New conservation program needs volunteers

It seems that volunteers are often in short supply when it comes to conservation efforts within any given community. So Orange County Extension Agent Roy Stanford is looking for a few good men … and women.

Stanford said his office is partnering with both the Texas Agrilife Extension and Texas Parks and Wildlife organizations to start a Texas Master Naturalist program, which will help develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas, according to the Master Naturalist Web site, within the Golden Triangle.

“Becoming a volunteer will require 52 hours of training,” Stanford said. “Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age and be able to do hands-on training in the field.”

Stanford said this is the first time Orange County has attempted a Texas Master Naturalist program, and once organized, program volunteers will work with Hardin and Jefferson counties as well.

“About five years ago, there was a program such as this developed in the Jefferson and Chambers counties, but Orange has never been involved in anything like this,” he said. “Some of the areas we will be training our volunteers will be at the Nature Conservancy in Hardin County, Village Creek in Lumberton, the J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area in Port Arthur and at Shangri-La here in Orange.”

Volunteers will receive training in the areas of natural resources, mammals, insects, birds and wetland areas, he said.

“We will begin training in September and will conclude in January,” he said.

For more information on volunteer training, call the Orange County Extension office at 882-7010.

For more information on the Texas Master Naturalist program, go to online.