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. 

The Art of Wildlife Tracking

Organization Name
Point Reyes National Seashore Association
Brief course description
This class will teach the foundations of wildlife tracking. We will look through the broad lens of habitat patterns as well as the detailed lens of tracks, sign, and scat to better understand our animal neighbors and how they survive around us.
Instructed by Meghan-Walla Murphy
 
-Youth, ages 12 and up, are welcome with adult supervision.
-This class will be held outdoors.
-If you have any special circumstances or questions, please contact us at fieldinstitute@ptreyes.org.
Start date
02/17/2018
County location
Marin County

Entomology: Meet the True Bugs

Organization Name
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
Brief course description
While we often call all insects, pillbugs, and even spiders ‘bugs’, true bugs are only one kind of insect. Bugs include some of our peskiest pests, such as aphids and mealybugs – and also some of our most valued beneficial garden predators, such as bigeyed bugs and minute pirate bugs. In the wild, they all fill an important role. Learn how to recognize these sometimes highly cryptic insects, and how to manage them effectively in gardens. Short lectures are accompanied by hands-on lab time and Garden walks.

Start date
1/12/2017
County location
Santa Barbara 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

Medicinal Trees & Plants Walk

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. 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/3081912

Start date
10/21/2017
County location
Sonoma County

All About Ojai: Creating a backyard Native Plant Garden

Organization Name
Ojai Valley Land Conservancy
Brief course description

All About Ojai: Creating a backyard Native Plant Garden

When
Sun Oct 22, 2017 10am – 12pm Pacific Time
Where
Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, 370 Baldwin Rd, Ojai, CA 93023, USA (
Website for more information
Start date
10/22/2017
County location
Ventura County

Salmon and Steelhead in the Sierra

Organization Name
Sierra Streams Institute
Brief course description
  • 3 Presentations: Wednesdays, 6pm – 8:30pm 10/25, 11/1, 11/8
  • 2 Field experiences: 8am-2pm Sunday 10/29 and Saturday 11/4
This watershed ecology short course will focus on Chinook salmon and steelhead and their unique contributions to our local ecosystems. Field trips include SYRCL - The South Yuba River Citizens League Salmon Tour experience where participants will raft down the lower Yuba River, with raft guides from Environmental Traveling Companions, to experience all of the salmon spawning action firsthand. In addition, UC Sierra Foothill Research & Extension Center will provide an opportunity for a walking tour of an actual salmon and steelhead spawning restoration site with local experts that take you through the on-the-ground efforts being put forth to conserve our last remaining anadramous fish. Sierra Streams Institute is a watershed monitoring, research, and restoration group based in Nevada City. Download the flier here.

October 25th Opening night- Tributaries and the land they flow through
This night of presentations will focus on the tributaries across our watershed that are the network of capillaries that feed our rivers and keep them healthy or when impaired cause problems in our rivers.  Our salmon and steelhead populations rely on healthy streams and streams rely on land uses that keep sediment and pollutants out of our waterways.  We learn about these local tributaries and what is being done to insure that they are contributing clean water to the greater waterways of the state.  Speakers this nigh include hydrologists, Sol Henson and Justin Wood, and Geomorphologist Katy Janes.

October 29th Field experience- journey down the Lower Yuba River with the SYRCL Salmon Tour
Participants travel down the lower Yuba River on rafts as part of the acclaimed South Yuba River Citizen’s League (SYRCL) and Environmental Traveling Companions (ETC) led Salmon Tours.  Chinook otherwise known as King Salmon will be viewed battling for spawning habitat, cleaning and preparing their redds (spawning gravels) and finally expiring.  The boating trip is a crash course in Yuba Chinook salmon, the production of food that supports them, and the odds stacked against them.
 
