Sharing Nature Through the Master Naturalist Program

Christie Hill, Naturalist Manager, CIG


I have had the pleasure of coordinating a program at CNC for adults seeking to further their education about nature; to master the art of being a naturalist! The Georgia Master Naturalist program at the University of Georgia explores natural history and environmental topics. This program is a hands-on environmental education course that examines habitats and ecosystems in Georgia and human impacts on those environments. The sessions are customized to local habitats such as swamps, ponds, rivers, wetlands, mountains, forests, farms, urban landscapes, and the issues affecting these habitats. This program is a combination of lectures and outdoor hands-on learning through field studies and relevant resources. An informed person can make changes in their life and community to help safeguard the environment. After completing this fun and interactive program, Georgia Master Naturalists are encouraged to share their knowledge with their communities by volunteering in local schools or nature centers.

CNC offers this in a series of programs – nine full days over nine months, studying many facets of the natural world, attracting adult learners from all backgrounds: from ecologists to artists and medical professionals to educators. We all bring our experiences to share while we learn and build on the knowledge we have individually, at any level, of the complex world of nature.

Class members discovered many “a-ha” moments as the series progressed this year. We began to make connections between each session – what class members knew before the class and what was learned throughout. We recorded moments in our journals and, during our last wrap-up session, discussed how so many things came together for us.  All things truly are connected.  Fungus has a relationship with plants, lichen is neither plant nor fungus but exists everywhere, and the life of the box turtle, Red-tailed hawk, and people depend on it all!  It is a joy to immerse oneself in the natural world for these brief periods amidst our normal day-to-day responsibilities.  Learning and understanding more about our environment can only improve our quality of life, while extending this knowledge to others can significantly impact our choices and the health of the world we share. It’s never too late to keep learning – and it is an honor to be able to host such a quality program for those interested in learning more about the natural world.


The 2023-24 Master Naturalist Program at CNC begins again on September 13, 2023, and goes through May 2024.  Registration opens July 1st.

Check out our Adult Programs Website for more information on the Master Naturalist program, or contact Christie Hill at