Pepperwood Preserve is offering the UC California Naturalist certification program. While the field component is focused at Pepperwood Preserve, the content applies to the natural history of Sonoma County and surrounds.
Pepperwood is a 3,200 acre nature preserve, and serves as a living laboratory to engage students, volunteers, and scientists in applied conservation. We have many different ecosystems to explore, including grasslands, vernal ponds, oak woodlands, mixed evergreen forests, and serpentine chaparral. As the headwaters to the Russian River, Pepperwood serves as a Watershed Sentinel Site dedicated to tracking ecosystem health over time by systematically monitoring things like weather, soil moisture, stream flow, and the diversity and vitality of local plant and animal populations.
In this 8-week course, participants meet every Saturday to explore Pepperwood and learn about different natural history topics. Each session runs from 9am-3pm and includes time in the classroom as well as time in the field. Participants will learn about Sonoma county’s natural ecosystems with Pepperwood educator Jesse Robinson and other local experts in hydrology, soil science, mammology, ecology, ornithology, and geology. Those completing the 40-hour course along with their capstone project will receive their California Naturalist Certification through the UC certification program.
Students are required to attend all 8 sessions of this course, for a total of 40 hours over the fall session. This class involves hiking up to 4 miles per day on uneven terrain without trails, and students are required to fulfill this component of the course to graduate and receive certification. Upon successful completion of the 40-hour course requirements and capstone project, participants are eligible for the UC California Naturalist Certification.