Become a Certified California Naturalist
The UC California Naturalist program collaborates with local partner organizations to deliver the certification course near you. To become a California Naturalist, you need to enroll in a 40+ hour course with one of our below partner organizations in the "Partners" tab. The "Statewide Partners" tab includes those agencies and organizations that we collaborate with to meet the goals of our statewide mission. Scroll below the map to view a course calendar and learn more about the benefits of joining our growing community and becoming a California Naturalist.
Why Become a California Naturalist?
We are intimately connected to nature, and our ecosystems provide a home to 40 million people. Our natural home directly influences our water quality, air quality, food production, and ultimately our health. We are responsible for maintenance, but California’s ecosystems don’t come with a user’s manual.
A program of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the California Naturalist Program is designed for adults including teachers, docents, land stewards, natural resource professionals, and nature enthusiasts wanting to develop a sense of place and participate in service learning and stewardship of natural resources.
California Naturalist courses combine classroom and field experience in science, problem-solving, communication training and community service. Upon completing certification requirements, participants enrolled in non-community college courses are eligible for four academic units through UC Davis Extension for an additional nominal fee.
California Naturalist Certification through the University of California provides the following benefits:
- New skills, opportunities, and incentives for personal, volunteer, and professional development.
- Optional four academic credits through UC Davis Extension for an additional nominal fee (non-community college programs)
- Future discounts and invitations to CalNat biennial statewide conferences and other continuing education opportunities.
- Connections to science institutions across the state.
- Fellowship and collaboration with other certified California Naturalists throughout the state.
- The excitement of being part of the venerable tradition of naturalists throughout history and part of a new innovative community of natural resource stewards.
Sustaining natural resources requires an understanding of science, adaptive management, and cooperation among diverse interest groups. We cannot protect and restore California’s unique ecology without an environmentally literate, engaged public.
We work with over 45 partner organizations that have certified a community of over 1500 Naturalists around the state who have, in turn, volunteered over 100,000 hours in service to nature in the areas of education and interpretation, stewardship, citizen science, and environmental program support.