FORT MILL — Nature lovers can become certified S.C. Master Naturalists and join a regional corps of residents by attending an environmental training course beginning in March at the Anne Springs Close Greenway.
The Catawba Master Naturalist Program teaches participants how to explore the world around them, identify plants and animals, and better understand ecological concepts they can apply through volunteering in their communities.
“This training is perfect for people who want to learn how to read the land and understand the natural world,” said Buddy Faile, the greenway’s operations manager and himself a certified S.C. Master Naturalist. “Some people might work in related fields, while others just want to know more they can share with friends when they’re out hiking or bird watching or spending time outdoors.”
The 12-week course meets weekly to explore the culture and history of the Piedmont and includes field trips across upstate South Carolina to landmarks such as Forty Acre Rock, Lansford Canal State Park, Museum of York County, Kings Mountain Military and Congaree National Parks.
The course is based at the 2,100-acre greenway, which features 40 miles of trails, woodlands and pastures and waterways.
Master naturalists participate in volunteer activities, from assisting in nature outreach programs at parks, museums and schools, to helping conduct bird counts, to collecting water-quality data.
The course is from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays, March 5 through May 21. Cost is $600, which includes course materials, instruction and field trip expenses. Participants also receive a free one-year membership to the greenway. For information or to register, go to ascgreenway.com.