California Naturalist
California Naturalist
California Naturalist
University of California
California Naturalist

Advanced Trainings

Being a California Naturalist is a commitment to life long learning. Here you can find training opportunities being offered by CalNat Program partnering organizations as well as the University of California. These continuing education opportunities are, unless otherwise noted, open to the public (Certified Naturalist or not). We invite you to browse by entering key words in your interest area or location (e.g. salmon, Marin). This is a growing and ever evolving list so make sure to check back frequently!

If you work with a partnering organization please submit new training opportunities here.

Advanced trainings are listed chronologically. 

Grass ID

Organization Name
Hopland Research and Extension Center
Brief course description
Introduction to Grasses

The grass family is among one of the largest and most diverse groups of flowering plants in California with well over 500 species in 103 genera. We’ll explore the diversity of grasses through lecture, site visits, and identification exercises using dichotomous keys.  Grass identification is based largely on a good understanding of spikelet morphology, so participants will become acquainted to the terminology used to describe grasses then apply that to the identification of common native and exotic species in the field.  We’ll look at how habitat, disturbance, and other environmental factors influence grass distribution and how grasses serve as indicators of site condition.

Instructors: Kerry Heise and Geri Hulse-Stephens are botanical consultants based in Mendocino County. They use their knowledge of the Northwestern California flora conducting floristic surveys, designing and implementing rare plant monitoring studies, and collecting plant vouchers for local and regional herbaria. For several years they were instructors for the CNPS Plant Science Training Program and more recently they teach plant identification workshops locally.

Website for more information
Start date
06/02/17
County location
Mendocino County

Nature Blitz Field Studies and Exploration

Organization Name
Calaveras Big Trees Association
Brief course description
Here is your chance to immerse yourself in the Natural History of the Sierra Nevada at Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Join Doc Nancy for a day of in-depth nature exploration. In addition to topic presentation, walks and demonstrations, attendees will learn interpretive techniques as well. All walks are classed as “easy,” with the longest a 1.5 mile stroll around the North Grove. This program is free to all interested persons and is sponsored by CBTA. Persons can come to any or all parts of the Nature Blitz. Join Fulbright Scholar and retired NPS Park Ranger Nancy Muleady-Mecham, Ph.D. for this unique opportunity to learn so much about this very special place.

Website for more information
Start date
06/03/17
County location
Calaveras County

National Trails Day!

Organization Name
Effie Yeaw Nature Center
Brief course description

10:30am

Enjoy a hike in the EYNC nature area to show your support for our local trails. Learn about local wildlife and what you can do to help maintain the trails! 

 

This is a free weekend program for all ages. Donations gratefully accepted. Space is limited – sign-ups are taken the day of the event. We recommend you arrive 30 minutes prior to start time.
 

There is a $5 per car entrance fee into Ancil Hoffman County Park (Free to members).
Start date
06/03/17
County location
Sacramento County

OJAI MEADOWS RESTORATION TOUR

Organization Name
Ojai Valley Land Conservancy
Brief course description
The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy is hosting a talk and nature walk on the “Restoration of a Wetland” at the Ojai Meadows Preserve on Saturday, June 3 at 9 am. The walk will be led by OVLC docents Art Vander and John Pavelko. Participants will learn about the history, ecological significance, restoration activities, and recreational opportunities on the Ojai Meadows Preserve. This is a great time of year to visit this natural treasure of the Valley.

 

Art will lead you through the incredible transformation of the Preserve from weed-choked lot to a working wetland and welcoming home for native plants and wildlife. John will be on hand to focus on the birds of the meadow. From around 40 identified species in 2000 to 184 species as of last week,  the Meadows is a haven for migratory birds and year-round residents.

Start date
06/03/17
County location
Ventura County

Nature Hikes at the Ameal Moore Nature Center

Organization Name
Riverside Metropolitan Museum
Brief course description
June 3 - Nature Hikes at the Ameal Moore Nature Center - 9:00 – 10:00 am, Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park, 400 Central Avenue

Start date
06/03/17
County location
Riverside County

Wildflowers of the Sonoma Coast

Organization Name
Stewards Of The Coast And Redwoods
Brief course description
Come celebrate “National Trails Day” with Peter Warner as he takes participants through coastal grassland, shrubland, and smaller patches of forest. The trail is about 5 miles, with some moderately steep, and wet or muddy stretches, along rolling, well-worn, dirt and gravel tread (not suitable for strollers, walkers, or wheelchairs). NOTE: This is a moderate hike. Please plan accordingly.

