(SPRING ISLAND, S.C.) – As part of the initial development plan for Spring Island, a 3,000 acre South Carolina nature community, the LowCountry Institute was founded and housed on the island. One of the “flagship” educational programs of the LowCountry Institute is the Master Naturalist course. Registration is open now for the fall 2010 session that meets Mondays from September 20 – December 6. Space is limited to 23 students. Register now at the LowCountry Institute.

The fall Master Naturalist course is a 12-session program that meets on Mondays from September 20 – December 6. Class sessions last from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and are held in locations throughout the lowcountry, including Spring Island. Cost of the course is $600 - covering all field trips, nine guide books, a course manual, course materials, and instruction by the region's top naturalists.

“Individuals who participate in the Master Naturalist Program bring diverse skills and experiences and contribute time, energy and ideas in maintaining the native eco-systems throughout the low country,” said Chris Marsh, Director of the LowCountry Institute and the Spring Island Trust. “After receiving training, Master Naturalists become members of the Lowcountry Master Naturalist Association. Through the Association graduates participate in many different types of volunteer activities that include assisting in a nature outreach programs at a nature center or school; assisting a scientist collecting bird census data; collecting data on water quality or many others.”

The South Carolina Master Naturalist Program is sponsored by Clemson University, and the LowCountry Institute serves as the regional partner. LowCountry Institute teaches four classes annually, one of which is specifically for teachers, and has graduated over 375 Master Naturalists since it became the host for this program in 2003.

The LowCountry Institute works closely with the Spring Island Trust; both established with great foresight by the developers of Spring Island. The Spring Island Trust focuses on conservation and preservation issues on Spring Island proper, while the LowCountry Institute reaches beyond the 3,000-acre island and covers the entire low country region.

The establishment of these conservation organizations helped Spring Island earn the Urban Land Institute's Sensitive Development Award with an Official Statement of Special Award reading: "Spring Island is a purist's recreational community that focuses on protecting its environmental heritage. Its no- and low-impact land and habitat management philosophy emphasizes economic viability, community livability, and environmental sensitivity in preserving an authentic piece of South Carolina's Lowcountry for future generations."

Spring Island
Spring Island is a 3,000-acre South Carolina Lowcountry golf community 25 minutes from Hilton Head and Beaufort, and 30 minutes by boat from Port Royal Sound and the open Atlantic Ocean. Spring Island is limited to no more than 410 families on the 3,000 acres with 1,200 acres protected as nature preserve. Spring Island offers the finest amenities man and nature can offer to include: championship golf, world class fresh- and salt-water fishing, equestrian, tennis, quail hunting, nature center, fine and casual dining options, and a wide variety of educational pursuits.

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