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Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov [TH]

TPWD Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

TPWD News Release — Sept. 5, 2005

Texas Master Naturalists Win National Award

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Master Naturalist program has won a Take Pride In America award to be presented Sept. 30 at the White House’s Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C.

The Master Naturalist program is a joint effort of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas Cooperative Extension. It recruits citizen volunteers to learn in-depth natural history and wildlife habitat conservation skills.

Take Pride in America is a U.S. Department of the Interior national partnership program that supports and recognizes volunteers who work to improve public parks, forests, grasslands, reservoirs, wildlife refuges, cultural and historic sites, local playgrounds, and other recreation areas.

Each year, awards program winners are selected by a panel of judges from hundreds of qualified nominations representing outstanding examples of stewardship across the United States. This year, there are 25 National Award winners, representing projects and events in more than 15 states.

There are 11 categories of Take Pride in America Awards. The Texas Master Naturalist program and Take Pride Florida both won in the State category.

Begun in 1997, the Texas Master Naturalist program seeks to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach and service dedicated to natural resources and natural areas. Master naturalists receive certification after completing 40 hours of basic training and providing at least 40 hours of volunteer service annually.

Since inception, the program has gained 33 self-sufficient, volunteer-led chapters; certified 2,751 master naturalists who volunteered 356,127 hours worth an estimated $6.25 million in avoided labor costs; conducted educational outreach to 871,597 youth, adults and private landowners; and partnered with more than 250 organizations.

Complete information on the Texas Master Naturalist program, including listings of local chapters across the state, is on the program Web site.

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