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 *almost* listed chronologically, however 2017 appears up first, followed by 2016 listings which are in chronological order with most recent first. 

Build A Pollinator Garden

Organization Name
SPAWN
Brief course description
Work with Audrey, SPAWN’s native plant nursery manager, along with Charle Torgovitsky of Home Ground Habitat Nursery and the Marin chapter of the Native Plant Society, to learn how to build a pollinator garden. Many topics will be covered as we learn about
habitat gardening and build a demonstration garden, including site preparation, selection plants for wildlife gardening, and how to care for your wildlife garden!

SPAWN workshops are open to the public for a suggested donation of $10 per person. SPAWN members, certified California naturalists, and partner teachers can attend for free. No one will be turned away! Email Audrey@tirn.net with questions or to register.

Start date
01/14/17 OR 02/04/16
County location
Marin County

Climate change and marine ecosystems

Organization Name
Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
Brief course description
Drawing from his experiences in diverse places across the Pacific Rim, Dr. Michael V. McGinnis will discuss how climate disturbances impact diverse coastal cultures. He is passionate about forging a more sustainable future that includes the protection of  the ecosystems we are connected to and dependent on.
Website for more information
Start date
02/01/17
County location
Monterey County

Hummingbird Day

Organization Name
UCSC Arboretum
Brief course description
Visit the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum for the central coast’s premier family-oriented educational event celebrating one of nature’s vibrant aerial acrobats, the Hummingbird.

During the event, nature lovers of all ages will experience and learn about these amazing birds and the particular flowers at the Arboretum that host and support them. Visitors will have plenty of opportunity to see and hear hummingbird courtship and shenanigans as well as participate in a variety of activities focused on these amazing creatures (and more!).

Start date
03/04/17
County location
Santa Cruz County

Beginning Birding Series

Organization Name
Effie Yeaw Nature Center
Brief course description
Interested in birds but don’t know where to start? This class will introduce the basics of birding, from binoculars to ethics. In four classroom sessions, we will learn the distinguishing marks of the 100 most common birds (spring migration and summer & year-round residents) of Effie Yeaw Nature Center and the American River Parkway. Photos, many of them taken locally, will be supplemented by the sounds birds make, which are often the best way to find and identify birds. We will have two field trips, where we will see and hear birds in a variety of local habitats.

Start date
09/19/16 - 10/15/16
County location
Sacramento County

Comfort with Discomfort: A Relationship-Centered Approach to Conservation

Organization Name
Pepperwood Preserve
Brief course description
Every day we learn more and more about how the landscapes we love are being altered. Communicating our beliefs and ideas around conservation is essential, yet the complex terrain of human relationships is almost never addressed in conservation work. Learning to transcend anger and engage effectively in emotionally laden topics calls for significant subjective and emotional skills.

A relationship-centered approach to conservation work is both risky and revolutionary in that it asks us to take a giant leap into trusting not just scientific information, but each other. Join Faith Kearns as we discuss a framework for growing individual “comfort with discomfort” and enhancing our ability to effectively interact in this rich, relational world through practices like deep listening.

Faith Kearns is a scientist and communications specialist with the California Institute for Water Resources at the University of California. Trained as a freshwater ecologist, she has had an eclectic career spanning academia, the non-profit world, and government, and topics ranging from wildfire to sharks to streams.

Start date
10/21/16
County location
Sonoma County

Introduction to bird language

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
10/23/16
County location
Marin County

Marine Plastic Pollution: Research, Recovery, and Solutions

Organization Name
Poitn Reyes National Seashore Association
Brief course description
The Point Reyes peninsula extends into the California Current and collects floating marine debris and plastic pollution from local and global sources along the over 80 miles of shoreline within its boundaries. What is marine debris and how does it impact ocean ecosystems? Where does it come from and what is being done to better understand it? How can we help create a future free from toxic plastic pollution for local ocean ecosystems? Participants in the course will join marine toxicologist Dr. Chris Pincetich in the field and classroom, hiking outdoors to the extreme western end of South Beach to collect debris and data, then gathering inside to interpret the day’s findings and learning the facts about marine plastic pollution. Take part in cleaning the beach, removing small plastic items and large marine debris from the elephant seal rookery site, and participating in the scientific research used to help create future solutions for clean oceans. Join Dr. Pincetich and focus on the oceanography of marine plastic pollution and share real-word solutions to reduce plastic pollution locally and around the world. Also open to youth (age 12-17) with parent attendance.

