The four-day event, packed with contests, special programming and a variety of expert speakers and presenters, is open to anyone looking to learn more about the natural world around them in Texas.
Mary Pearl Meuth, Texas Master Naturalist Program assistant state coordinator, Bryan-College Station, says this annual meeting will have something for just about everyone interested in nature, natural resource management and conservation.
“We’ll have presentations covering everything from citizen science projects and bird migration to pollinators and planting natives in a backyard wildscape,” Meuth said.
Registrants can expect four days of engaging presentations with interactive chats and video calls with renowned speakers from across the wildlife, nature and conservation spectrum.
Cost to attend
The Texas Master Naturalist is offering a reduced registration cost this year. All attendees can attend the annual meeting for a non-refundable flat rate of $55. Registration includes access to more than 90 general sessions, virtually offered technical sessions, and other fun surprises offered the weeks surrounding the annual meeting.
As an added bonus, the earliest registrants will be mailed a “virtual registration box” with Texas Master Naturalist-themed desktop and connect-from-home items, including a mystery naturalist-themed book donated by the event’s sponsor, TAMU Press. These items will be mailed mid- to late-September and will arrive prior to the annual meeting.
“We’re excited to offer these boxes this year,” Meuth stated. “The first 250 registrants will receive a box of goodies to use while joining the annual meeting—full of items to keep them company while they log in and participate.”
Those who aren’t able to snag a virtual registration box will have the option to purchase one and additional 2020 annual meeting and other new Texas Master Naturalist merchandise items through the AgriLife Bookstore.
What to expect
This year’s featured speakers are Jaime Gonzalez, program director with Houston Healthy Cities and the Texas Chapter of The Nature Conservancy; Merlin Tuttle, Ph.D., founder of Merlin’ Tuttle’s Bat Conservation; Travis Longcore, Ph.D., associate adjunct professor at the University of California Los Angeles Institute of the Environment and Sustainability; and Doug Tallamy, Ph.D., author and professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware.
In conjunction with the annual meeting, Texas Master Naturalist is also hosting a photo and art contest, video contest, and will be awarding prizes for chapter projects and outstanding chapter advisors.
The virtual meeting also includes special evening programs, quiz bowl competitions and the annual town hall meeting and awards ceremony. All registrants will automatically be signed up for these general sessions and will have access to a session list and agenda matrix during the registration process to sign up for the various programs of their choosing throughout the day.
Meeting coordinators encourage registrants to take their time working through the list of sessions. Those who wish to do so can complete registration and update their agenda section at a later date closer to the event.
New this year is a web-based version of the Texas Master Naturalist annual meeting app, launching in early fall. The app will allow attendees to connect to each webinar session, contribute to the attendee discussion board, and vote for various contests.
Meuth said the meeting coordinators will also use the app to communicate with attendees, make announcements, share videos from and adjust their personal agendas, in the event of session overlap.
General sessions are not required, but do provide registrants with great opportunities to reconnect, network and stay up to date with the Texas Master Naturalist Program.
Registrants are encouraged to visit the Facebook event page and follow Texas Master Naturalists on Facebook to stay up to date with announcements about the annual meeting and programming throughout the year.