Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Rant: Ontario Nature's Master Naturalist Program




Thanks to my new found endeavors with twitter, I've recently learned that Ontario Nature has partnered with Lakehead University in Orillia to offer an Ontario Master Naturalist Program.

http://www.ontarionature.org/act/master_naturalist.php

It would seem that this is following in the footsteps of other "master naturalist" programs around North America. I had personally looked at the program offered in Florida, but it would seem to be offered by most states as well as some localized places in Canada (not to mention the registered professional biologist certification in British Columbia).

As you could imagine, becoming a certified "Master Naturalist" must be a fairly strenuous endeavor, right? Let's take a look:



"The program was established to recognize a superior level of knowledge and commitment among naturalists through a designation of Master Naturalist."

Sounds good to me...

"The OMNP involves a six-module course of study, along with a 30-hour volunteer commitment. Each of the six modules consists of a half-day session that combines class instruction and field observation."


What the duck?! Master-Naturalist status after three days worth of study? What the heck could you possibly learn after three days?


"Participants must complete all six modules."
While the topics covered seem reasonably diverse (no mammals?) my immediate surprise in obtaining this "master" certification after only three days of lesson/study was completely blown out of the water when I saw the dates for the course...

Nearly very Saturday...For half a day.... In freakin Orillia... From the beginning of MAY to the end of JUNE????? What self-respecting Ontario Naturalist has time to spare during May and June?

...

Ok.. I've settled down again. I'm sure the intentions of this program are nothing but the best. I expect many a young (or older) person will take part, and will be quite excited to add "Master Naturalist" to their resume or profile, but I still can't help but think this will inevitably cloud/confuse the situation for people less familiar with what being a naturalist truly means...

But hey! For now, if you have $200 and 20 hours to spare, you too can become an Ontario Master Naturalist. Check back for my next blog post when notification of the advanced "Super Master Naturalist" program is announced.




PeregrinePrints.com... Rants Disclaimer: I could probably complain about anything.

16 comments:

  1. That is a great rant, Brandon, and I completely agree....the portrayal that this is a 'master naturalist' level is bordering on being fraudulent! It is entry level at best.

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  2. We received a resume for summer contract work a few weeks back from an applicant boasting a "vegetation inventory rate of 2.8 ha per hour". Somebody is cashing in on the certification market.

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  3. HAHAHAA here I was wasting my time spending the past 20 years studying nature when I could have just learned it all in a few days. Awesome rant!

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  4. Perhaps they should have called it "Introduction to Natural History" ???

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  5. Yea, really the only problem with the whole course is the title and description. It is confusing and misleading...

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  6. Great posting about Ontario Nature's Master Naturalist Program, amazing pictures , thank for sharing

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  7. Hey how about that Great Lakes ice cover. If we get a couple of very calm days in the next week we could see most of Lake Ontario freeze over, something that has not happened in a very long time. Don`t know where those Oldsquaws would go! Keep on top of it!

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    1. Never fear! I'm watching as best i can... I'm out of country today (since Friday night) - but should be home early enough this evening and tomorrow to see how the lake looks at home (and watch the Canadian Ice service)... Tonight is the night for ice formation - and perhaps I'll write a post tomorrow if something really exciting happens!

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  8. It's like those ornithology majors who can't ID more than 15 species of birds.

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  9. This is a sham. A real slap in the face of anyone who has invested years of study and thousands of dollars to achieve a BSc or Masters in biology. There is no support behind this, and no structure in place to monitor the 30 volunteer hours that are to be logged in after the 6 modules are completed. Lots more to rant about, but the original blog states some good points.

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  10. Hi Brandon,
    Great blog! As the comments are indicating, this venture between Lakehead and Ontario Nature is suspect. What is basically a 'night course' has been falsely advertised (at least insinuated) as a university affiliated Masters education program. I hope that this program is withdrawn and re-thought before being launched again.

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  11. Seems to be some insecure naturalist and biologists out there. I don't feel my B.Sc. and M.Sc. are in any way threatened or compromised by a certificate master naturalist program. Get a grip!

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    1. Well I don't have my bsc or msc! But I still think the course name is dumb ;)

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  12. As much as we could argue about the course name, look up what naturalist means. There is no way to formalize the meaning of this term into a professional designation. This course is not designed to turn an amateur into a professional and give them the arguable title of master naturalist after 3 days of study. Actually, participants will be given course materials to learn between the sessions and the sessions spread out to give people time to learn. Perhaps there is more to the program than people suspect. If you don't like it, don't take it, and don't complain cuz I don't want to hear it. Go outside already!

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    1. Oh Anonymous, you're so.... anonymous... And clearly involved in the program in some way, shape or form if you can't see the problems here :)...

      Master (adjective) -

      "having or showing very great skill or proficiency."

      Naturalist -

      "an expert in or student of natural history."


      Put those two together - and guess what - this course isn't going to provide that combined defintition... So why sell it that way?

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