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 2023 Course Information

This year classes will be on Saturdays, starting at 8:30 AM and ending at 3 PM. We will be exploring North Inlet, Hobcaw Barony, Huntington Beach, the Black River Cypress Preserve, Francis Marion National Forest, and other fascinating local habitats as we develop skills to be stewards of our local habitats. Students will be participating in volunteer and community science projects throughout the class.

*We request all individuals participating in this course be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. 

Date Topics Location

Orientation, tools and techniques, ethics  for naturalists, observation skills

Hobcaw Barony Discovery Center
3/18 Bird ID basics and practice, shorebirds Santee Coastal Reserve
3/25  Rocks and Reptiles Hobcaw Barony
4/1 Botany, phenology, nature journaling, optional kayak trip Black River Cypress Preserve

No class- Easter break



No class

Independent project

4/22 Earth Day service project, urban issues Georgetown Recycle center
4/29 Estuaries, fish, marsh plants, invertebrates North Inlet
5/6 Coastal forests, wildlife observation methods Hobcaw Barony

Beaches, marine invertebrates, marine plastics

Huntington Beach State Park
5/20 Wetlands and wildflowers, Carolina bays Francis Marion NF
5/27 Insects, pond studies, night nature (note: evening class) Kimbel Lodge
6/3 Rivers, watershed TBD
6/10 FINAL EXAM Kimbel Lodge


Date Location Topics

Upcoming Stewardship Program Events

March 2023
No event found!

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Stewardship Program Contact

Jennifer Plunket

Stewardship Coordinator