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Master Naturalist Program produces 21 graduates

November 6, 2013
By BOB PETCHER ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer



1. Twenty-one graduates from the Florida Master Naturalist course entitled Upland Habitats at Ostego Bay Foundation proudly pose for a photo. Seven of the 21 completed all three courses (Freshwater Wetlands and Coastal Systems were the others) to receive certificates and a Florida Master Naturalist designation.

2. Elizabeth Frank-Bailey (with partner Michael Bailey, not pictured) presented a group project on venomous snake bikes.

Ostego Bay Foundation's Florida Master Naturalist course entitled Upland Habitats was another success in terms of graduation (the course was full) and knowledge gained within the particular Florida's natural systems program.

After five weeks of classes (40 hours) on each Thursday in October, 21 students graduated with a great base understanding of plants and animals that depend upon the state's natural systems and the role of humankind in shaping the past, of determining the future and as stewards of the land.

The course, which ended Oct. 31, provided classroom instruction, field trips and practical interpretive experience related to the general ecology, habitats, vegetation types, wildlife and conversation issues of Upland Habitats in Florida.A group project was also required after research.

Of the 21 students, seven have now graduated from all three core ecosystem modules and are designated Florida Master Naturalists. Besides Upland Habitats, they had previously completed courses in Freshwater Wetlands and Coastal Systems to receive the distinction, a Florida Master Naturalist "Master Certificate" and special recognition in an online database. Beach resident Cristina Denegre was among the seven.

Instructor Joanne Semmer, president of Ostego Bay Foundation, has enjoyed the full load of classes and the enthusiasm students have expressed towards learning about ecosystems and course highlights. Students have come as far as England, Canada and states from miles away.

"This class has been one of the best classes we have ever had," she said. "The people are wonderful, and we are having so much fun."

The next scheduled module is Coastal Systems each Thursday in January 2014 at Ostego Bay Marine Science Center at 718 Fisherman's Wharf on San Carlos Island.

To learn more about the program or register, go to or or call 765-8101 or 470-4993.


Here is an alphabetical list of the 21 graduates that completed the Upland Habitats module of the Florida Master Naturalist class. The seven that finished all three modules are marked by an asterisk.

- Kenneth Bailey Fenton, Mich.

- Michael Bailey Bonita Springs

- *Carlene Brennen Cape Cora

- *Daniel Cawlfield North Ft. Myers

- *Cristina Denegre Fort Myers Beach

- Robin Dugan Naples

- Janie Ewell Ospery

- Elizabeth Frank-Bailey Bonita Springs

- Philip Heubeck Lehigh Acres

- Bubby Howell Hilliard, Ohio

- *Ron Kerlin North Fort Myers

- Nancy Kilmartin Fort Myers

- Michele Miller Fort Myers

- Brandi Minchew Estero

- Sherri Newes Fort Myers

- Susan Plage St. Petersburg

- Debra Purdy Port Charlotte

- *Robert Purdy Port Charlotte

- *Rosemary Putnam Bonita Springs

- Helen Ramsey Sanibel

- *Karen Doyle Fort Myers



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