Bays Mountain Park to Offer Tennessee Naturalist Program


KINGSPORT – Beginning March 30, Bays Mountain Park is excited to offer the Tennessee Naturalist Certification Program, a set of curriculum designed to introduce adults to the natural history of Tennessee.‚  Completion of the programs full requirements will qualify attendees to serve as interpretive naturalists.‚  Graduates join an elite group of Tennessee Naturalist Volunteers who provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the appreciation, understanding, and beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their community.

Following the introductory class, participants will receive 40 hours of instruction during 10 separate classes on various topics including geology, flora, wildlife, watersheds, as well as exposure to ecological concepts and conservation issues.‚  Each participant is also required to complete 40 hours of volunteer service and successfully pass a content-based post-course exam to receive certification.

The first session So You Want to be a Naturalist will introduce you to the overall program while covering course objectives and requirements.‚  Among the topics discussed are naturalist skills, tasks, tools used and a greater discussion on Tennessee Naturalists. Panel discussion among local partnering agencies will explore volunteer opportunities in this area.‚  An introduction to interpretive highlighting techniques and program design for all ages will be covered in the initial session as instructors lay the foundation and context for future classes.

Each class will be four hours in length and will include both classroom and field instruction.‚  The course fee is $250 and includes the introductory session plus all 10 program classes, a field notebook, hand lens, and a flash drive with course materials and course handouts.‚  The fee does not include any additional books and/or field guides.‚  A book list will be sent to prospective participants upon completion of registration.‚  To register, or for more information, contact Naturalist Krystal Haney at 423-229-9483, or via email at‚  Deadline to register is March 20.

Tennessee Naturalist Program Schedule

March 30, 4:00 p.m. – So you want to be a Naturalist

April 13, 4:00 p.m. – The Ecology and Geology of Tennessee

April 25, 9:00 a.m. – Feathered Friends: Birds of Tennessee

May 4, 4:00 p.m. – Forbs, Ferns, Fungi and More

May 23, 9:00 a.m. – Tennessees Living Waters

September 12, 9:00 a.m. – The World of Invertebrates: Pollinators, Predators, Pests & Parasitoids

October 12, 4:00 p.m. – Forests and Trees of Tennessee

November 7, 9:00 a.m. – Nocturnal Naturalist

January 11, 4:00 p.m. – The Furry Creatures of Tennessee

January 30, 9:00 a.m. – Book Discussion and How to Lead Hikes

February 8, 9:00 a.m. – Hooray for Herps

Bays Mountain Park is ranked as one of Tennessees Top 50 Most Visited Attractions, according to the State of Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, and welcomes over 150,000 visitors annually. It is one of the nations largest city-owned parks, boasting a 44-acre lake and nearly 40 miles of hiking trails across its 3,550 acres of mountains and forests. The parks attractions include a state-of-the-art planetarium, wildlife habitats specializing in species native to Tennessee, an interactive nature center, a ropes course with zip lines, and trails for mountain bikes, day hikers, and backpackers.