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March 12, 2009
Texas Master Naturalist Program Hits 1 Million Service Hours
AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Master Naturalist program has reached 1 million volunteer service hours. This major milestone marks the 10th anniversary of the program, which began in Texas but has since given rise to a growing national movement.
The Texas Master Naturalist program began in 1998 as a joint effort between Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas AgriLife (formerly Texas Cooperative Extension Service) to provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and areas within communities throughout the state. The program provides an opportunity for concerned adult citizens of all ages to learn about the natural environment and seek ways to better their communities.
To gain the title of "Texas Master Naturalist," participants must complete a minimum of 40 hours of natural resource training, 40 hours of service and eight hours of advanced training offered through the program within their first year.
The 1 million hours of service were achieved by more than 5,306 volunteers in 39 recognized local chapters throughout Texas. In the past 10 years during which these service hours were achieved, Texas Master Naturalists were on hand to help with natural catastrophes such as hurricanes and droughts. Volunteers were also ready to serve when the economy took a turn for the worse, making the value of their donated time even more precious.
The monetary worth of the 1 million hours of service is valued at approximately $19.58 million. In addition, the impact of the Texas Master Naturalist volunteers has been seen in more than 90,000 acres of land across Texas.
Information about the Texas Master Naturalist program, including the schedule of training courses and contact information for various local chapters across the state, is on the program Web site.
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