Start date
06/03/17
County location
Sonoma County

How to Learn the Plant Families of California

Organization Name
Jepson Herbarium
Brief course description
This four-day workshop is designed for beginning to amateur botanists to learn how to identify California plants by family and acquire the tools needed for continuing the self-education process of plant identification. Lectures and lab activities will emphasize the characteristics that are most useful for family-level plant identification. We will learn how to use the family key in the second edition of The Jepson Manual, which contains 185 native or naturalized vascular plant families, with a combination of field collections in the Bay Area and lab work using both fresh material and herbarium specimens.

Website for more information
Start date
06/03/17 & 06/10/17
County location
Alameda County

Raptor Experience - Spring 2017 Nature Series

Organization Name
The Coastal Institute at Camp Ocean Pines
Brief course description
This is a chance to interact with live birds of prey. Participants can choose to spend the whole day to experience what it's like to hunt with a raptor as your partner. Instructor Chris Cameron is a lifelong naturalist and licensed falconer who has been working with raptors for over 35 years. The first half of the day will be all about California's raptors and their natural history. Chris will give an interactive presentation using several different live raptors to teach about the birds of prey that call this state their home. After lunch, Chris will teach about the sport of falconry. You will have the chance to accompany Chris and one of his birds on a hunt - you will even don a falconer's glove and call the bird to your hand.

Registration and more details are available through provided link. Discounts available for groups/families and California Naturalist graduates.

Website for more information
Start date
06/10/17
County location
San Luis Obispo County

Cold-Blooded Creatures

Organization Name
Effie Yeaw Nature Center
Brief course description
1:30pm

Some have scaly skin, some have slimy skin, some have legs and some do not. Can you guess what they are? Join and find out! Meet a resident animal up close. 

normal'>This is a free weekend program for all ages. Donations gratefully accepted. Space is limited – sign-ups are taken the day of the event. We recommend you arrive 30 minutes prior to start time.

 

normal'>There is a $5 per car entrance fee into Ancil Hoffman County Park (Free to members)

Start date
06/11/17
County location
Sacramento County

Edible and Medicinal Plants Walk and Talk

Organization Name
Sonoma Ecology Center
Brief course description
Join Docent Karen Sapper on a hike exploring the Medicinal and Edible plants of the park.   Karen will also weave Native American stories into the hike, demonstrating how stories were used to explain uses and transmit knowledge of Medicinal and Edible plants.  10 AM to 12:30 PM.   Be prepared for a 2 to 3 mile walk with a 300 foot climb.  Bring a lunch to eat on the walk.  Meet at the visitors center.  $10.00 per adult, 18 and under free. Parking fees still apply. Purchase tickets here:  http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2954782

Start date
06/17/17
County location
Sonoma County

Nature Journaling

Organization Name
Effie Yeaw Nature Center
Brief course description
10:30am

Join Naturalist Heather for a nature journaling session. Learn the benefits of journaling, what supplies to bring and how to gain a deeper connection with nature. Bring your journal and favorite sketching supplies or borrow some from us. No drawing lessons provided.

This is a free weekend program for all ages. Donations gratefully accepted. Space is limited – sign-ups are taken the day of the event. We recommend you arrive 30 minutes prior to start time.

There is a $5 per car entrance fee into Ancil Hoffman County Park (Free to members).

Start date
06/17/17
County location
Sacramento County

CSI Days

Organization Name
Riverside Metropolitan Museum
Brief course description
June 17 – CSI Days - Citizen Science Initiatives will focus on water conservation projects and water related Citizen Science projects. 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park, 400 Central Avenue

Start date
06/17/17
County location
Riverside County

Drawing Summer Flowers

Organization Name
Point Reyes National Seashore Association
Brief course description
Summer is the time for warmth, exuberance, and relaxation. Colored Pencils are a fun, safe and portable and meditative way to express oneself artistically. Come draw the beautiful flowers of summers- sunflowers, zinnias, roses, and iris or favorite flowers from your own garden. We will explore a variety of colored pencil techniques and learn how to blend, burnish and create new colors while incorporating the techniques of botanical drawing. We will focus on color theory, color application, value, form, and detail. All levels welcome.

