Texas Master Naturalists have openings for fall class

Rick Kelley/Valley Morning Star Christina Mild, a Texas Master Naturalist and an expert on native Rio Grande Valley plants, points out the purple-black berries on holly brush at Hugh Ramsey Nature Park. Mild will conduct a seminar on edible native plants at the upcoming Winter Outdoor Wildlife Expo on the Island.

HARLINGEN — Fall classes to become a Texas Master Naturalist, scheduled to begin later this month, still have available spots for the nature-inclined.

The Rio Grande Valley Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists is offering the class at the Cameron County Annex Building in San Benito, located at the corner of Williams Road and U.S. 77/Expressway 83.

The classes last seven weeks and are held every Wednesday evening from 6 to 9 p.m. with some additional classes on Saturdays.

“Every Saturday in September there will be a class and field trip, going from about 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.,” Joni Gillis, Rio Grande Valley Chapter Texas Master Naturalist Chapter education coordinator, said via email.

“These class/field trips will be held at different partner sites (Resaca de la Palma State Park, SPI Birding and Nature Center, Estero Llano State Park, Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Park),” she added. “For the first two Saturdays in October, there will be field trips only in the morning.”

The classes total about 30 hours of classroom work, 10 hours of field work and eight hours of advanced training.

“It does have a textbook, and the class follows the natural resources in Texas, and it specifically targets what we have down here,” said Tony Reisinger, Texas Sea Grant’s Cameron County Coastal and Marine Resources agent. “And we have local speakers from the universities who are here, as well as other people. They talk about a variety of subjects in nature.”

Cost of the class is $150 although some scholarships are available, Reisinger said. The registration deadline is Sunday and mandatory orientation is Wednesday, Aug. 28, from 6 to 9 p.m.

The registration fee includes all training materials. To register or find out more, go online to www.rgvctmn.org and click on upcoming classes.

rkelley@valleystar.com