November 1st-  The science of saving Salmon and Steelhead
Presenters from environmental consulting firms and the Army Corps will be painting a picture of the challenges of understanding the decline in andramous Chinook and Steelhead in the Yuba River over the last decade and the efforts that are being put in place to bolster their populations.  Speakers will discuss the unique habitat created for these fish below Engelbright Dam, a landscape ravaged by hydraulic mining but still holding some possibility to maintain these iconic species.  Speakers will include biologist, Joe Merz of Cramer Fish Sciences and Park Manager at Engelbright reservoir, Doug Grothe.

November 4th Field Experience- The river and the dam
Participants will have exclusive access to the base of Engelbright Dam via the Sierra Foothills Research Station.  There participants will have a chance to learn about Engelbright Dam and the system of power generation facilities and other dams along the Yuba.  Participants will observe large scale gravel restoration projects that are being conducted below the dam to improve spawning habitat.  Biologist and former South Yuba River Citizen’s League (SYRCL) employee, Gary Reedy, who has worked tirelessly on the relicensing of the dams along the Yuba River will be our guide.

November 8th- The global context
Experts that work on salmon recovery efforts throughout the west will provide case studies that have led to successful salmon conservation and the pitfalls where those efforts have failed.  They will give global context to the efforts to save anadramous fish in the Yuba River and will help us gain an understanding of the big picture and what is truly at stake.  Presenters will be Gary Sprague Fish Biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and Steve Rothert California Regional Director for American Rivers.

Website for more information
Start date
10/25/17 - 11/8/17
County location
Nevada County

Nature of Things Speaker Series

Organization Name
Effie Yeaw Nature Center
Brief course description
Coyote has been culturally significant for many generations and is featured in myths and legends of many Northern Californian native cultures. Today, Coyote still thrives in the open spaces and woodlands of the American River Parkway. Come hear stories and see photographic images captured by presenter Guy Galante who will lead a presentation about coyotes, holistic tracking skills, and how seeking Coyote can lead to a deeper appreciation for and connection with the Parkway, each other, and our selves. Join the field study, a sunrise hike with Guy into the wilds of the American River Parkway. Who knows what will be found!

Seminar - Oct. 27 from 6:30-8:30pm at Effie Yeaw Nature Center

Field Study - Oct. 28 from 7:30-10:30am along the American River Parkway

Start date
10/27/2017
County location
Sacramento County

CALIFORNIA NATIVE PLANTS

Organization Name
Ojai Valley Land Conservancy
Brief course description
On Saturday, October 28, 2017, at 10 am join June Juett for a detailed What, Why and How of California Native Plants. Whether you are planting a container, a backyard or ranch land, explore the benefits of increasing biodiversity. It’s not all flower pictures – we’ll be looking at data on water use and simple, but effective techniques that increase success growing California’s native flora in a changing climate. All this just in time for the OVLC Native Plant Sale the following Saturday, November 4.

Website for more information
Start date
10/28/2017
County location
Ventura County

ParkRx – Forest Therapy

Organization Name
Sonoma Ecology Center
Brief course description
Have you heard about Shinrin Yoku or “Forest bathing”?  Here is an opportunity to take a walk, and experience the practice for yourself. Learn techniques to maximize the health benefits and stress reducing qualities, of this walking practice.   Led by certified ANFT (Association of Nature and Forest Therapy) practitioners.

Start date
10/28/2017
County location
Sonoma County

Miwok and Native American Culture

Organization Name
Calaveras Big Trees Association
Brief course description
Seminars are free and open to the public. There is a day-use fee to enter the Park. Pack a lunch, bring the family and plan on spending the day among the Giant Sequoias. For more information call Calaveras Big Trees Association at (209)795-1196.

Location:  Jack Knight Hall

Start date
10/28/2017
County location
Calaveras County

Ancient Ocean Floor Revealed

Organization Name
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
Brief course description
Enjoy a day of hiking in the high backcountry with Susie Bartz. From the base of Figueroa Mountain we’ll drive up to a wild place, where a wedge of ancient ocean crust lies exposed. At the trailhead we’ll enjoy spectacular views, then descend through thick chaparral to the remnant of a black smoker, formed originally at a mid-ocean ridge. How on earth did it get 4000 feet high, and what happened after its discovery? We’ll look for clues in nearby submarine lava “pillows” and contorted layers of chert.

