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About NATA

Our Mission

To create a network of land managers with current knowledge and skills to conserve Florida's resources. 

A Brief History

Nearly two decades ago, a group of visionary natural resource professionals recognized the value of developing a standardized training program for natural areas managers in Florida. These enterprising individuals convened a group of experienced land management professionals representing numerous agencies and organizations to summarize the expertise and skills they believed job candidates would need to be competitive for jobs in their respective agencies and organizations, which was then packaged into a series of multi-day workshops. To meet the demand for trained personnel, the Natural Areas Training Academy was developed to deliver these workshops through a partnership of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the University of Florida IFAS Extension. 

Why NATA is Important

Natural areas managers in the Southeastern United States face unique challenges due to the region's distinct climate, hydrology, and the prevalence of fire maintained ecosystems. Managing our lands to protect natural resources for future generations requires an extensive breadth of expertise that is typically not acquired through formal academic education. 

Our Objective

To provide training that is relevant, adaptable, affordable, of high value, cost-effective, that fills a unique niche, and that results in a certificate of course completion.

We bring together regional natural areas management experts from numerous agencies and organizations to provide training and share experiences with less experienced natural areas managers. 

Annual Report

Click here to read our 2021 annual report.

The NATA Team


Dr. Shelly Johnson, PhD

State Specialized Agent, Natural Resources
Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
IFAS Extension, University of Florida
faculty page  and  website



Training Coordinator

Jessica Therriault

Jessica Therriault

CONTACT the training coordinator by email for all questions about upcoming NATA courses!


Natural Areas Training Academy (NATA)
IFAS Extension, University of Florida