Upstate Master Naturalist Class
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)
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.
For the Upstate Master Naturalist Class to be a valuable educational experience, we only take 20 participants each fall.
The popularity of the Upstate Master Naturalist Program generated a notification (waiting) list starting in 2011. That list grew so large, with up to six years of possible participants, that we discontinued taking names for two years. We now keep a waiting list of 60 people.
Following registration completion in June of 2024 from the 60 people currently on the notification list, the list will be reopened in July 2024 to accept 20 more names. The 60 people on the new notification list will have a chance to register in June 2025 for the fall 2025 class.
When registration opens, an email is sent to all 60 people on the notification list, and the first 20 to register will be in the class. Those left on the notification list will be carried over to the following year.
The notification (waiting) list for the 2024 Upstate Master Naturalist Class is full.