Winyah Master Naturalist

| Stewardship Program

The Winyah Naturalist Program provides training opportunities for community members to develop the skills necessary to become active volunteer stewards of coastal South Carolina habitats. The 12 week course is offered in the spring. Participants meet once a week to explore coastal habitats with local experts, practice identification skills, learn ecological concepts, discuss the natural history and examine human impacts on the environment. 

  • Develop naturalist observation and recording skills.
  • Understand basic biological and ecological concepts.
  • Learn to read the natural history of a landscape.
  • Analyze environmental issues.
  • Cultivate good environmental stewardship practices.
  • Explore unique habitats of the South Carolina Coast.
  • Meet others who share your fascination with the natural world

Winyah Naturalists are certified through the SC Master Naturalist program, a SC Cooperative Extension program administered through the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources of Clemson University in cooperation with various partners around the state. Participants completing the course and 30 hours of approved volunteer work will receive a Master Naturalist certification and will be eligible to join a local chapter and participate in advanced volunteer training courses.

No special equipment is required to participate in the course other than a good pair of shoes that can get wet and muddy.  A backpack, binoculars, and camera are recommended. This is a field-based class that involves some off-trail hiking where there may be a lack of bathroom facilities, and exposure to heat, cold, rain, insects, water, mud and fun.

Spring 2020 Course Information

The spring 2020 course will be held on Fridays, March 20th to June 12th, generally from 8:30 to 3:00. Registration is through Clemson and will be open until March 1, 2020 or the class is filled.


Date Location Topics
3/20 NI-WB Reserve Introduction, tools and skills
3/27  NI-WB Reserve  Ecological study techniques
4/3  Brookgreen Gardens  Intro to Birding and Botany
4/10 No Class  
4/17  Rocky Point  Rivers and Upland Forests
4/24  NI-WB Reserve  Salt marshes
5/1  Hobcaw Barony Forested wetlands
5/8  Francis Marion NF  Carolina bays, wild flowers
5/15  Huntington Beach SP  Beaches, marine invertebrates
5/22  Hobcaw Barony  Insects, night nature
5/29  NI-WB Reserve  BLITZ CREEK
6/5  Georgetown  Urban nature and issues
6/12 Kimbel Lodge Final exam, graduation and reunion

Upcoming Stewardship Program Events

March 2020
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Spring 2020 Master Naturalist

Registration is now open! Participants gain skills in nature interpretation, research methods, and resource protection through 12 day-long classes occurring on Fridays from March 20 to June 12. No formal background in the sciences is necessary.

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Stewardship Program Contact

Jennifer Plunket

Stewardship Coordinator
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