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Pepperwood Foundation

Course Descriptions

Pepperwood Preserve is offering both California Naturalist certification and Climate Stewards certification. While the field component is focused on Pepperwood, the content applies to the natural history of Sonoma County and surrounds.

UC Climate Stewards Certification

Pepperwood is excited to offer the UC Climate Stewards certification. Participants in this course will learn how climate is changing both our natural and social systems, and what they can do to improve ecosystem and community resilience. We will discuss the latest climate science, practice effectively communicating climate science, and participate in field-based activities to deepen our understanding of how fire and water are impacting our community within the context of climate change.

Through a hybrid of class discussions, self-paced online learning, and independent field-based activities, participants will become engaged and empowered to help increase community and ecosystem resilience now and for future generations.

Dates: TBA

Contact: Summer Swallow, sswallow@pepperwoodpreserve.org 

Winter 2023 Course Website


UC California Naturalist Certification

This California Naturalist course will introduce you to the wonders of Sonoma County ecology and natural history through guided observation and stewardship. The course combines a science-based curriculum with guest lecturers, field excursions, and project-based learning to immerse you in the natural world of the Mayacamas Mountains where Pepperwood resides. This 10-session course meets in person on Saturdays to explore Pepperwood and learn from local experts in geology, soils, and the plants and animals that call this area home. Each session includes indoor classroom time and outdoor field exploration.

Those completing the 40-hour course along with a stewardship project will receive their California Naturalist Certification through the UC certification program. Participation in the California Naturalist course at Pepperwood also serves as one pathway to becoming a Pepperwood Steward. Our Stewards are a special team of dedicated volunteers who support Pepperwood’s work through regular involvement in our classes & events, stewardship workdays, and community/citizen science. Through this course, you will join a vibrant community of committed volunteer naturalists and community scientists trained and ready to take an active role in natural resource conservation, education and restoration. 

Dates: January 13 – March 30, 2024

Cost: $450

Delivery mode: In-person

Contact: Summer Swallow, sswallow@pepperwoodpreserve.org

Course Website & Registration


Organization Description: Pepperwood Preserve is a 3,200 acre nature preserve, and serves as a living laboratory to engage students, volunteers, and scientists in applied conservation. With many different ecosystems to explore, including grasslands, vernal ponds, oak woodlands, mixed evergreen forests, and serpentine chaparral, the preserve 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.