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Florida Master Naturalist Program

Florida Master Naturalist Program

Who We Are

Dr. Martin Main

Program Leader

Dr. Main began developing the Florida Master Naturalist Program (FMNP) in 1999 following a 1998 south Florida eco-heritage workshop. He realized the great need for a professional development education program on Florida's natural history. "I believe that most people are genuinely interested and concerned about nature, and that as they learn more, their level of interest and concern increases. I was surprised, however, at the tremendous response to the FMNP, which I think is a very good indication that Floridians will work hard to ensure healthy environments, clean water, and diverse wildlife are available for future generations to enjoy."

Dr. Main has since contributed to the development of Master Naturalist programs in many other states and has won many awards. He is a Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida.

Shelby Sowder

FMNP Registrar

Shelby and the UF/IFAS Office of Conferences and Institutes have worked with the FMNP since the first class launched in 2001. Shelby ensures that all registrations, finances, class logistics, and course materials are in order. She coordinates with FMNP instructors to post current course offerings and assist participants with the course registration process. Shelby’s professionalism and enthusiasm make her an instrumental partner in the success of the FMNP.

Savannah Gardner

FMNP Program Assistant

Savannah is responsible for coordinating social media and marketing for the FMNP. She manages the official FMNP Facebook and Instagram, and monitors affiliate pages for accuracy and integrity. Savannah compiles the FMNP newsletter and approves course agendas for FMNP courses. If you have interesting photos, links, or stories to share with the FMNP, you can send them to Savannah. Her passion for the great outdoors and sharing stories about Florida's natural habitat is invaluable to our program.

Caitlin Robison

FMNP Program Assistant

Caitlin supports program logistics in the state FMNP office. Her regular tasks including managing website data; updating instructor and graduatet records, summarizing program impacts, and course evaluations; contributing to newsletter content; updating program files; and other special projects as needed. Caitlin recently received her MA in Anthropology at the University of Florida in 2022. 

Group photo of the FMNP Advisory Board taken at the Cade Museum in Gainesville, FL

Advisory Board

The FMNP Advisory Board serves to guide the FMNP towards fulfilling its mission of promoting awareness, understanding, and respect of Florida's natural world among Florida's citizens and visitors. The Board is composed of 15 dedicated instructors and graduates that are passionate about the Florida Master Naturalist Program.

The Board consists of 4 Instructor Officers, serving a 2-year term:

  • President (Amanda Thompson, St. Lucie County Environmental)
  • Vice President (Chad Truxall, Marine Discovery Center)
  • Past-President (Katherine Clements, Sarasota County Extension)

One Instructor Board Member from each FMNP Region, serving a 2-year term:

  • Northwest (Chris Verlinde, UF/IFAS Extension)
  • North Central (Rosalyn Killcollins, independent contractor)
  • Northeast (Allan Hallman, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)
  • Central West (Jason Robertshaw, Mote Marine Lab)
  • Central (Pam McDonald, Circle B Bar Reserve)
  • Central East (Chad Truxall, Marine Discovery Center)
  • Southwest (Sarah Falkowski, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve)
  • Southeast (Ana Zangroniz, UF/IFAS Miami-Dade County)

And 3 FMNP Graduate Representatives (serving a 1-year term):

  • Ellen Biella 
  • Chester Butler 
  • Barbara Howard 

Training Partners

We greatly appreciate the organizations that have formed partnerships with the University of Florida/IFAS to offer Florida Master Naturalist Program classes through their facilities.

FMNP courses are posted throughout the year, so while you may not see courses on our schedule in your area at the moment, that doesn't mean one won't be held soon. If there are no classes listed in our schedule for your area, contact your local Instructor Team via the list of regions on the Course Locations page