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Sonoma Ecology Center

Course Descriptions

Sonoma Ecology Center is offering the new UC Climate Stewards certification course and the California Naturalist certification course in Sonoma County.

UC California Naturalist Course

This 8-week course explores our local ecology, engages you in participatory science, and allows you to share your knowledge with others. The 40-hour course combines a science curriculum with guest lecturers, field trips, and project-based learning to explore the unique ecology and natural history of the Inner Coastal Range of Sonoma and Napa. 

If you enjoy exploring and learning about our local ecology, engaging in citizen science, and sharing your knowledge with others, this program is for you!  

Our regional 40+ hour course combines a science curriculum with guest lecturers, field trips, and project-based learning to explore the unique ecology and natural history of the Inner Coastal Range of Sonoma and Napa. Local guest experts will attend classroom sessions and field trips utilizing the outdoor learning environment of Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. The Spring 2023 course will emphasize the impact of the 2017 Nunns fire and the 2020 Glass Fires on our Sonoma Valley parks. Speakers include State Park and Sonoma Ecology Center scientists and staff, Renowned Bioacoustics expert Bernie Krause and famous retired Marin Open Space lead Naturalist, David Herlocker. 

Dates: March 15 - May 6, 2023

Wednesday evenings from 6-8:30 pm over virtual zoom sessions. Four Saturday field trips are held at various locations around Sonoma Valley including the Van Hoosear Wildflower Preserve. All field trips run from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm with the exception of Dawn Chorus recording (5:00 am-8:00 am) on May 7 with optional overnight included on the evening prior (May 6).

Fees: $499 registration, Need-based scholarships are available. 

Delivery Mode: Hybrid

Contact: Tony Passantino, tony@sonomaecologycenter.org 

Course Website & Registration 

2022 CalNat syllabus


UC Climate Stewards certification course

The 7-week UC Climate Stewards certification course seeks to foster a committed corps of volunteers ready to effectively engage in transformative local solutions to promote community and ecosystem resilience in a changing climate. The UC Climate Stewards course will introduce you to social-emotional learning and trauma-aware practices, climate change communication, climate science, and community resilience planning.    

This UC Climate Stewards Course will integrate locally relevant themes of fire, water and inclusion. Through guest speakers, field activities, and participatory science we will learn about and discuss principles and practices towards increasing community and ecosystem resilience to fire, drought, and floods.    

Dates: TBA 

Contact: Tony Passantino, tony@sonomaecologycenter.org 


Organization Description: Sonoma Ecology Center addresses challenges related to water supply and quality, open space, rural character, biodiversity, energy, climate change, and quality of life. The mission of Sonoma Ecology Center is to work with our community to enhance and sustain ecological health in Sonoma Valley. Since 1990, we’ve worked to increase appreciation and stewardship of Sonoma Valley’s natural heritage and create measurable benefits in areas of land, water, climate change, and biodiversity.

Sonoma Valley is home to an amazing variety of species living in a small space. As many as a quarter of California’s species exist in this compact area, a place that comprises only a tenth of 1% of California’s entire land area! Since the Valley is mostly privately owned over thousands of parcels, it needs all of us to be good stewards to sustain this amazing legacy for the future. Our valley is also a watershed–a basic unit around which life on earth is organized. It’s also economically and socially diverse. In short, it offers a lot of what other places offer in a small, human scale valley. It’s a place that may be just the right size to get important things done together. And as we learn more about how to take care of our special place, we may help others do the same in theirs.