Start date
10/28/2017
County location
Santa Barbara County

Fall Geology Walk Series

Organization Name
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
Brief course description
Explore Santa Barbara through the lens of geologist and naturalist, Susie Bartz. These three walks examine human impacts and the natural forces at play in our region, from the coast to the mountains. Walks range from easy to moderate/hard. Times vary depending on hike.

NOTE: Participants should be in good physical condition with good balance.

Participants should bring:

  • Sturdy hiking shoes
  • Layered clothing - a jacket
  • Hiking Poles
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • Snack
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
Start date
10/28/2017
County location
Santa Barbara County

Birding at Pepperwood - More Feathered Friends

Organization Name
Pepperwood Preserve
Brief course description
Join our educator and resident bird expert Nicole Barden on birding adventure at Pepperwood! This outing is designed for intermediate birders with basic knowledge of common birds who are eager to take their birding skills to the next level. You'll traverse a variety of habitats looking for seasonal songbird migrants, raptors, and year-round residents. On this fun day in the field you'll refine your ability to identify local birds. Bring your favorite pair of binoculars, or borrow one of ours. This is a field-based class with moderate, sometimes off-trail, hiking up to 4 miles.

Website for more information
www.pepperwoodpreserve.org
Start date
10/29/2017

Birding for Beginners

Organization Name
Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods
Brief course description
Calling all early birds! This pre-dawn excursion will include an easy to moderate walk to spot a variety of resident and migratory bird species – you can expect to see and hear songbirds, shorebirds, and hawks. Learn birding basics: how to spot birds, places to go, finding the best field guides and optics for taking up a new hobby, etc.

Start date
11/04/2017
County location
Sonoma County

Entomology: Meet the Flies

Organization Name
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
Brief course description
Flies are often thought of as pests, but many flies are beneficial, including some of our most valuable garden allies - flies that prey on aphids and other common pests. Even mosquitoes have an important role in the environment! Learn more about what roles flies fill in both wild nature and in gardens in this introductory class. Short lectures are accompanied by hands-on lab time and Garden walks.

Start date
11/05/2017
County location
Santa Barbara County

Geology of the Marin Headlands

Organization Name
Point Reyes National Seashore Association
Brief course description
Learn about the plate tectonics of the Farallon and North American plates and the world-famous exposures of pillow basalts, folded ribbon cherts, and mélange of the Franciscan Complex. Find out about Ice Age cycles, sea-level changes, and the evolution of San Francisco Bay. Hike about 4 miles at Hawk Hill, Point Bonita lighthouse, and Rodeo Beach.

-This is a 4 mile round trip, be sure to be prepared and wear shoes with good tread.
-Youth, ages 12 and up, are welcome with adult supervision.
-This class will be held outdoors. 
-If you have any special circumstances or questions, please contact us at fieldinstitute@ptreyes.org
Start date
11/05/2017
County location
Marin County

Introduction to Bird Language

Organization Name
Poin
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.

-Youth, ages 12 and up, are welcome with adult supervision.
-This class will be held mostly outdoors with some time spent indoors.
-If you have any special circumstances or questions, please contact us at fieldinstitute@ptreyes.org.

Start date
11/11/2017
County location
Marin County

Creek Walk Naturalist Training

Organization Name
Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN)
Brief course description
Learn to be a volunteer docent and lead creek walks to help members of the public search for spawning salmon in the Lagunitas Creek.

Start date
11/11/2017
County location
Marin County

Wildlife Tracks at the Garden

Organization Name
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
Brief course description
Join experienced tracker and author Mike Kresky on a search for animals tracks and sign 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.

Bring a sack lunch for a 30-minute lunch break.

