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Rhonda J. Ferree

Rhonda J. Ferree
Former Extension Educator, Horticulture

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Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog

Master Naturalist Trainees Explore Smartphone Apps

Our Extension Unit launched the Master Naturalist program this fall by training 20 new volunteers. Training began on August 31st with a session on the Natural Division of Illinois and another on Understand the Natural World. Since then they've explored an arboretum, prairie, and Wildlife Prairie Park. They've learned about snakes and reptiles, mammals and prairies in an up close and personal way. Their training continues until the end of November and is chocked full of environmental education topics.

Trainees not only learn from their instructor. They also learn from each other. In particular, I find it fun to watch them share and discuss the many smartphone and iPad apps available. One student loves the Audubon identification apps for wildlflower, birds, trees, and more. Another thought he liked his tree ID app, until it told him that an oak was a maple. The bird song app was helpful to all as they tried to identify birds during the ornithology class.

Many more apps are out there. I created a Pinterest board for nature and gardening apps. Check it out at

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