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Entomology for the Naturalist On Demand is a Course

Entomology for the Naturalist On Demand

Time limit: 120 days

$200 Enroll

Full course description

Entomology for the Naturalist


Presented by

Dr. Austin Jenkins

Honorary Statewide SC Master Naturalist


Sponsored by the

South Carolina Master Naturalist Program


A Message from Dr. Austin Jenkins:


One time a professor of entomology at Clemson University asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I told him I wanted to be a naturalist. He said I was in the right place and to start with insects, as they are more abundant and diverse than any other group of organisms. “If you study insects,” he said, “you’ll have an understanding for almost everything in the natural world.” His suggestion is the motivation for this course, entitled Entomology for the Naturalist. It is a fully online, asynchronous course exploring insects from a naturalist’s perspective.


My professor was correct: insects are integral for an understanding of nature. Indeed, nature is mostly insects.


I hope you will join me on this adventure into their world. It is a fascinating place to dwell and a study bound to make life more understood than ever before.


Course Description:


“Entomology for the Naturalist” will explore the evolution, natural history, and characteristics of insects and their kin, including the numerous reasons for their incredible success. The course will survey the vast insect diversity, focusing on the groups of insects you will most likely encounter in nature. Common South Carolina species from each group are shown and discussed. Later in the course, we see how these different species interact with one another and the broader ecosystem by investigating insect ecology, covering symbiosis, pollination, and social behavior. Finally, we look at a few interactions insects have with humans, including ways to find and observe the wonderful world of insects on your own.


A few course details:

  • The course is a series of 30 lectures, approximately 30 minutes each, for a total video time of 14.5 hours.
  • No textbook is needed for this course. Supplemental material is provided in an online format.
  • You must have high-speed internet to access the course through Clemson Online.
  • There is no interaction with the instructor. This is a fully online, asynchronous course. There will be a discussion board where you can interact with other students.
  • The registration fee for the course is $200.00.
  • You can register for the class at any time.
  • Your access to the class will end 120 days from the day of your registration. That gives you roughly 4 months to view and review all the class lectures.
  • There are no quizzes or tests.
  • An evaluation of the class will be released near the end of the course. We would greatly appreciate your assistance by providing suggestions for improving the course.


Course Certificate:

Participants must complete 26 of the 30 lectures to earn a certificate. For those that meet this requirement, a certificate is available online. You can add your name to the certificate and print a copy.


SC Master Naturalist Advanced Training Hours:


SC Master Naturalists can earn 14.5 hours of Advanced Training credit. This course does not count towards certification as a Statewide SC Master Naturalist.


Lectures include the following topics, with some topics broken into multiple lectures.


Introduction to the Course


Introduction to Insects  


Sampling for Insects




Ants, Bees, and Wasps Part


Butterflies and Moths




True Bugs


Grasshoppers, Crickets, and Katydids




Caddisflies, Mayflies, and Stoneflies


Lice, Roaches, and Fleas


Termites, Antlions, and Earwigs


Walking sticks and Mantids


Insect Ecology - Social Behavior


Insect Ecology - Honeybees


Insect Ecology - Pollination


Insect Ecology - Symbiosis, Community Interactions


Insects and Us


Austin Jenkins is a native of Camden, SC. He received his undergraduate degree studying biology at The Citadel and his MS and PhD degrees from Clemson University while studying various organisms. He is an instructor for the popular SC Master Naturalist Program through Clemson Extension and the SC Wildlife Federation, where he is a former chair and emeritus board member. Jenkins was the first executive director of the Katawba Valley Land Trust. For the past ten years, Jenkins has taught at USC Sumter, where his courses include The Natural History of South Carolina and Environmental Biology. His awards there include the Hugh Stoddard Outstanding Faculty Award, the Student Government Teacher of the Year Award, and the Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award.