The UC California Naturalist course consists of a minimum of 40 educational hours (synchronous classroom hours, asynchronous work and field time), which includes a minimum of 3 field experience days. In addition to the 40 hours, participants are expected to spend a minimum of 8 service hours on their capstone project.
There are eight virtual sessions that are held on consecutive Thursdays beginning February 3rd and ending March 24th. Attendance at all sessions is required for certification; the class time will be from 5:30pm-7:00pm. These sessions are supplemental to the learning modules and text readings. During this time you will have the opportunity to hear from a variety of speakers, including local experts from an array of agencies, and interact with fellow naturalists through discussions, research, and activities.
There are 7 field experience opportunities provided (see link to the list below), however, you are only required to attend 3. Everyone is REQUIRED to attend the San Luis Creek-O'Neill Forebay field day on April 2nd as that will be both Graduation day and Capstone Presentation day. Participants may select the other two required field experiences based on their interest.
Due to the nature of some of the experiences, there will be a limited number of spots available. However, once everyone has signed up for their 'required' number of field experiences, the remaining slots for all experiences will open up for those who would like to attend additional field days. Please note that these additional hours will not replace the required virtual class sessions.
Required reading for certification includes: the entire book “The California Naturalist Handbook,” as well as articles and information provided in the weekly online modules. These online modules will include a variety of learning experiences such as articles, video clips, discussion boards, assessments, and reflections. Participants should expect to spend a minimum of 10 hours working through the course modules. Completion of each module is a certification requirement.
Participants are required to complete a Capstone Project in one of four areas: Stewardship, Education/Interpretation, Participatory Science or Program Support. The Capstone Project provides an opportunity for participants to integrate their own personal interests with the in-class material toward the development of an applied work project that is done in conjunction with a natural resource agency or organization. Participants are expected to spend a minimum of 8 service hours (in addition to the 40 hours in the course) and deliver a capstone presentation on graduation day (4/2/2022). Examples of Capstone Projects and current opportunities will be provided the first week of the course.
All participants are required to keep a field notebook-journal during the course. Entries will include observations from all field days attended as well as additional observations as assigned. Participants will be invited to share notebook-journal entries with peers and instructors; examples of notebooks-journals and entries will be provided the first week of the course.
Participants will be responsible for registering for an iNaturalist account (http://www.inaturalist.org/) and adding at least 3 observations to our group iNaturalist Project during the course. The course project and details for participation will be provided the first week of the course.
During the course each of us will contribute to the participatory science project adopted by our cohort. We will select the group project early in the course.
The core curriculum for this course is distanced (virtual/online).
The COVID safety information that follows references course “in-person” field experiences which are hosted by a partner organization. Any “in-person” interaction outside of the field experience is deemed beyond the range and scope of course activities.
Course participants are individually responsible for thoughtfully and accurately assessing their state of health (in general and specific to COVID) when determining the appropriateness of every aspect of their presence at a field experience.
Course participants accept complete personal responsibility for preparing for, and adherence to, current COVID (California and hosting partner) protocols.
California Department of Public Health guidelines as of January 5,2022 state:
To ensure that we collectively protect the health and well-being of all Californians… the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is requiring masks to be worn in all indoor public settings, irrespective of vaccine status, until February 15, 2022.
Center for Disease Control (CDC), 2019 to present (1.5.2022) state:
“..some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus. Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from other people, especially if you are at a higher risk of getting very sick.”
Every reasonable effort will be made to post the hosting field experience organization COVID protocols (if differing from above) no later than the Monday prior to any scheduled event. Please note field experience planning and expectations are necessarily going to need to be both agile and flexible.
Full responsibility for knowledge, attention, and adherence to best safety practices in the interests of themselves and others, remains with each individual.