Training Opportunities

Matagorda Bay Birdfest | Whooping Crane Festival | Birdiest FestivalNew!
UTMSI Lectures | ABNC LecturesNew! | AgriLife Ed | ALL: TMN Tuesdays |
Texas Maritime MuseumNew! | Online AT | Get Training Ops from State

Find a new training opportunity?

  1. Check it against Criteria and against Advanced Training Approved in the Past.
  2. Fill out an approval request form if the opportunity is new and meets criteria.

Report here! TMN Hours Entry Login  ||  Get VMS Help here! VMS Links  ||  VMS Opportunity List

    Public Meeting: Big Tree Natural Area, Goose Island

    Tuesday 2/20 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at the Aquarium at Rockport Harbor Education Center

    The purpose of the meeting is to present initial plans and collect public input for new recreational facilities at the 80-acre site that expands on the existing location of the “Big Tree.” Maps showing proposed facilities and recreational use will be available. A question and answer session will follow the presentation. VMS Opportunity listing – AT: Single Presentation

    Note: Trail-building, public outreach and other volunteer opportunities will be available in this new area soon. 

    Bird Events at Goose Island State Park—Updated!

    February 2018:

    • Every Wed 8:30-11 am: Woodland Walk. Meet at the Day Use Area
    • Every Thu 4-5 pm: Beginning Birding Course. Meet at the Rec Hall
    • Every Fri 8:30-11 am: Big Tree Natural Area Walk. Check in early at HQ to get a tour ticket; then meet at Big Tree parking lot
    • Every Saturday 8:30-11 am: Shorebird Walk. Meet at the Rec Hall

    March 2018:

    • Every Wed 8:30-11 am: Shorebird Walk. Meet at the Rec Hall
    • Every Wed 3-4 pm: Beginning Birding Course. Meet at the Rec Hall
    • Every Thu 8:30-11 am except March 1: Woodland Walk. Meet at the Day Use Area
    • Every Fri 8:30-11 am: Shorebird Walk. Meet at the Rec Hall
    • Every Sat 8:30-11 am: Big Tree Natural Area Walk. Check in early at HQ  to get a tour ticket; then meet at Big Tree parking lot
    VMS Opportunity listing – AT: Single Presentation

    2nd Annual Matagorda Bay Birdfest—New!

    Saturday, February 17, 2018 at East Side Annex, 901 Second Street, Palacios TX. The festival is an educational event in partnership with The Palacios Prairie Wetlands.

    Presentations on habitat management, bird life on the Texas coast, and citizen science run concurrently, and preregistration in required. See complete details and registration. Presentations approved as advanced training are:

    Field Trips:
    • Bird tours
    • Kayak tours
    • Terry Blankenship – Habitat Management for Grassland Birds
    • Emma Shelly – Birds & Art: Science, Art, and Conservation
    • Fred Beck – Bird Photography Tips & Tricks
    • Liz Smith – Whooping Cranes Along the Texas Coast
    • Bill Balboa and Susan Heath – American Oystercatchers & Their Habitat
    • David Newstead – Rookeries on Texas’ Mid Coast
    • TBD – Citizen Science in Action
    • Joni Flores – History of the Brown Pelican in Texas
    VMS Opportunity listing – AT: Lecture Series presentation 

    Whooping Crane Festival—New!

    This festival is February 22-25, 2018 in Port Aransas. See the 2018 Whooping Crane Festival site for dates, times, costs, registration for individual events and more information. VMS Opportunity listing – AT: Lecture Series presentation 

    These sessions are approved as advanced training:


    • Dr. George Archibald, Pioneer in Whooping Crane Research, International Crane Foundation
    • Wade Harrell, U.S. Whooping Crane Coordinator
    • Jace Tunnell, Director, Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR)
    • Joe Duff, Co-Founder and CEO, Operation Migration
    • Dr. Richard Beilfuss, President and CEO, International Crane Foundation
    • Natalie Bourke, Wood Buffalo National Park
    • Colleen Simpson, Nature Preserve Manager, Port Aransas


    • Basic Birdwatching with Gary Clark
    • Shorebird Identification with Gary Clark
    • Photography with Kathy Adams Clark

    Field Trips:

    • Fennessey Ranch Tour
    • King Ranch Tour
    • Guided Animal Rehabilitation Keep Tour
    • Island Birding Van Tour
    • Shorebirds Trip with Gary Clark
    • Birds of Port Aransas and Mustang Island, Mikael Behrens

    Boat Tours:

    • Birding/Nature Boat Tour
    • Whooping Crane Tour, Wharf Cat

    Audubon TERN Chester Island Monitoring—New!