Start date
10/29/16
County location
Marin County

Yosemite photography: Focus on nature 101

Organization Name
Yosemite Conservancy
Brief course description
Are you a beginning-to-intermediate photographer looking to further explore your art? Join this workshop to experience the stunning foliage colors and low-angled light of autumn in Yosemite. Your expert photographer guides, Keith Walklet and John Ricca, have spent many years photographing the park and will share insider knowledge while introducing you to some of Yosemite’s best views. Spend an enjoyable weekend amid magnificent scenery, learning about photo composition and gaining practical tips for using your equipment to capture the perfect shot. By the end of the workshop, you will have a fine collection of images for your portfolio. This workshop will begin with an evening session Thursday, Nov. 3, in Yosemite Valley. The first full day of instruction will start Friday morning, Nov. 4, and will run through Sunday afternoon.

Start date
11/03/16 - 11/06/16
County location
Mariposa County

Buckeyes for Butterflies

Organization Name
SPAWN
Brief course description
Join SPAWN for a fun workshop on native plant propagation. We will collect and plant seeds for easy-to-propagate native trees such as Buckeyes and Oaks, do cuttings of a variety of native plant species, and learn how to grow Redwood trees. We will also go on a native plant walk with Audrey! This great event is co-sponsored by our friends at the California Native Plant Society, Marin Chapter.

Start date
11/05/16
County location
Marin County

Field Sketching: Finding Nature’s Shadows and Contours

Organization Name
Pepperwood Preserve
Brief course description
Join us as we explore Pepperwood’s landscapes and learn new techniques for field sketching. Local artist James Freed will lead us on a journey to expand our understanding of shading, contouring, and manipulating our pencil sketching to best capture Sonoma County’s beautiful environments.

James teaches drawing and design to community members as well as to both graduate and undergraduate students at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where he has been an adjunct professor since 1995. James loves drawing and painting, and currently lives and works out of his home studio in Sebastopol. He recently earned an MS in Education at Sonoma State University.

Start date
11/06/16
County location
Sonoma County

Point Reyes Waterbirds

Organization Name
Point Reyes National Seashore Association
Brief course description
This class will emphasize the identification, seasonal occurrence patterns, and natural history of wintering waterfowl, loons, grebes, pelicans, cormorants, herons and egrets, rails and coots, shorebirds, gulls, and terns. We will explore a range of habitats to see how these varied birds have adapted to the local coastal environment. Accommodations included at the Clem Miller Environmental Education Center.

Start date
11/11/16 - 11/13/16
County location
Marin County

Seed Collection

Organization Name
SPAWN
Brief course description
Join the SPAWN team on a naturalist led hike to learn about local native plants and seed collection protocol. Learn about native plants and their plant communities, and learn how to tell if seeds of various species are ready for harvest and how to clean them in preparation for sowing.

SPAWN workshops are open to the public for a suggested donation of $10. Members and partner teachers are free. No one is ever turned away! Email Audrey@tirn.net with questions or to register.

Start date
11/12/16
County location
Marin County

Whale Watch Orientation

Organization Name
Stewards of the Coast & Redwoods
Brief course description
Observe and learn the migratory patterns of whales and other marine mammals who inhabit the Sonoma Coast.

Start date
11/12/16
County location
Sonoma County

Whale Watch Orientation

Organization Name
Stewards of the Coast & Redwoods
Brief course description
Whale Watch Orientation
Saturday, November 12, 2016
9:30 AM - 1:30 PM
Observe and learn the migratory patterns of whales and other marine mammals who inhabit the Sonoma Coast.
FREE

Start date
11/12/2016
County location
Sonoma County

Creekwalk Naturalist Volunteer Training

Organization Name
SPAWN
Brief course description
SPAWN is hosting a creekwalk naturalist training for volunteers interested in leading walks through Samuel P Taylor state Park to look for endangered spawning salmon. Volunteers will learn about local coho salmon ecology and tips and tricks for managing public tours. Each participant will receive a creek walk naturalist handbook with all of the most up to date information on the status of our local fish. Participants are strongly encouraged to sign up to co-lead at least 2 walks through December and January. SPAWN has been leading creek walks since 1999 to engage the local community in the importance of protecting this keystone species. The training will be held at SPAWN's main office (9255 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Olema, CA) about 1.5 miles west of the Devils Gulch trailhead at Samuel P Taylor. We will drive to sites throughout the watershed so please plan to get gas before heading over the hill to west marin. The training will be held from 10am to 2pm. Please bring a lunch and water bottle, along with sturdy shoes and layers.

Website for more information
Start date
11/19/16
County location
Marin County

Orienteering Basics: Map and Compass

Organization Name
Pepperwood Preserve
Brief course description
Don’t get lost in the woods! In this interactive class you will learn how to use maps and compasses to navigate unfamiliar terrain.  These traditional methods develop intuition, skills of spatial perception, and a reliable sense of direction that can be used to complement information provided by modern technology (or in place of it when your GPS batteries run out).

Led by master orienteering teacher Dr. Michael Papaik, you’ll learn to read topographic maps, take bearings to interpret and traverse the landscape, and discuss the basics of nighttime orienteering.

This 2-day class includes moderate hiking of 1-3 miles off-trail. Optional overnight accommodations at the Bechtel House can be included for an additional fee of $50.

