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Into the wild: Sierra Streams Institute offers California Naturalist course

Curious about your local environment? The California Naturalist course is for you. Each spring, Sierra Streams Institute partners with the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources to teach California Naturalist, a comprehensive course on the natural history of our local landscape. California Naturalist fosters stewardship of the natural world by training citizen scientists and volunteer naturalists each year. Sierra Streams is excited to announce that early bird registration for the 2020 California Naturalist course is now open.

The course includes 10 presentation nights on Wednesdays from March 4 through May 13, each of which will feature a local expert on a natural history topic. There are also three Saturday field trips, on March 14, April 4 and May 2. There will be no class held on April 8 for spring break. Classes will be held in the Sierra Streams meeting hall on the Woolman Outdoor School Campus, a 15 minute drive from Nevada City and Grass Valley. The 230 acres of mixed conifer forest, oak woodlands and meadows on the Woolman Campus offer excellent opportunities for short field trips during each Wednesday evening class to highlight the subject matter for the evening.

Lectures and field trips led by Sierra Streams Institute staff and local guest speakers will give participants the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to engage with environmental science. Classes will focus on local geology, hydrology, forest ecology, and wildlife ecology as well as make connections to global environmental issues. During field trips, students will learn field methods for phenology studies, birding, wildlife surveys and forest management. At the end of the course, participants will complete a capstone project on a topic of their interest, guided by Sierra Streams scientists or other science experts at local organizations. Through these connections, California Naturalist provides excellent opportunities to volunteer for the many environmental nonprofit organizations in the area.

This is an especially excellent professional development opportunity for teachers. The course offers background knowledge of our local natural history of the Sierra Nevada Foothills and presents an assortment of ideas for project based learning opportunities with your students. Often there are PE funds available through your school districts so please check with your local administrators.

Early bird tuition is $425. After February first, tuition for the course is $475.

Are you interested in supporting naturalist education and citizen science in your community? Consider donating to the Sierra Streams California Naturalist scholarship fund to make this course accessible to more members of our community. Currently, we have a limited number of partial scholarships based on need.

Space in the course is limited and often fills up quickly, so register today.

To sign up or to learn more about the course go to: http://www.cnssi.wordpress.com or contact Sol Henson at cnssi@sierrastreams.org – 530 477-7132 ext. 207.


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