    Friday, March 16 10:00 am at Tim & Peggy Wilkenson’s home, 2455 Maple St. Port O’Connor, TX 77982

    This training is specifically for volunteers who wish to join the team monitoring Chester Island near Port O’Connor for the 2018 season. Training will include rookery island monitoring and how to enter results into the new database. Recommend viewing the online training videos: Opportunity listing – AT: Specific-Project

    Birdiest Festival in America—New!

    South Texas Botanical Gardens, Corpus Christi, beginning Thursday, April 19-22, 2018. See for details and to register. Workshops:

    • Solving Shorebird ID Pitfalls – Mel Cooksey
    • Introduction to Wildlife Photography – Dave Allen
    • Birding by Ear – Jeff Bolton
    • Counting Hawks by 100 – Dane Ferrell
    • Where Birding and Photography Merge – Iain Campbell
    • A Birding Tour of State Parks in South Texas – Ben Horstmann
    • Setting Up and Using a Camera Trap – Robert Benson
    • Birds of Nueces County – A Historical Checklist – Mel Cooksey
    • All trips, tours, bird walks
    VMS Opportunity listing – AT: Lecture Series presentation

    Coming Soon! iNaturalist Bioblitz Training!

    Chapter Advisor Trey Barron is planning a Bioblitz to teach interested Chapter members how to use iNaturalist, especially in TPWD Nature Tracker citizen-science service opportunities. Interested? Contact Trey Barron and watch this space for more information as it is developed. VMS Opportunity listing – AT: Specific-Project

    Aransas Bird and Nature Club Lectures

    ABNC brownbag meetings and lectures are held at the Aquarium at Rockport Harbor Education Center beginning at 11:30.

    • 2/14 – Big Tree Natural Area – Ben Horstmann
    • 3/21 – ‘Cause You’ve Got Personality – Birds with Charisma – Sally Mitchell
    • 4/11 – Young Birders program

    You do not have to be an ABNC member to attend these lectures. VMS Opportunity listing – AT: Lecture Series presentation

    AgriLife Extension Educational Series

    All sessions are held at the Aransas County AgriLife office at 892 Airport Road| Rockport, TX 78382 and from noon to 1:00 p.m. unless otherwise stated. VMS Opportunity listing – AT: Lecture Series presentation

    The following events are approved as advanced training for Mid-Coast Master Naturalists:

    • Mar 31 – Free Plants – Propagation Your Own
    • Apr 17 – Mosquitoes and the Zika Virus
    • Apr 28 – Legends of Texas Wildflowers
    • May 15 – Let’s Be Water Wise

    ARH Lecture Series

    All lectures are held at the Aquarium at Rockport Harbor Education Center, 706 Navigation Circle, Rockport, Texas 78382 beginning at 7:00 p.m unless otherwise stated. VMS Opportunity listing – AT: Lecture Series presentation

    Watch this space for next season’s lectures.

    Bay Education Center Bay Talks

    Mission-Aransas NERR Bay Talks are held at the BEC at 121 Seabreeze Drive, Rockport, Texas on Fridays from 12:00 to 1: p.m. VMS Opportunity listing – AT: Lecture Series presentation

    Watch this space for next season’s lectures.

    TMN Tuesdays: Academy of Lifelong Learning

    The Texas Master Naturalist Series, TMN Tuesdays, is provided by members of Mid-Coast Chapter, Texas Master Naturalist as part of the Academy of Lifelong Learning (ALL), a project of Victoria College. Attendees must be members of ALL. The annual membership fee is $50. Participants will learn about local plants, animals, and ecosystems as well as ways to enjoy and support our region’s natural resources. VMS Opportunity listing – AT: Lecture Series presentation

    Watch this space for next season’s lectures.  

    ALL Membership entitles you to participate in any of the Academy of Lifelong Learning activities offered during the fall and spring semesters at no additional charge, with the exception to a few activities that have a supply or travel fee. These are noted in the schedule. More information about ALL

    Texas Maritime Museum Lectures—New!

    These brown-bag lectures are offered at noon on Mondays at the Texas Maritime Museum, 1202 Navigation Circle, Rockport, TX 78382. VMS Opportunity listing – AT: Lecture Series presentation

    • Feb 5—Kelsey Gibson—”Real-Time Tracking of Texas’ Marine Apex Predators”
    • Feb 19—Dr. Amy Borgens—Update on her recent marine archeological projects
    • Feb 26—Dr. Christopher Mace—”The Effects of Hurricane Harvey on the Fisheries of Aransas Bay”
    • Mar 5—Dr. Wade Harrell and Laura Bonneau—Annual whooping crane update

    UTMSI Lecture Series

    The first three lectures will be held at Pioneer Beach Resort, 120 Gulfwind Drive, Hwy 361, Port Aransas; Feb 22 will be held at the Community Center, 408 N. Alister, Port Aransas. All Lectures start at 7:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) For more information contact Linda Fuiman via email, or call 361-749-6806. VMS Opportunity listing – AT: Lecture Series presentation