Start date
06/17/17
County location
Marin County

Build a Bug Hotel!

Organization Name
Santa Barbara Botanical Garden
Brief course description
A hands on workshop using natural materials to build a "hotel" that can provide a habitat for garden insects. Learn about some common garden insects, why it is important to provide them with habitat and take home your own handmade, artistic bug hotel. We will be outside to assemble our hotels and learn about bugs so dress appropriately.

Start date
06/17/17
County location
Santa Barbara County

Summer Sips: Rock Creek Wildflowers

Organization Name
Santa Barbara Botanical Garden
Brief course description
Cathy Rose and Stephen Ingram will present a slide show about the subalpine and alpine plants featured in their book Rock Creek Wildflowers. Stephen will accompany Cathy’s lecture with photographs of a selection of the 125 plants they describe. Rock Creek is located about forty-five miles south of Mono Lake. The headwaters come from the high slopes that surround Little Lakes Valley in the John Muir Wilderness of the Eastern Sierra Nevada.

Start date
06/17/17
County location
Santa Barbara County

Yosemite Miwok-Paiute Basketry: Two-Day Workshop

Organization Name
Yosemite Conservancy
Brief course description
Don’t miss this rare opportunity to learn from a cultural icon! Julia Parker is often described as a “national treasure” for ensuring the legacy of the Miwok-Paiute people in Yosemite. She has spent more than 60 years as a cultural demonstrator in the park. This workshop gives you the unique chance to spend two days learning from Julia, her daughter and granddaughter, as they guide you through traditional basket-weaving techniques and share stories that have lived on through generations of families. All materials are provided, and you will take home your own beautiful handmade basket.

Start date
06/17/17
County location
Alameda County

Fathers and Frogs

Organization Name
Effie Yeaw Nature Center
Brief course description
1:30pm

Bring Dad and make a splash this Father’s Day as you explore the Nature Center’s pond. Using catch and release activities you’ll discover the hidden world of water insects, polliwogs and, if you’re lucky, an adult frog!  

normal'>This is a free weekend program for all ages. Donations gratefully accepted. Space is limited – sign-ups are taken the day of the event. We recommend you arrive 30 minutes prior to start time.

 

normal'>There is a $5 per car entrance fee into Ancil Hoffman County Park (Free to members).

Start date
06/18/17
County location
Sacramento County

Discovery Days

Organization Name
Riverside Metropolitan Museum
Brief course description
June 21 - Discovery Days - Sea Creature Exploration - 1:30 – 4:30 pm.

Start date
06/21/17
County location
Riverside County

Santa Cruz Island Lecture Series

Organization Name
Santa Barbara Botanical Garden
Brief course description
Santa Cruz Island is the largest and among the most intriguing of the eight California Channel Islands. On a clear day, most of us catch a glimpse of it from right here in town. Despite how close Santa Cruz Island is, there remain many mysteries about its ecology, cultural history and even its role as a set for some of Hollywood’s earliest films. The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and the UCSB Santa Cruz Island Reserve present five evenings of presentations about the science, history and culture of this amazing place. The series will feature world-renowned experts every Thursday evening from May 25 through June 22

Start date
06/22/17
County location
Santa Barbara County

Lecture: Seaweed Identification

Organization Name
Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
Brief course description
Dr. Kathy Ann Miller will share her expertise and passion for seaweed in a lecture on Friday, June 23rd from 6:30-7:30 p.m. This lecture offers a unique opportunity to learn about seaweed identification from one of the world's preeminent phycologists. Kathy Ann teaches field courses for the Jepson Workshop program, Shoals Marine Laboratory, Friday Harbor Laboratories, and Wrigley Marine Science Center. She is developing a web-based archive of California's seaweed called the California Seaweed eFlora project, which will serve as an update to Abbott and Hollenberg's Marine Algae of California (1976) and a growing resource for seaweed enthusiasts and experts alike.

Admission to the lecture is $5 and free for Museum members.

Start date
06/23/17
County location
Monterey County

Nature Speak: Get Outside with Citizen Science!

Organization Name
Lindsay Wildlife
Brief course description
Join representatives from iNaturalist and participate in their workshop to download and use their app! The iNaturalist app is where you can record what you see in nature, meet other nature lovers, and learn about the natural world! Come learn how to use iNaturalist at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 25, in the Buckeye Room. No registration required, free for members and included with the price of admission.

