California Naturalist Certification Program
The UC California Naturalist Certification program, commonly referred to as CalNat, was created to introduce Californians to the wonders of California’s unique ecology and engage the public in the study and stewardship of California’s natural communities. The program, often run by community- or nature-based organizations, uses a science-based curriculum, hands-on learning, problem solving, community service, and citizen science to instill a deep appreciation and sense of stewardship in people that live local to these important ecosystems and local resources. In 2020, the Bolsa Chica Conservancy became the newest partner organization, and the first in Orange County, to host a CalNat program.
Participants in the Conservancy’s CalNat course can expect to engage curriculum about the local history of the land, starting from the Native American nations of the Acjachemen and the Tongva through to post-WWII years of litigation and restoration. In respect to science, the program will cover ecology, ecosystem services, continuing threats to coastal wetlands and other environmental issues, and even a crash course and field trip focused on birding! The course will also include other field trips that cover and supplement the course materials. The Conservancy also plans to bring in guest speakers from each discipline to supplement the material and boost the participants’ experience in each subject. The California Naturalist program also includes 1-2 hours of field journaling a week, as well as a capstone project that requires at least 8 hours of work throughout the duration of the course.
The Bolsa Chica Conservancy will host two California Naturalist courses in 2023:
The first course will begin January 30th, and conclude April 2nd; registration will be open January 9th to 25th.
The second course will begin July 10th, and conclude September 24th; registration will be open June 12th to July 5th.