    • Feb 1—Celebrating a Legend: Tony Amos, Local naturalist—Jace Tunnell, Robyn Cobb, Dr Donna Shaver, others
    • Feb 8—An Overview of Hurricane Harvey and Impacts to the Coastal Bend—John Metz, National Weather Service
    • Feb 15—Swimming Through a Sea of Nonsense: Choosing Seafood that is Good for You and the Environment—Dr. Ken Webb, UTMSI
    • Feb 22—The Resilience of Wintering Habitat for Whooping Cranes: After Hurricane Harvey—Dr Liz Smith

    UTMSI Film & Discussion Series

    The following free films range in time from 15-60 minutes followed by a group discussion and have been approved as advanced training. Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 – 4 p.m. in the UTMSI Auditorium.

    Watch this space for next season’s lectures.

    Normally TMN State does not approve of movies and TV shows as advanced training, but the discussion led by UTMSI personnel adds an additional educational element. VMS Opportunity listing – AT: Lecture Series presentation

    Whooper Photo Analysis—another session TBD

    Dr. Liz Smith is in need of volunteers to look at photos and record animals—especially whooping cranes—using freshwater ponds in our area. Your participation will contribute to a much better understanding of whooping crane needs and behavior. Watch this space for the next training session next fall. VMS Opportunity listing – AT: Specific-Project

    Online Advanced Training

    Wildlife for Lunch Webinars

    Texas Wildlife Association has teamed with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension to host a series of webinars covering a wide array of wildlife and land management topics.  These FREE online webinars are held during the lunch hour (noon – 1 p.m., CST) so that anyone interested may tune in during the work day.  The webinar series provides sound, science-based wildlife management information delivered by experts to you in the comfort of your own home or office. Each web-based seminar is fully interactive and allows you to engage the experts, make comments and ask questions during the course of the presentation. VMS Opportunity listing – AT: Online Training

    For a full schedule of the 2017 Wildlife for Lunch webinar series, click here.
    Watch this space for 2018 information.

    Ornithology: Comprehensive Bird Biology

    Cornell Lab of Ornithology provides an online format enriched by videos and interactive animations. This self-paced course uses the new third-edition of the Handbook of Bird Biology textbook. Course learners earn digital badges for passing quizzes. Those who pass the course receive a printed certificate signed by Cornell Lab director Dr. John W. Fitzpatrick. Read more about the textbook and online course. Course enrollment costs $239 and the textbook costs $135 ($199 and $121.50, respectively, for Lab members). 

    Colonial Waterbird ID

    Online video details the differences between adult, juvenile and adult breeding coastal waterbirds including terns & gulls, egrets, herons, pelicans, skimmers, and spoonbills. Colonial Waterbird videoVMS Opportunity listing – AT: Online Training

    Trash/Fishing Line Impacts on Wildlife

    Two online videos from the Audubon Texas Estuarine Resource Network present:

    • why people litter and what can be done to change their habits (0.75 hrs)
    • how coastal trash, especially fishing line, is impacting pelicans and other coastal wildlife (0.50 hrs)

    VMS Opportunity listing – AT: Online Training

    Invaders of Texas Online Training

    Do you want to help slow the spread of harmful invasive plant species and reduce their ecological and economic damage? The first step is to locate where invaders have arrived and get that information to those who can do something about it. Approved training is now available online . Once you are trained, download the free app for your phone and go for it! VMS Opportunity listing – AT: Online Training

    Plant Walks

    Learn to identify the plants of the:

    • Aransas National Wildlife Refuge – Heron Flats Trail
    • Linda S. Castro Nature Sanctuary in Rockport
    • Sunset Lake Park in Portland
    • Welder Wildlife Refuge – River Walk or Nature Trail
    • Other locations at your request

    Training walks can be set up to study the plants in several seasons. Participants will learn to identify plants for their own pleasure, or to lead native plant walks for site visitors. If you are interested in the training, contact Kris Kirkwood. VMS Opportunity listing – AT: Single presentation

    Make your Own Training Opportunity

    If a new volunteer opportunity you are pursuing includes training, fill out the Training Approval Request. If the training is part of an approved volunteer service, it is automatically approved. Watch local news sources for seminars or classes on local-area ecosystems, wildlife, native plants, or natural resource management, check them against advanced training criteria. If the training seems to meet these criteria, request approval. If the Education & Training committee approves the training, it can be offered to the entire Chapter. Check the State ListServ email to see if other Chapters are offering training applicable to our area.

    Want to Get State Training Opportunities by E-Mail?

    Instructions for subscribing to the TMN ListServ, which makes state TMN information available by e-mail: 1. Click ListServe. 2. Leave the Subject line blank. 3. Type “subscribe TMN” (without the quotes)  in the body of the message, but don’t include anything else. 4. Press the Send button.

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