Start date
11/17/2017
County location
Santa Barbara County

Rising Terraces and Flowing Waters

Organization Name
Santa Barbara Botanical Garden
Brief course description
Join Susie Bartz to explore Santa Barbara’s beachfront and our iconic coastal Mesa. Starting at Leadbetter Beach, we see how human development, and especially the harbor’s breakwater, has impacted the shape of our shoreline. Then we continue up the beach to consider up close the ongoing tectonic compression that is lifting the Mesa’s marine terraces across geologic time. A super low tide will reveal interesting flora and fauna of the rocky shore, before our return atop Shoreline Park. About 3 miles of easy walking with optional rock-hopping among the tidepools. 

Driving Directions: meet in front of the Shoreline Beach Café at the foot of Loma Alta Street. Allow time to park in city lot and get checked in before an on-time start to catch the ebbing tide.

Start date
11/18/17
County location
Santa Barbara County

Fascinating Fungi

Organization Name
Pepperwood Preserve
Brief course description
Mushrooms come in an amazing variety of forms and play many roles in the environment. Sometimes we see them and most times we don't! This class will begin with an overview of the fungi kingdom, followed by a stroll in the field to observe and collect a variety of samples. Returning to the classroom, you'll learn how to closely examine your fungi findings and identify them using field guides. Instructor George Riner began his fascination with mushrooms in New England in the early 1990s and served as President of the Boston Mycological Club from 2001-2006. Since moving to the Santa Rosa area in 2008, George has been active in the Sonoma County Mycological Association and leads mushroom walks at throughout Sonoma County. This class will primarily take place in the field and will include a moderate hike of 1-3 miles at a slow pace.

Website for more information
www.pepperwoodpreserve.org
Start date
11/18/2017

Rising Terraces and Flowing Waters

Organization Name
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
Brief course description
Join Susie Bartz to explore Santa Barbara’s beachfront and our iconic coastal Mesa. Starting at Leadbetter Beach, we see how human development, and especially the harbor’s breakwater, has impacted the shape of our shoreline. Then we continue up the beach to consider up close the ongoing tectonic compression that is lifting the Mesa’s marine terraces across geologic time. A super low tide will reveal interesting flora and fauna of the rocky shore, before our return atop Shoreline Park. About 3 miles of easy walking with optional rock-hopping among the tidepools. 

Driving Directions: meet in front of the Shoreline Beach Café at the foot of Loma Alta Street. Allow time to park in city lot and get checked in before an on-time start to catch the ebbing tide.

Start date
11/18/2017
County location
Santa Barbara County

Geology of the Carpinteria Bluffs

Organization Name
Santa Barbara Botanical Garden
Brief course description
Explore the dynamic geology of the marine terrace locally known as the Carpinteria Bluffs. An easy walk through native scrub leads to spectacular coastal views and the Seal Sanctuary Overlook. Here we’ll learn why geology makes the beach below a perfect birthing place for the seals. Our route then descends a steep path to the beach to explore rock layers tightly folded by the same tectonic compression that continues to lift the mesa and allow tar to ooze in plain sight. The low tide will allow some tidepooling and an optional side trip along the Coastal Access Trail to the Carpinteria Tar Seeps. Distance is about 2 miles round trip with 2 more miles for the tar seep option.

Start date
12/02/17
County location
Santa Barbara County

California Ecosystems Movie Nights—1st Wednesday of the Month, 6-7:30pm/ December—March

Organization Name
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
Brief course description
The authors of Ecosystems of California, the newly published sourcebook for California’s remarkable ecological abundance, have created a series of short YouTube videos depicting some of the con-tent and site visits in their book. Videos provide a brief summary of the distribution, structure, function, and management of each ma-jor ecosystem type. The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden invites alumni to join us for a free showing of the entire video series. Be-ginning in December, these movie nights will take place on the first Wednesday of the month from 6-7:30pm. Popcorn and other refreshments will be provid-ed. RSVP is recommended. Hope to see you there! Come mingle with alumni & volunteers!

Start date
12/06/2017
County location
Santa Barbara 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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