UC 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 Davis Extension 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.

Spring Dates:  March 18th – May 20th
Mondays: 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Saturday Field Trip Dates: April 20th to Hedgerow Farms
& May 4th to Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary

Price: $450

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Cal Nat Logo ButterflyCourse 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 (CPE Credits) through UC Davis Extension (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 field trips on Saturdays. 

NOTE: This course is for ages 18+ only.

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 traditional stories, games and foods while 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.

EYNC Cal Nat Alumnus: “Brena was an amazing instructor. She is always so positive and shows a genuine curiosity and enthusiasm for every topic we covered in the course. I think she’s great at conveying the big ideas but also getting us to make the personal connections between the material and our own lives/interests.”

“This program was such an inspiring and valuable experience! I look forward to continuing to be a part of the Cal Nat community for many years to come.”

Cost: $450 – 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).

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 stewardship 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 participatory science and record all hours of service in the Volunteer Portal.

UC California Naturalist

Please Read Before Registering

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 meeting times and read cancellation policy carefully before registering!

Lectures: March 18th – May 20th
Monday evenings 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Saturday Field Trips: April 20th to Hedgerow Farms
& May 4th to Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary

Note: Monday evening lectures will be held indoors. Portions of most Monday evenings will also include outdoor time such as activities or hikes.

Cancellation Policy: Registrants may cancel up to two weeks prior to the first day of instruction 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.

Call or email us for more information:
Brena Seck or call (916) 876-4918.

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 UC California Naturalist