About the program
The California Naturalist Program promotes environmental literacy and stewardship through discovery and action. Many other states have similar naturalist programs, but this is the first statewide program in California.
Aspiring Naturalists enroll in a 40 hour course that combines classroom and field experience in science, problem-solving, communication training and community service. Students are taught by an instructor who is affiliated with a local nature-based center or natural resource focused agency. Upon completing certification requirements, participants are eligible for four academic through UC Davis Extension for an additional nominal fee.
Subjects covered include:
- plant communities
- and others
California Naturalist provides hands on instruction and exposure to real world environmental projects designed to inspire adults to become active citizen scientists and enhance their personal connection with the natural world. In addition to the course,
California Naturalists will be encouraged to complete 40 hours of volunteer service in one of four areas: program support, interpretation/education, restoration/conservation and/or citizen science.
Once you are certified, you will have opportunities to volunteer all over the state with various federal, state, local and non profit organizations. Naturalists can get involved in many different kinds of activities:
- Scientific research—plant identification or data collection
- Environmental monitoring—bird counts, stream sampling, invasive species monitoring
- Restoration or conservation plans—seed collection, native plant propagation and planting
- Education—developing signs or brochures or leading nature hikes to help make science more accessible to others through support for the Naturalist Program, or other outreach activities.
The California Naturalist Program will allow Californians to help protect and preserve our unique and diverse wildlife, habitats, river, lakes and coastal resources, wild and urban alike.