From hikers to hunters, birders to beach-combers, the world is filled with naturalists, and many of them record what they find. What if all those observations could be shared online? If enough people recorded their observations, it would be like a living record of life on Earth that scientists and land managers could use to monitor changes in biodiversity, and that anyone could use to learn more about nature.

Start date
06/25/17
County location
Contra Costa County

Wildlife Tracks at the Garden

Organization Name
Santa Barbara Botanical Garden
Brief course description
Join experienced tracker, Mike Kresky, on a search for animals tracks and signs around the garden. Increase your knowledge of animal movements during this basic introduction to track and sign identification. This course provides a tracking perspective as it applies to local flora and fauna, emphasizing a holistic perspective to the study of Natural History

Start date
07/07/17
County location
Santa Barbara County

Introduction to Bird Language - July

Organization Name
Point Reyes National Seashore Association
Brief course description
Learn the skills to understand the constant bird conversation going on in the wilds of Point Reyes. This class explores basic core routines of bird language and the “shapes of alarm” generated by each animal. Practice diminishing your ring of disturbance and expanding your awareness so that you can join in on the conversation.

Start date
07/09/17
County location
Marin County

Identifying Sunflowers: Jepson Manual

Organization Name
Santa Barbara Botanical Garden
Brief course description
Honing observational skills and discovering the surprising details of plants under magnification are among the many joys of 'keying' plants. Join botanist Mary Carroll for this hands-on introduction to the Sunflower (Asteraceae) Plant Family. The classes will include a microscope lab as well as a walk in the Garden.

Class participants should have prior experience working with the Jepson Manual or at least be familiar with technical botanical terms.

Please bring:

    • 10x hand lens
    • 2nd edition of the Jepson Manual* (available in the Shop)
*We have limited copies available for those who need them.

Space is limited to 15 participants. Sign up today!

Website for more information
Start date
07/14/17
County location
Santa Barbara County

Summer Sips: Carnivorous Plants of Remote Locations

Organization Name
Santa Barbara Botanical Garden
Brief course description
Have you ever wanted to climb to the cloud forests of New Guinea or to the top of Mt. Kinabalu in Borneo to experience the unique plant communities? Well save yourself the leach bites, malaria laden mosquitoes, and tuak hangover by letting me share some tales of my many quests to see the plants that turn the tables on animals, and make them their dinner. Prepare to be awed by the diversity and remoteness of these deadly plants and the journey to visit them in places so remote, some plants have yet to be named. Our photographic journey will focus on carnivorous plants, mostly within the genus Nepenthes, but will meander into to other life like poisonous frogs and giant stick bugs.

Start date
07/15/17
County location
Santa Barbara County

Relaxed Birding: White Wolf

Organization Name
Yosemite Conservancy
Brief course description
Whether you’re new to birding or want to learn more about the region, you’re bound to enjoy this relaxing weekend with renowned Yosemite naturalist Michael Ross, who will help you build your avian observation skills and introduce you to many species that call the park home, including the Cassin’s finch, mountain bluebird and red crossbill. Located in Yosemite’s high country just north of Tioga Road, White Wolf makes an excellent base for accessing the diverse habitats of Sierra Nevada birds.

Start date
07/15/17
County location
Alameda County

Tejon Ranch in August: Late–Season Treasures of the Tehachapis

Organization Name
Jepson Herbarium
Brief course description
This workshop will introduce participants to the biogeography and summer flora of the Tejon Ranch. Depending on road conditions, we will explore a variety of grassland, scrubland, woodland, forest, and desert communities. Tejon Ranch is home to many special-status plant species and we expect to see some of these, including the Tehachapi buckwheat (Eriogonum callistum), which is endemic to the ranch. If we are lucky, we may even see California condors flying overhead.).

Website for more information
Start date
08/03/17
County location
Alameda County

A Sense of Place in your Watercolor Nature Journal

Organization Name
Point Reyes National Seashore Association
Brief course description
Using a limited number of pigments, you’ll learn to paint miniature landscapes giving a sense of place in your journal. You will learn the basics of how to create depth quickly and accurately using Kristin’s teaching aids which will give you hands-on experience in creating a memory of the day in your journal. The compact kit* which includes the palette and paints, a journal, a waterbrush and special pencils provides you with all you need to nurture a wonderful nature journaling experience.

