meeting mostly once a month until June, 2023. This makes the widely recognized TNP available to area residents who wish to study nature during all four seasons.
“COVID isolation, semi-retirement, and caring for my elderly parents had left me in a state of boredom, ‘in a rut,’ negative, and without a purpose,” explained graduate Tammy Carter. “TNP changed all that. Our classes were often the most positive thing in my week. I met a lot of new, interesting people. I went places I typically would not have chosen or didn’t know about. I did fun things like hikes with school field trips and Earth Camp, and the list goes on and on. Most of all, I found a new direction for my life that includes a deeper understanding of nature, recycling, and how rewarding life is when you get yourself out of a rut.”
The course includes 40 hours of instruction and 40 hours of volunteer service in natural resources. Professionals teach the classes and use the state park and refuge as an outdoor classroom. Some classes also are taught at Land Between the Lakes and Hancock Biological Station. Class topics include birds, mammals, amphibians/reptiles, insects/invertebrates, forests, plants/fungi, geology, aquatic species, nocturnal species, and astronomy.
“Participating in TNP exceeded my expectations for learning about Tennessee’s natural resources and opportunities to become involved in the stewardship of our local parks and refuges. The classroom and field activities were enlightening and enjoyable, and our instructors were knowledgeable and inspiring,” said recent TNP graduate Laurie Gilbert.
TNP is a 501c3 educational training course designed to introduce the natural history of Tennessee to interested adults. Graduates join a corps of Tennessee Naturalist volunteers providing education, outreach, and service dedicated to the appreciation, understanding, and beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities.
Classes are hosted by area TNP Chapters and taught by experts in their fields.
The mission of TNP is to teach Tennesseans about the natural world, inspire the desire to learn more, instill an appreciation of responsible environmental stewardship, and channel volunteer efforts toward education of the general public and conservation of Tennessee’s natural resources. For a course schedule or more information on registering for TNP, visit https://tnnaturalist.org/chapters/paris-landing-sp-nwr.