Apply for the program online

For more information about the program, take a look at the UC California Naturalist Program website.
And view a video about the program on that website.


California Naturalist Program
April 3 - June 7, 2014

Note: the 2014 California Naturalist Program is over, applications are no longer being accepted.

The California Naturalist class will introduce you to the wonders of California’s unique ecology and engage you in the stewardship of our natural communities. This intensive certification program will utilize a combination of science curriculum, guest lecturers, field trips and project-based learning to immerse you in the natural world of the central coast. The program starts on Thursday evening, April 3. The last meeting is Saturday, June 7. Lectures will be from 7:00- 9:30 pm every Thursday with most field trips on Saturday or Sunday. [View the program schedule.]

Program Goals:

  • Foster a committed corps of volunteer naturalists and citizen scientists trained and ready to take an active role in natural resource conservation, education, and restoration
  • Provide training, in collaboration with local sponsoring institutions, for adult environmental stewards through an adaptable outdoor and in class curriculum which can be easily applied in a variety of settings
  • Engage adults in interactive learning which provides them with scientific literacy and critical thinking skills

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand what it means to be a naturalist
  • Integrate knowledge about the interconnectedness of abiotic, biotic and cultural factors and their influence on the natural history of the central coast
  • Demonstrate skills in making and recording natural history observations in a field notebook
  • Apply knowledge of central coast ecosystems to local and global environmental issues.
  • Meet all of the course requirements.

Questions? Contact the hosts for the Arboretum's 2014 California Naturalist Program:

Consider becoming a sponsor! Your sponsorship will be greatly appreciated. Sponsors are acknowledged in class literature, on the Arboretum's website, in class presentations, and in class communications.

Want to print a flyer for the program?
You can find one here.

Schedule of Lectures and Field Trips
(All lectures will be at the Arboretum from 7:00 – 9:30 pm)
Date Topic Speaker
April 3 Introduction to California ecology: fire, climate, adaptation and evolution Tom Parker, Professor of Biology, SF State University
April 5 Introduction to iNaturalist Field trip: Upper Campus Scott Loarie, co-Director of
April 10 Global climate change: why, where, when, and what can we do Linda Anderson, emeritus Paleoceanography researcher, Institute of Marine Sciences, UCSC
April 13 Native American Land Use and Management Practices Field trip: Quiroste Rob Cuthrell, post-doctoral researcher, Dept. of Anthropology, UC Berkeley
April 17 Behavioral Ecology of California Birds Bruce Lyon, Todd Newberry.
April 21, April 22, OR April 23 Birding Observations and Interpretations Field trip: Arboretum Sign up for one time only; 10 attendees max/session Todd Newberry, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCSC
April 19 Bird Behavior Field trip: Long Marine Lab Bruce Lyon, Todd Newberry
April 24 Building Naturalist Skills: Nature Journaling and Observation John Muir Laws, Naturalist/Educator/author/ artist
April 25 Building Naturalist Skills: Nature Journaling and Observation.
Optional Workshop: $50
John Muir Laws, Naturalist/Educator/author/ artist
April 26 The many reasons forest management is important Field trip: Big Creek/Cemex/Swanton Nadia Hamey, Registered Professional Forester, Hamey Consulting
May 1 Diversity of Amphibians and Reptiles across California and Conservation Considerations from Development and Global Warming Barry Sinervo, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCSC
May 2-4 Santa Lucia Mountains field trip Field trip: Big Creek Reserve Brett Hall and others
May 8 Groundwater recharge: a critical surface-subsurface connection for California's central coast Andy Fisher, Professor of Earth and Planetary Science, UCSC
May 10 Herpetology Field trip: Arboretum Gage Dayton Director of Natural Reserve
May 15 The Natural History and Identification of California Trees Matt Ritter, Professor of Biology, Director of Cal Poly Plant Conservatory
May 16 The Natural History of Insects Peter Oboyski, Senior Scientist, Collection Manager, Essig Museum of Entomology
May 17 Insect Ecology Field trip: Arboretum Peter Oboyski
May 22 A brief geologic history of California Elise Knittle
May 24 Coastal Geology Field trip: Santa Cruz to Año Nuevo Jerry Weber, Consulting Geologist, Emeritus Senior Lecturer, Summer Field
Hilde Schwartz, Senior Lecturer, Earth & Planetary Sciences.
May 29 California: an ecoregional tour Todd Keeler-Wolf, Environmental Scientist and Ecologist, California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
May 30 LiMPETS training session Ann Wasser, Coordinator of LiMPETS project for Monterey Bay Sanctuary, Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
May 31 LiMPETS Project Field Trip: Tide Pools Ann Wasser
June 5 Santa Cruz Puma Project Chris Wilmers, Associate Professor, Environmental Studies Dept., UCSC
June 7 Capstone Project Presentations

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Course Requirements

Required Coursework


Books (Required)

Book (Suggested)

  • The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America, by Sibley, D.A.

Supplies (Required)

  • Field Notebook (Sokkia mining transit, Moleskine watercolor or the equivalent)
  • Water proof ink pen or pencil, small plastic ruler.
  • Hand lens (at least 10x jewelers loop, magnifying glass) 

Supplies (Suggested)

  • Binoculars
  • Digital camera or smart phone