Dr. Papaik has had a 25 year career as a remote sensing/GIS field scientist, conducting extensive research in remote field locations in the United States and Canada.  He has taught GIS, ecological field methods, and orienteering at the University of Quebec and the University of Massachusetts.

Start date
11/19/16 - 11/20/16
County location
Sonoma County

Hidden habitats of East Marin

Organization Name
Point Reyes National Seashore Association
Brief course description
Many people have enjoyed the abundance and bird diversity at Limantour Estero, Bolinas Lagoon, and other West Marin sites. However, few have been to the Hamilton Field Wetlands, which has some of the finest shorebirding in the area. This class will focus on bird identification and distribution in various special places that are closer to many of our homes but are seldom visited.

Start date
11/20/16
County location
Marin County

Wildlife and Birds Cruise on San Francisco Bay

Organization Name
Point Reyes National Seashore Association
Brief course description
San Francisco Bay, one of the largest and most important estuaries along the Pacific Flyway, is located right in our backyard but remains relatively unvisited. Fall, with its mild weather and calm waters, is a wonderful season to cruise the bay in search of migrating resident waterfowl and marine mammals.

Start date
11/20/16
County location
San Francisco County

Burning Vision: Writing about Catastrophe & Renewal

Organization Name
Point Reyes National Seashore Association
Brief course description
From the ashes of the 1995 Vision Fire, new life burgeoned. In fact, Point Reyes’ pine forests rely on periodic fire for regeneration; it is a story rife with metaphors for loss and recovery, and the inspiration for this weekend retreat. Guided writing sessions complement solo exploration. For new and experienced writers. Accommodations included at the Clem Miller Environmental Education Center.

Start date
12/02/16 - 12/04/16
County location
Marin County

Oh no, not gulls!

Organization Name
Point Reyes National Seashore Association
Brief course description
Many birders find looking at gulls to be an intimidating process, but it doesn’t have to be. There are some simple strategies to follow that can take some of the frustration out of gull identification. You won’t become an expert overnight, but you may become more courageous about practicing your bird identification skills on gulls.  

Start date
12/03/16
County location
Marin County

Yosemite Birding: The Day of the Woodpecker

Organization Name
Yosemite Conservancy
Brief course description
Did you know there are 11 species of woodpeckers found in Yosemite — more than in any comparable area in the United States? Here is your chance to spend a day with Yosemite Conservancy’s expert naturalist seeking these industrious birds and learning a lot about their diverse habitats, ecology and behaviors. December is a particularly great time for studying woodpeckers in Yosemite, with less foliage on trees and without the distraction of summer breeding birds. Spend a day in good company, as you observe these fascinating birds. Meet your leader and group on Saturday morning in El Portal, then carpool to different areas of the park, ending in Yosemite Valley around 4 pm.

Start date
12/03/16
County location
Mariposa County

Plant Propigation

Organization Name
SPAWN
Brief course description
Join SPAWN for a workshop series on native plant propagation. We will collect and plant seeds for easy-to-propagate native trees such as Buckeyes and Oaks, do cuttings of a variety of native plant species, and learn how to grow Redwood trees.

SPAWN workshops are open to the public for a suggested donation of $10 per person. SPAWN members, certified California naturalists, and partner teachers can attend for free. No one will be turned away! Email Audrey@tirn.net with questions or to register.

Start date
12/03/16 OR 12/10/16
County location
Marin County

Project Learning Tree Educator and Facilitator Training

Organization Name
UCCE Project Learning Tree
Brief course description
Registration is open for our 2016 Project Learning Tree Educator and Facilitator Training in Riverside!

When: 9 am - 4 pm, Saturday, December 10, and Sunday, December (both days required for Facilitator Certification; Saturday ONLY for Educator Certification)

Where: Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District, LandUse Learning Center (map)

Cost: $35 Saturday ONLY or $50 Sat and Sun, includes light breakfast and lunch

All participants receive the PLT pK-8 Curriculum Guide, containing nearly 100 interdisciplinary activities designed to complement existing curricula and support current and emerging standards. Participants in the Sunday Facilitator Training also become PLT Certified Facilitators, learning to develop and deliver PLT professional development experiences to other educators. In this session, we’ll also explore connections between PLT and the 4-H Youth Development Program!

REGISTER by December 5: http://ucanr.edu/riversidettt

For more information, contact Shayna Foreman at sforeman@ucanr.edu

Start date
12/10/16
County location
Riverside County

Down for the Count: Exploring Bird Diversity and Rarities

Organization Name
Point Reyes National Seashore Association
Brief course description
For over forty years the Point Reyes Christmas Bird Count has monitored winter populations of over two hundred species that winter in the National Seashore and adjoining areas. We will enjoy exploring the area's rich bird diversity at this annual event.

Start date
12/18/16
County location
Marin County

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