Start date
08/13/17
County location
Marin County

NATURE & YOU LECTURE: “HOW THE YOLO HABITAT CONSERVANCY PLAN IS PROTECTING NATIVE SPECIES”, WITH PETREA MARCHAND

Organization Name
Tuleyome
Brief course description
Come learn about the history of the Yolo Habitat Conservancy with Petrea Marchand, the truth about the controversies that delayed its growth in 2015, and what the conservancy is doing now to protect the habitats of local endangered and threatened species while also accommodating development.

The specific elements of the Yolo HCP/NCCP conservation strategy include:

  • Establishing reserves for the conservation of covered species within the Yolo HCP/NCCP geographic area and linkages to adjacent habitat outside Yolo County.
  •  Incorporating a range of environmental gradients and high habitat diversity into the reserve system to compensate for shifting species distributions in response to changing circumstances (e.g., in response to climate change).
  • Protecting and maintaining habitat areas that are large enough to support sustainable populations of covered species.
Start date
08/24/17
County location
Yolo County

Introduction to Bird Language - August

Organization Name
Point Reyes National Seashore Association
Brief course description
Learn the skills to understand the constant bird conversation going on in the wilds of Point Reyes. This class explores basic core routines of bird language and the “shapes of alarm” generated by each animal. Practice diminishing your ring of disturbance and expanding your awareness so that you can join in on the conversation.

Start date
08/27/17
County location
Marin County

Climate Change in California: Past, Present, and Future

Organization Name
Jepson Herbarium
Brief course description
This course will begin with an overview of what drives climate change now and what has driven it in the recent past. We will then discuss the physics of the greenhouse effect and our planet’s energy budget. Moving on, we will leave the present for a Deep Time perspective on climate, ranging from the extreme cold 650 million years ago to the end-Permian hot house. Before lunch, we end closer to home with the climate oscillation of the recent ice ages (last few millions of years) and its effect on North American floras.

Website for more information
Start date
09/23/17
County location
Alameda County

Insect–Induced Plant Galls of California

Organization Name
Jepson Herbarium
Brief course description
In this workshop, we will start by exploring the diversity of extant insect-induced plant galls and the community of species found within them. Our study will begin with a series of lectures covering gall induction, development, plant host specificity, and inducer life histories using Joyce Gross' excellent photographic images of galls and gall insects. We will then take a short campus field trip to learn how to find galls. Back in the classroom, we will dissect galls under microscopes to examine their intricate structures and view the occupiers. We will wrap up with discussion about the evolution of the plant host-plant gall interrelationships with examples from fossil galls.

Website for more information
Start date
10/07/17
County location
Alameda County

GIS for Botanists

Organization Name
Jepson Herbarium
Brief course description
This course will get you started in GIS software and cover fundamentals in geography, mapping, GPS (global positioning systems) units and land cover, and other spatial data. Working in a modern internet-accessible lab as well as in the field, we will learn how to use GIS (or geographic information system desktop application), where to get freely available data, and how to make maps. This workshop will focus on the spatial technology necessary to answer questions about biodiversity, conservation, ecology and related fields. The goal of this workshop is to provide context on how GIS programs can be used to maximize projects for plant scientists and consultants working with field or historic data. Participants will learn how to make field maps and, depending on group familiarity with GIS, analyze data within the program. This course will use Quantum GIS, a free, open-source GIS program that is mac or PC compatible.

Website for more information
Start date
10/20/17
County location
Alameda County

Mushrooms of the Bay Area

Organization Name
Jepson Herbarium
Brief course description
The mild to cool, wet winters and the variety of habitats found in California make it one of the best places in North America to find both an abundance and a high diversity of fungi. This workshop will provide an introduction to the biology and identification of California’s mushrooms. Through a combination of lectures and discussions, workshop participants will learn about the evolutionary history of fungi and the ecological role of fungi in nature. Most of the time will be spent with fresh mushrooms in the lab, where participants will have hands-on opportunities for learning how to identify mushrooms. A field trip to Pt. Reyes National Seashore (with easy to moderate hiking) will be a highlight of the weekend.

Website for more information
Start date
12/08/17
County location
Alameda County

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