The California Naturalist program teaches aspiring naturalists young and old the skills they need to contribute to helping preserve and protect habitats across the Golden State. Student projects have restored creek habitat, created new educational materials, and provided valuable scientific data in the San Geronimo Valley, helping endangered coho. Entering its third year, the more than forty California Naturalists certified in our program have contributed over 900 volunteer service hours! During the course, experts from partners at Save the Redwoods League, Point Blue Conservation Science, and the National Park Service join our own staff leading interactive, often outdoor, instruction.

Angela Casey, of Fairfax, took the course and had this to say, “I just completed the spring California Naturalist course with SPAWN and it was amazing. As a native to the Bay Area, I felt incredibly ignorant of the natural world surrounding me. This course provided me with so much information and increased my knowledge of local geology, plants, wildlife, climate and how it is all connected. Chris Pincetich is a passionate instructor and the variety of local guest speakers complemented the coursework. I love the textbook and still carry it around, along with my field notebook!”

Turtle Island is proud to be the Marin County partner in the California Naturalist program, a state-wide initiative led by the University of California to inspire “Discovery, Action, Stewardship.” Over thirteen partner institutions teach the course up and down the state. The first state-wide gathering for a California Naturalist Conference is taking place October 18, 2014, in Pacific Grove, California. Together, we are training and activating the next generation of environmental conservation leaders!

Interested in becoming a California Naturalist? Learn more and register for the Summer 2016 course here!