Registration open for spring naturalist course with Sierra Streams Institute |

Registration open for spring naturalist course with Sierra Streams Institute

Submitted to The Union

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 a cohort of volunteer naturalists each year. Registration for the 2021 California Naturalist course is now open.

As you might expect, the course will operate a little differently this year with the COVID-19 pandemic. Course logistics will be determined by prevailing virus conditions and state restrictions. The majority of the course will run virtually from April 7 through June 9, with presentations from local experts on a natural history topic from 6 to 8:30 p.m. every Wednesday. If COVID-19 restrictions allow, the course will also feature three socially distant Saturday field trips, on April 14, May 1 and May 15. Otherwise, we will be creating self-guided field trip experiences.

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.

Registration is $425.

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.

The California Naturalist team will be Lead Instructor Jessica Kraft, Co-instructor Sol Henson, Facilitator Julian LoGiudici, and AmeiCorps service member Alex Cisneros Carey.

Space in the course is limited and often fills up quickly. To sign up or to learn more about the course go to or contact Sol Henson and Alex Cisneros Carey at or by calling 530-210-0509.

Source: Sierra Streams Institute

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