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Become a Partner

Become a UC California Naturalist Program partner!

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UC ANR's California Naturalist Program provides a flexible, adaptable UC certification course to create or improve existing naturalist training programs. The curriculum delivers a compelling overview of California geology, flora, fauna, freshwater and forest resources, and environmental issues. With partnering organizations, we foster a diverse community of naturalists and promote stewardship of California’s natural resources through education and service. Together, we can help protect and preserve our unique habitats, wild and urban alike. 

The UC California Naturalist Program is the hub of a collective impact network. We have worked with over 56 partner organizations that deliver the course and have certified a community of over 3720 Naturalists. California Naturalists perform service in the areas of education and interpretation, stewardship, citizen science, and environmental program support. To date (9/2019), Naturalists have volunteered over 168,000 hours, worth over $5 million dollars, in 51 of 58 counties.

A California Naturalist course needs both an approved partnering organization and a qualified instructor. There are criteria for partnering organizations and instructors to ensure that CA Naturalist courses meet the standards of the program and UC Davis Extension. Partner organizations or agencies must have a proven-track-record of success delivering science-based environmental education and fill a service gap or provide additional access to the program. Instructors must have the combined science education and experience to successfully teach and coordinate a junior college level introductory science course.

Benefits to partnering organizations include: 

  • Easy adoption of an education and outreach program consistent with existing organizational program structure, mission and goals
  • Expansion and re-structuring of existing educational efforts
  • Curriculum, instructional aides, and training for instructors
  • Promotional materials and participation incentives
  • Financial support from program fees
  • Informational website and on-line volunteer tracking tools
  • Capstone service projects to support organizational goals
  • Instructor accreditation to offer University of California academic units
  • Comprehensive program evaluation tools
  • Assistance promoting your organization’s adult education and training events
  • Well trained, loyal volunteers to support your organization and increase capacity to address deferred and priority projects
  • Upon completing course requirements partner organization’s paid staff may become certified at a reduced rate.

In order to become a partner, an organization must:

  • Fill out the Partner Interest Form.
  • Be in existence a minimum of three years from the date of application.
  • Provide or form connections with partners that provide access to volunteer opportunities in the categories of stewardship, citizen science, interpretation, and program support.
  • Demonstrate the physical, staff, and financial capacity and support to conduct the program.
  • Provide an instructor/coordinator with teaching and public speaking experience, familiarity with natural resource management, ecology, or a related field, and at least a bachelors degree. Instructor/coordinators will be pre-screened by the California Naturalist Program to ensure our partnering organization's success and maintain the ongoing quality and consistency of this state-wide program. In some cases, the California Naturalist Program may be able to recommend an instructor in your area.
  • Attend a California Naturalist Partner/Instructor Workshop. We offer  minimum two per year. 

There is an application process to becoming a partner program, and attending an instructor workshop (see schedule to the right) is one step in the process, but does not guarantee that we will be able to partner with your organization. If your organization meets the criteria outlined above and you are interested in becoming a partner please fill out the Partner Interest Form and our staff will be in touch with you within a couple weeks to discuss your goals.

Click here to download an informational flier.

More questions? Please contact us to set up a call to understand your organization's objectives, capacity, and potential course partners in your area.

Thank you for your interest in the UC California Naturalist Program! 

CalNat & Climate Stewards Instructor Training

Our Fall in-person instructor training for the California Naturalist curriculum will take place October 11-14 2023. This training will be held on-site at the UC Riverside Palm Desert Center in Palm Desert, CA

Space is limited. More information here.