Discovery Park of America Offers Courses as Part of the Tennessee Naturalist Program

Union City, Tenn.—Beginning Fall 2020, Discovery Park of America will begin offering education courses as part of the Tennessee Naturalist Program (TNP) that are designed to introduce the natural history of Tennessee to interested adults. The courses will be administered by Kayce Workman, Discovery Park’s aquarium and wildlife assistant director.

The courses are being made available in partnership with the University of Tennessee at Martin Environmental Field Station.

The mission of the TNP is to teach Tennesseans about nature in the state, instill an appreciation of responsible environmental stewardship and channel volunteer efforts toward education of the general public and conservation of Tennessee’s natural resources.

“Since we first opened to the public, a big part of the mission of Discovery Park has been to provide experiences that inspire guests to want to find out more about our region’s natural resources,” said Workman, “This course is just a natural continuation of the classes and programs we’ve been doing for years.”

A dedication to educating the public about Tennessee’s natural resources is evident at Discovery Park, which features a man-made river flowing through the extensively landscaped property, along with waterfalls, bridges and art installations. The water, drawn from a natural underground aquifer, is used to turn the waterwheel on the gristmill on its way to the lake. Depending on the time of year and day, a stroll through the park’s roughly two miles of walking path may include sightings of some of the animals who call the park home, including rabbits, turtles, ducks, geese and herons. Many species of fish can also be found in the two lakes on the property.

Individuals who complete Discovery Park’s TNP course will gain an understanding of native ecosystems throughout the state. After the course, Tennessee Naturalists may participate in many different types of volunteer activities, such as helping a nature outreach program at a park, museum, nature center, or school, assisting in collection of scientific data for bird census, water quality assessment, or rare plant monitoring, and working with trail maintenance or habitat restoration projects.

“This program is truly special and being able to see the courses taught at Discovery Park is especially exciting,” said Kristin Hopkins, TNP board president. “I know those in Northwest Tennessee who have a passion for the natural resources of our state are going to appreciate having this great opportunity so close to home.”

The classes are open for adults ages 18 and older will be held on Saturday mornings beginning Aug. 29, 2020 at 8 a.m. and Discovery Park’s health and safety guidelines for guests will be in effect. The 10 classes are limited to just 20 participants and costs $250 for all 10 days and all class materials. A schedule of classes with more information is located at DiscoveryParkofAmerica.com/TNP and registration will open on the TNP website on June 1, 2020.

Photo Caption: Kayce L. Workman, Discovery Park of America’s aquarium and wildlife assistant director, pictured with Groot, an albino corn snake. Workman will be leading Discovery Park’s chapter of the Tennessee Naturalist Program.