The first class in a new master naturalist program at the Connecticut Audubon Society’s Center at Fairfield has graduated.

Eleven people from Fairfield and area communities received certification in May in the nationally recognized program after completing more than 40 hours of both classroom and field training led by environmental education and conservation professionals, according to an announcement from Connecticut Audubon.

The class included: Joe File, Mary Hogue, Jane Purcell and Nancy Sargent, all of Fairfield; Carol Hamilton of Easton; Susan Ernst, Meral Prewitt and Vinny Manjony of Stratford; Tim Rodgers of Monroe; Susan Carlson of Scarborough, N.Y., and Tony Pappantoniou of Hartsdale, N.Y.

The graduates will use their training in volunteer capacities at Connecticut Audubon’s Center at Fairfield, including leading nature walks and education events in the Larsen Sanctuary, building birdhouses, or helping behind the scenes in the office or nature store.

“Our community will benefit greatly from the time, effort and enthusiasm these class members have put into their training,” Nelson North, the Center at Fairfield’s director of operations, said in a statement. “Their contributions as educators and conservationists will inspire others to feel a greater connection to the beauty and wonder of Connecticut’s natural world and to the importance of preserving it on any scale, from protected sanctuaries to backyards.”

Visit for a complete list of Connecticut Audubon Society’s programs and special events.