Master Naturalist Program
The Charleston Master Naturalist course is for adults of all ages who want to better understand and protect the rich natural resources of South Carolina. While focusing on the coastal environments in and surrounding Charleston County, participants will sharpen their identification skills, learn to “read” landscapes, and develop an understanding of ecological relationships and issues across the SC Lowcountry. Graduates have the opportunity to participate in the Coastal Master Naturalist Association which continues the learning process through coordinated field trips, outings with professional naturalists, and volunteer opportunities.
The Charleston Master Naturalist course consists of an evening orientation on the first course date followed by 12 full days of classes on Tuesdays during the spring and fall of each year. Organized and conducted by our Interpretation Department, the course begins with explorations of the Caw Caw Interpretive Center, a nearly 1,000 acre site that has many distinct habitats rich in natural and cultural history. Other potential target sites include the Francis Marion National Forest, Bonneau Ferry WMA, Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve, and Bennett’s Point Field Station. Through visiting sites such as these and hearing from specialists such as Drs. Richard Porcher, Joel Gramling, Al Segars, and Joe Kelley, participants will discover the importance and complexity of topics such as watersheds, estuaries, barrier island ecology, Carolina Bays, and hammock islands.
Registration begins the first Sunday in August for the fall program and the first Sunday in February for the spring program. The only prerequisite for this course is curiosity and a desire to learn about the natural world. Register online.
If you have questions about the Master Naturalist program, please email Keith McCullough, Natural History Interpretation Coordinator.
My understanding of how the natural world collides with humanity grew immensely because of the variety of experiences the Master Naturalist class provided.
This class has been an amazing introduction to the ecosystems of the lowcountry. It has given me a lot of tools to continue with personal education, inspiration on topics to more about and also to share knowledge and excitement about the natural world with others.
The instructors were outstanding! Their enthusiasm was infectious.
I am inspired to follow my dream of becoming an educator, myself. The Master Naturalist course has awakened in me my enthusiasm for sharing knowledge and inspiring kids (of all ages) especially in the natural classroom.
This has been a great experience - thank you all for organizing and sharing your own knowledge and inspirations with us! I would definitely recommend this program to others.