Turtle Island Restoration Network  is pleased to offer the California Naturalist certification course to the San Francisco Bay Area.

2020 Schedule

We will be holding our course over six weeks beginning on Tuesday, February 11 and ending Tuesday, March 17. Six classes will be held on Tuesdays from 6:00pm-8:30pm and we will have five Saturday field trips from 9:00am-3:00pm.

Download the TIRN 2020 California Naturalist Course Syllabus.

Class Location

Classes will be held at our headquarters on Golden Gate National Recreation Area in Lagunitas.


Registration is $425 per person. Students must also purchase a copy of The California Naturalist Handbook. Four UC academic credits available upon completion for an additional fee. Five scholarships will be awarded to members serving disadvantaged communities. (Contact Course Coordinator Harry McGrath and hmcgrath@seaturtles.org, 415-663-8590 ext. 5. for more information.)

A payment plan option is also available, requiring an initial payment of $225 before course commencement and a second payment of $200 before March 1st.


Registration is now open. Click here to register for the SPAWN 2020 Naturalist Course.

To apply for a scholarship, please complete this form instead.

Class Details

Over six weeks, 10 different guest lecturers will share knowledge from their area of expertise with the class. Through five field trips, participants will explore the redwood forests, oak woodlands, and marine tidal zones of Marin County, California. We will cover topics including the natural and cultural history of California, the living and non-living elements of Marin’s ecosystems, as well as the role of citizen science and traditional ecological knowledge in environmental stewardship.

The course combines lectures, field trips, nature journalling, citizen science, and volunteering to increase environmental literacy and facilitate participants in taking an active role in the local area’s natural resource conservation, education and preservation. By providing hands-on experiences with environmental conservation work, this course is designed to inspire participants to become active citizen scientists, enhance their personal connection with the natural world, and hone their observational skills. The course culminates with each participant completing a capstone project.

Classes will be held on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings at the Turtle Island Restoration Network Headquarters in Olema. Saturday afternoons will be reserved for field trips where we will visit some of the most environmentally interesting sites in Marin County.

Students will participate in at least 40 hours of classwork and five field studies, and will complete a capstone project. The course is open to members of the public age 18 years and up and is limited to 15 students. Upon completing certification requirements, participants are eligible for four academic credits through UC Davis Extension for an additional nominal fee.

By the end of this course, participants will obtain:

  • A new appreciation for and knowledge of California’s unique ecology and natural history
  • New skills and opportunities for personal, volunteer, and professional development
  • Future discounts and invitations to unique training opportunities
  • Optional 4 academic credits through UC Davis Extension (for an additional fee)
  • Connections to science institutions across the state
  • Special knowledge of and access to local resources, ecology and natural areas for creative and hobby activities such as bird watching, sketching, photography, etc.
  • Fellowship from other certified California Naturalists throughout the state
  • The excitement of being part of the venerable tradition of naturalists throughout history and an innovative new program for natural resource stewardship
  • Access to continuing education units and the development of professional skills that are certified by a respected academic institution


For more information, contact Course Coordinator Harry McGrath at hmcgrath@seaturtles.org, 415-663-8590 ext. 5.