Charleston Master Naturalist Program

Charleston Master Naturalist Program host site logo

Sponsor:         Charleston County Parks

Location:         Caw Caw Interpretive Center

Date:              Spring class (March - May) | Fall class (September - November)

Time:              8:00-5:00 for most classes

Admission:      $600 to include a "Master Naturalist toolkit"

Contact:          Keith McCullough
Phone:             (843) 762-8015


The Charleston Master Naturalist course is for adults of all ages who want to better understand and protect the rich natural resources of South Carolina. While focusing on the coastal environments in and surrounding Charleston County, participants will sharpen their identification skills, learn to “read” landscapes, and develop an understanding of ecological relationships and issues across the SC Lowcountry. Graduates have the opportunity to participate in the Coastal Master Naturalist Association which continues the learning process through coordinated field trips, outings with professional naturalists, and volunteer opportunities.

The Charleston Master Naturalist course consists of an evening orientation on the first course date followed by 12 full days of classes on Tuesdays during the Spring and Fall of each year. Organized and conducted by the Interpretation Department within the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission (CCPRC), the course begins with explorations of the Caw Caw Interpretive Center, a nearly 1,000 acre CCPRC property that has many distinct habitats rich in natural and cultural history. Other potential target sites include the Francis Marion National Forest, Bonneau Ferry WMA, Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve, and Bennett’s Point Field Station. Through visiting sites such as these and hearing from specialists such as Drs. Richard Porcher, Joel Gramling, Al Segars, and Joe Kelley, participants will discover the importance and complexity of topics such as watersheds, estuaries, barrier island ecology, Carolina Bays, and Hammock Islands.

The only prerequisite for this course is curiosity and a desire to learn about the natural world! Registration begins July 1 for the Fall course and January 1 for the Spring Course.

Listen to Thomas Thornton's song That's What a Master Naturalist Does. Thomas is Caw Caw Interpretive Center's Park Manager and has written numerous songs for use in his work.

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