Upstate Master Naturalist Class

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 Sponsor:        Pickens County Extension partnered with SC State Parks and
                     SC Department of Natural Resources

Location:        Numerous natural areas of the Upstate (see list below)

Date:              August - November (each Thursday)

Time:              8:30 AM to 3:30 PM (most classes)

Admission:     $600.00

Contact:         Dr. James H. Blake
Phone:           (864) 898-8321

Upstate Master Naturalist Classes are led by content experts from Clemson University, SC State Parks, and SC Department of Natural Resources. Classes meet on Thursdays, and class times vary depending on field trip activities.

During this 12-week course, we will visit the Upstate's finest natural areas, including Jones Gap State Park, Table Rock State Park, King Creek, Oconee Station State Historic Site, Caesars Head State Park, Sassafras Mountain, Jocassee Gorges, Jumping Off Rock, Bunched Arrowhead Heritage Preserve, Lake Conestee Nature Park, and the Clemson Experimental Forest.

Participants will be responsible for their lunches and transportation to and from study sites. As part of the course fee, you will receive a Master Naturalist toolkit which includes a hand lens with a lanyard, a Master Naturalist manual, a write-in-the-rain notebook, and several field guides.

The Upstate Master Naturalist Class is an outdoor program. As such, access to some sites the class visits requires hiking on trails of moderate difficulty. Participants must be in good physical condition and able to walk 1-2 miles, without difficulty or assistance, over terrain with steep sections, where footing will be uneven, with frequent tree roots, rocks, muddy areas, and fallen tree trunks to climb or step over. Sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots are required. In addition, several sites do not have restroom facilities requiring the use of the woods. Do not register if you cannot meet the physical demands encountered in this course. The outings cannot be modified, as doing so would drastically impact the program's educational value.

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For the Upstate Master Naturalist Class to be a valuable educational experience, we only take 20 participants.

The popularity of the Upstate Master Naturalist Program generated a waiting list that started in 2011. That list grew so large, with up to six years of possible participants, that we discontinued taking names for two years. The waiting list was cleared in the summer of 2022. At that time, the list was reopened for less than two months, and there are 60 people on it. Acceptance of new names to the list was once again discontinued.

After registration is completed in July of 2023 from the 60 people currently on the waiting list, the waiting list will be reopened to accept 20 more names. The 60 people on what will be the new waiting list will have a chance to register in July 2024 for the fall 2024 class. 

An email will be sent to the 60 people on the waiting list, and the first 20 to register will be in the class. Those left on the waiting list will be carried over to the following year.

The method to add yourself to the waiting list will be a link at the bottom of this page. That link will go live sometime in July. You will need to check often to see when it is available.

(link will be here for additions to the waiting list)