“California is an incredible place to be a naturalist.”
So begins “The California Naturalist Handbook,” the standard textbook for a rigorous UC-approved course designed to turn local nature lovers into trained California Naturalists. These knowledge keepers act as park docents and as key leaders in the “citizen science” movement helping to shape California’s future.
Right now, Sonoma Ecology Center is teaming up with the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources to offer this accredited eight-week course locally – and we’re looking throughout Sonoma and Napa counties for people interested in joining the elite and venerable league of California Naturalists.
The course results in real college credits – but even better, it turns nature lovers into certified graduates of the UC California Naturalist Program, making them valuable authorities on California’s plants and animals, geology and soils, water, climate, biodiversity and much more.
California Naturalist courses are available at certain locations throughout the state, but this is the first time such a course will be offered at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. The course, held Monday evenings from 6 to 8:30 p.m., will run from Sept. 19 to Nov. 19 at Sugarloaf Park’s Robert Ferguson Observatory. Speakers will include professors from local colleges and universities and experts from Cal Academy and the Sonoma Ecology Center.
The course also will include four five-hour fieldtrips (Oct. 8th, 22 and Nov. 12, 19) lead by field experts in and around Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. As their final project for the program, each naturalist-in-training will complete an eight-hour volunteer service learning project for a community organization. Participants of this course will graduate with a specialized knowledge of the oak woodlands indigenous to the Mayacamas Mountains.
“We are thrilled to be offering the California Naturalist certification training this fall as an expansion of our education programming at Sugarloaf,” said Sonoma Ecology Center educator Tony Passantino. “Bringing an accredited college course to this state park at the heart of Sonoma and Napa valleys is a rare opportunity.”
To sign up for the first-ever Fall 2016 California Naturalist Program at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, go to www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2586749. For more information, call or write Tony Passantino at 707-996-0712 ext. 124 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The course costs $370 (or $399 after Aug. 19) and is limited to 25 participants. Limited scholarships are available on a case-by-case basis.
Those able to do so are encouraged to print out and post our flier for the event! A pdf copy of the flier is available by clicking the link below.