California Naturalist Program

The California Naturalist program uses a science curriculum, hands-on learning, problem-solving, citizen science, and community service to instill a deep appreciation for the natural communities of the state and to inspire individuals to become stewards of their local resources.

The program promotes environmental literacy and stewardship through discovery and action. Courses combine classroom and field experience in science, problem-solving, communication training and community service. Students are taught by an instructor and team of experts who are affiliated with a local nature-based center or natural resource focused agency. Upon completing certification requirements, participants are eligible for four academic credits through UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources for an additional nominal fee.

The Effie Yeaw Nature Center is pleased to once again be hosting this exciting course, led by lead naturalist Brena Seck. See below for current or up-coming course.

CA Naturalist Program

September 16, 2019

Course dates: September 16- November 18

Please check back in mid July for registration.  Call or email us for more information:   

Brena Seck or call (916) 489-4918. 

Course Details:  This 10-week course uses The California Naturalist Handbook, visiting expert speakers, field trips, videos and project-based learning, in addition to presentations from the course instructor, to expose you to the natural wonders of California. Upon successful completion of the course, you will be certified as a California Naturalist by the University of California and be eligible for four general education credits through UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (for an additional fee). Classes will meet weekly on Mondays from 5:30-8:30pm at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center, located in Ancil Hoffman Park, where participants will explore the adjoining Nature Study Area. Additionally, there will be two required all-day Saturday field trips, on October 19 and November 9.  NOTE: This course is for adults - ages 18+.

Course Instructor: Brena Seck is a Lead Naturalist at Effie Yeaw Nature Center, where she has been on staff since 1999. After graduating from University of California at Davis with a degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology, she worked as a field biologist, focusing on birds and small mammals, but yearned for a place where she could continue her work on wildlife and interpret nature for people. She discovered the Effie Yeaw Nature Center and it was the right fit! Brena presents a variety of educational nature programs for schools, but her specialty is providing Maidu cultural programs which include sharing the stories, traditional games and foods, and connecting people to the resources around them. She also enjoys interpreting the plants, animals and ecology of the American River Parkway to the thousands of visitors who come to Effie Yeaw Nature Center annually.

Cost: $425 - Tuition covers weekly classes including on-site field excursions and additional weekend field trips (although transportation is not included). Students must purchase the course text: The California Naturalist Handbook (2013, UC Press).  

Cancellation Policy: Registrants may cancel up to two weeks prior to the first day of instruction (September 2) for a full refund, minus a $50 administration fee. Cancellations occurring less than two weeks prior to course start date are not eligible for a refund.

Participant Requirements: Per University of California course guidelines, successful completion of the course and certification as a California Naturalist requires: 

  (1) attendance at all class sessions and field trips (only one absence is permitted, with make-up work)  

   (2) completion of an 8 hour volunteer capstone project
  (3) logging at least one observation in iNaturalist
  (4) participation in a citizen science project adopted by the class
  (5) reading the entire textbook The California Naturalist Handbook
  (6) creating a field notebook with entries from all field days (and preferably more)
  (7) completion of a post-course evaluation.
Additionally, after the class, each participant is expected to consider and hopefully commit to volunteering at least forty hours a year in environmental stewardship, education, program support, or citizen science and record all hours of service in the Volunteer Portal.

Additional Information: If you plan to earn a California Naturalist certification through this course, you are allowed to miss ONLY ONE class. Please check course dates and meeting times carefully before registering!

Contact: For more information, or to receive email notifications for the next class session, email Brena Seck.


This course is almost full. Please call to check availiability and register.
(916) 489-4918 

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