During the year, we offer the Coastal Systems Module and Freshwater Systems Module of the Florida Master Naturalist Program, which prepares participants to share their knowledge with others. FMNP is an adult education UF/IFAS Extension program developed by the University of Florida and pro­vided by many Extension offices and participating organizations (like Mote Marine Laboratory) throughout the state of Florida.

Instruction/requirements: Training consists of 40 contact hours. Students need only bring their enthusiasm, meet attendance requirements and complete a group of final projects. Classroom learning includes four instructional videos and 12 presentations. Field experiences require mobility on uneven, unpaved natural trails.
Fee: $230.
Current Course Offering: Coastal Habitats Module, August 23 - September 5, 2017

Click here to view schedule and to register 


The Florida Master Naturalist Program prepares participants to share their knowledge with others in a positive way that helps others feel a greater connection to the land and sea and to help others develop their own personal environmental ethics. 

Information on the ecology of Florida's systems is an integral part of the program, but the goal is not to create experts in botany, herpetology or any other discipline. Instead, the Florida Master Naturalist Program initiates a life-long process of learning, observation and of sharing with others. Students have the opportunity to increase their knowledge of Florida's natural systems, of the plants and animals that depend upon these systems and of the role of humans play in shaping our past, determining our future and as environmental stewards.

Coastal Systems Module Overview

Through classroom, field trip and practical experience, this Module provides instruction on the general ecology, habitats, vegetation types, wildlife and conservation issues of coastal systems in Florida — coastal uplands, estuarine and nearshore marine environments. The program also addresses society's role in coastal areas, develops naturalist interpretation skills and discusses environmental ethics.

Freshwater Systems Module Overview

Through classroom, field trip, and practical experience, this Module provides instruction on the general ecology, habitats, vegetation types, wildlife, and conservation issues of Freshwater Systems in Florida - Marshes, Swamps, and Permanent Wetlands (Lakes, Rivers, Springs, and Streams). The program also addresses society's role in wetlands, develops naturalist interpretation skills, and discusses environmental ethics.

Who Should Attend

Students must be 18 or older and interested in learning more about Florida’s environment. Those who benefit include environmental educators, natural resource managers, volunteers, eco-tour guides, teachers and anyone wishing to expand their knowledge of Florida’s natural world. Professionals and teachers have obtained CEUs and in-service credit.

Attendance Requirements 

Students may not miss more than one classroom presentation and one field trip. The names of students who successfully complete the Naturalist training will be maintained in a University of Florida/IFAS database and the honor roll of students who have attained Florida Master Naturalist certification are also published on the FMNP website for public view.

Final Projects

The capstone requirement for the Naturalist Core Modules is the Final Project (there is no final exam). Final Projects convey some type of educational message consistent with the course topic. Completing these projects help students meet a number of objectives: synthesis of information into an interpretive and educational product; promote additional learning by enabling students to gain experience in finding information; and providing students experience in presenting information to an audience. Student groups are expected to conduct additional research for information used in their Final Projects (sources of additional information may include Student Workbooks, the Internet and any other source they deem appropriate).

Options for Final Projects are Limitless

Final Projects may be presented as interpretive walks, displays, guide books, slide presentations, skits, brochures and so forth. Literally, any interpretive or educational project that provides an environmental education message qualifies. Students should use their imagination, experience and personal interests to produce their Final Projects. Final Projects completed as group projects are encouraged. Final Project presentations are approximately 20 minutes, plus 5-10 minutes for questions, discussion and breaks. Students will have one week between the last day of regular classes and the Final Project group presentations to prepare their final projects. All Final Project materials, including photos, sounds, etc., may be used for educational or promotional purposes by the FMNP or FMNP sponsoring organizations. Final Projects should be fun and help prepare students to share information with others.

FMNP Instructors

Kasey Gaylord-Opalweski
(941) 388-4441, ext. 263

Cancellation Policy

There are no refunds for any Mote education programs unless we must cancel the program. If you must cancel your participation or change the number of students participating and you do so more than five days in advance, we will hold your credit for payment on a future program. No-shows, changes or cancellations within five days of the program will be charged in full.