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UC Merced Vernal Pools & Grasslands Reserve

Course Description

The UC Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve in partnership with the Merced County UC Cooperative Extension Office and Upper Merced River Watershed Council offers a California Naturalist certificate training on the campus of UC Merced. Students in the California Naturalist Program will become part of a committed corps of volunteer naturalists and citizen scientists, equipped with the skills needed to take an active role in local natural resource conservation, restoration and environmental education. This 10-week training combines science instruction with guest speakers, field trips, and project-based learning to explore the unique ecology and natural history of the San Joaquin Valley and central Sierra Nevada foothills region. This course will cover basic ecology, watershed concepts, geology, wildlife, plant communities, and global environmental issues, as well as tools for collaborative conservation and communication. There will also be opportunities for bird watching, wildflower identification, sketching, and journaling!

Classes are held at UC Merced, and four Saturday field trips will be held in representative areas of the San Joaquin Valley and the Sierra Nevada foothills. Course instructors are UC Merced faculty and other regional experts. Upon completion of the course, students will receive the UC California Naturalist’s certificate.

Due to concerns over COVID-19, this California Naturalist certification course has been postponed until further notice. We'll update all California Naturalist courses when new dates are determined. Postponed courses may already be partially-mostly full due to prior enrollment. Please contact the course coordinator, Joy Baccei, at jbaccei@ucmerced.edu to be added to an interest list.

Course Website & Registration