Hero Image

American River College

Take any of the following courses in the Environmental Conservation Program at American River College Department of Natural Resources to obtain California Naturalist Certification. Environmental Conservation is an interdisciplinary program that advances the understanding of ecological systems and their interrelationships, including those with human society. Everyone is welcome! No prerequisites.

Upcoming courses with embedded California Naturalist Certification:

 Spring  NATR 302 Wildlife Biology
 NATR 332 Wildflowers of California
 Summer  NATR 324 Birds and Plants of the High Sierra

 NATR 320 Principles of Ecology
 Biol 332 Introduction to Ornithology
 Biol 352 Conservation Biology



NATR 302    Wildlife Biology
3 Units 
Course Transferable to UC/CSU 
This course is an introduction to Wildlife Biology and the basic principles and techniques related to the practice of Wildlife Management. Emphasis is based on ecological principles of populations and communities as they relate to the interdependence of wildlife and human populations. This course includes the discussion of the social, political and biological implications of Wildlife Management. Additionally, this course includes habitat and population sampling, radio telemetry and the development of a wildlife management plan. Field trips are required.

Dates: January 16 - May 19, 2021
Lecture (ONLINE): Mondays 1:00 - 4:05 PM
Lab (ONLINE): Wednesdays 1:00 - 4:05 PM

NATR 332    Wildflowers of California
4 Units 
Course Transferable to UC/CSU 
This course focuses on the wildflowers of the Sacramento Region. The identification, distribution, and interrelationships of herbaceous plants in their natural environment, ecological principles, and representative plant communities are examined. Special emphasis will be given to the study of plant families in our local grasslands, vernal pools, oak woodlands and foothills, and the use of taxonomic keys. 

Dates: January 16 - May 19, 2021



NATR 324 Field Studies: Birds and Plants of the High Sierra 

1.5 Units Course Transferable to UC/CSU
This field study course focuses on identification, distribution, abundance, ecological relationships, and conservation of bird and plant communities of the High Sierra. Primary environments explored include montane chaparral, riparian woodland, coniferous forest, montane bog and fen, rocky outcrop, montane meadow, subalpine woodland, and alpine tundra. Emphasis is placed on the natural history and life history characteristics of common birds and plants, as well as rare and endangered species and their conservation challenges. Field trips are required.

Dates: Course not offered in 2021



NATR 320    Principles of Ecology 
4 Units Course Transferable to UC/CSU
This course covers basic principles of ecology, including the physical and biological factors of different environments in relation to the distribution and abundance of plants and animals. Emphasis is on the management of ecosystems using ecological principles and the understanding of current ecological issues. Field trips are required.

Dates: August 21 - December 16, 2021
Lecture (online): Mondays 1:30 - 4:35 PM
Lab (in-person): Wednesdays 1:30 - 4:35 PM

Biol 332 Intro to Ornithology    
4 Units Course Transferable to UC/CSU, Green Course
This introductory course covers the biology and natural history of birds. Topics include evolutionary origins of birds and of flight, avian anatomy and physiology, and bird behavior, such as migration, song, feeding ecology, and mating systems. Conservation strategies are also investigated. Laboratory work explores bird structure and function, taxonomic classification, and species identification, particularly of those found in California and the western United States. Field trips are required.

Dates: August 21 - December 16, 2021
Lecture (online): Thursdays 9:00 AM - 12:05 PM
Lab (in-person): Tuesdays 9:00 AM - 12:05 PM

Biol 352 Conservation Biology     
4 Units Course Transferable to UC/CSU, Green Course
This course introduces biological and ecological principles involved in understanding and analyzing environmental problems and exploring scientifically sound conservation approaches. Major topics include forms and patterns of biodiversity, values of biodiversity, threats to biodiversity, conservation at the population and species levels, applied conservation biology, and conservation and sustainable development at the local, regional, national, and international levels. This course places emphasis on scientific processes and methodology, while also examining the economic, social, political, and ethical aspects of conservation issues. Course themes are explored through extensive use of interactive case studies, discussion, and activities surrounding relevant current events. Field trips may be required.

Dates: August 21 - December 16, 2021
Lecture (online): Wednesdays 9:00 AM - 12:05 OM


Course fees: ARC class fees are $46 per unit (without financial aid). In addition to unit fees and lab fees (eligible for hardship fee waiver), California Naturalist Certification fee ($55 per student) will be covered for most students by a scholarship fund through the Environmental Conservation program’s current Strong Workforce grant.


New students--apply

Current students--enroll

Enrollment services

Contact: Jennifer Neale, NealeJ@arc.losrios.edu 

Instructor bio: Dr. Jennifer Neale has been working in the environmental field for more than 30 years. Her formal education includes a B.A. in Environmental Studies from U.C. Santa Cruz, M.S. in Wildlife Biology from U.C. Berkeley, Ph.D. in Ecology from U.C. Davis, and Post-doc in Environmental Toxicology and Immunology. She has also studied California floristics with a focus on native vascular plants especially in the context of wildlife habitat.  Her research and teaching background has focused on vertebrate wildlife and terrestrial vascular plants; she has been working full-time as a professor at American River College since 2006.

American River College-Logos-2