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Frequently Asked Questions

The California Naturalist Program is growing and we want to keep you informed. This FAQ page is designed to answer basic questions that UCANR County Directors, academics, staff, or potential partner organizations may have.
Where can I download California Naturalist materials for outreach or presentations?
Contact the California Naturalist Program Team
What is the UC California Naturalist Program?
The mission of the UC California Naturalist Program (CalNat) is to foster a diverse community of naturalists and promote stewardship of California's natural resources through education and service. Read more here.
How did the California Naturalist Program get started?
The idea of starting a statewide naturalist program was presented at a UCANR natural resource continuing education conference. UC extension academics shared feedback that these programs have value, there is likely interest in California, but not enough ANR natural resource advisors or county based capacity to deliver the program out of county offices. Based on this feedback and guidance from UCANR administrators, a train-the-trainer model was developed and piloted at Santa Rosa Junior College in collaboration with Pepperwood Preserve in 2010/11.

Many people helped get CalNat off the ground in the early days including  UCANR employees, handbook authors, and Santa Rosa JC instructors: Adina Merenlender, Julie Fetherston, Deborah Stanger Edelman, Brook Gamble, Sabrina Drill, Bill Frost, Greg de Nevers, Steve Barnhart, Shawn Brumbaugh, and Rebecca Perlroth. In 2012 early adopter partnering organizations led the eventual expansion of CalNat: Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, Pepperwood Preserve, UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, UC Sagehen Creek Field Station, and UC Berkeley Jepson Herbarium.

The California Naturalist became a UCANR statewide program in 2014, at which point the California Naturalist Unit was created within UCANR and the Program Advisory Committee was appointed.

How do I become a California Naturalist?
To become a certified California Naturalist, participants need to enroll in a 40+ hour course with one of our partner organizations.
Who can become a California Naturalist?
The California Naturalist course is open to adults and has no pre-requisites other than an interest in learning about the natural world.
Where and when are California Naturalist courses offered?
The California Naturalist program collaborates with local partner organizations to deliver the certification course near you. Click here to see a map and calendar of upcoming courses. 
Why support the California Naturalist Statewide Program?
The California Naturalist program supports a growing community of naturalists who can work or volunteer in a wide range of activities that support the stewardship of our natural resources including conservation and restoration, citizen science, environmental education and civic engagement. Naturalists may in turn volunteer with other statewide programs and projects such as 4-H, Project Learning Tree, and Master Gardener programs.
How can I stay informed about California Naturalist news?
To stay abreast of all the latest developments within the California Naturalist program sign up for our e-newsletter here. View archives here.
How do I request data on the California Naturalist Program in my area?
To request data on the number of courses, instructors, and naturalists trained in your area, as well as other program performance measures such as volunteer engagement, please contact Greg Ira.
How do I start a new California Naturalist Program in my area?
If there is no California Naturalist Program in your area, click here for information on the requirements for potential partnering organizations.  
Where can I download California Naturalist materials for outreach or presentations? Download this zip file for logos, sample text, a flier for potential participants, and an introductory PowerPoint presentation. Please contact us for more specific needs.
Contact the California Naturalist Program Team
Have a question for someone from the California Naturalist team? Click here to meet the team and learn their roles in the program.
Gregory “Greg” Ira
(530) 750-1265
2801 Second Street
Davis, CA 95618
Karyn Utsumi
Community Education Specialist (Sierra & Central CA)
ktutsumi@ucanr.edu  (530) 750-1396
2801 Second Street
Davis, CA 95618
Eliot Freutel Community Education Specialist (Southern CA) etfreutel@ucanr.edu (626) 586-1985
UC Cooperative Extension, Los Angeles County
700 W Main Street
Alhambra, CA 91801
Pamela Byrnes
Community Education Specialist (Bay Area)
UC Cooperative Extension, Santa Clara County
80 Highland Ave
San Martin, CA 95046
Sarah-Mae Nelson
Program Coordinator, Climate Stewards Initiative
smanelson@ucanr.edu (408) 482-4633

Monterey Bay